Juan Pablo Angel

Juan Pablo Angel in a New York Red Bulls redux?

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A Juan Pablo Angel sighting caused an understandably stir today as the Colombian striker spent some time kicking around with his old club – raising questions along the way.

Angel, 37, is currently under contract with Atlético Nacional in Colombia’s top division. But he is a highly regarded figure around the New York Red Bulls organization and a former teammate of current head coach Mike Petke, who was happy to have the veteran striker as a guest at the club’s training facility at Montclair State University.

He’s staying around for Saturday’s match in nearby Harrison against struggling Vancouver.

Angel scored 58 goals over four seasons in New York. And he did get to perform for one season inside the wonderful Red Bull Arena. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to see the guy back, if only in a limited role, off the PATH train’s Harrison stop?

I don’t know. Right now I have a contract with Nacional. I’m enjoying my time greatly there. Who knows … They know my feelings about this place. I’ve only said that I have good memories and good words about how I was treated here. Hopefully tomorrow is a good game and I’m looking forward to being a spectator of a Red Bulls game.”

The Red Bulls are well-stocked up front. Thierry Henry remains among the league’s top strikers, still able to change a game at any moment. Fabian Espindola hasn’t matched his March production, but he remains a dangerous presence. Tim Cahill has finally began scoring out of the midfield, but he can clearly play along the front line, too.

But if there is any salary room to bring in Angel in late July, to provide cover for Henry – who does tend to pick up minor injuries – and to put a slightly bigger brain around the Red Bulls overall attack …

It would make New York look that much better down the stretch.

Questions to answer in MLS preseason camp: Chivas USA


(Over the next week we’ll look at two or three Major League Soccer clubs per day, considering what they need to accomplish and which questions most deserve answers during preseason training camp. Opening day in MLS is March 2.)

The trick right now around Chivas USA is narrowing down the list of questions to ask about the perennially wandering franchise.

Complicating the fact that new manager Jose Luis Sanchez Solá  (pictured) has been on site less than two weeks, the club’s personnel philosophy remains a shifting work in progress, now returning to the original developmental and cultural concept.

While Chivas USA may not be the sexiest side to examine (because of the lacking name recognition on the roster and due to the club’s historic lack of post-season or tourney success) it is probably among the most interesting of preseason studies. Really, this thing could go anywhere.

The players reported this morning into the Home Depot Center. Well, some of them, anyway. Read on …

  • Do we even know who will be with the team in six week?

So very many questions remain about the main men on Chivas USA’s roster – even as the team gets into camp in Southern California today. Will Oswaldo Minda return? Is Juan Agudelo moving to Celtic before the January transfer window closes? Is Shalrie Joseph, 34, still part of the plan?

Are they really going to jettison Dan Kennedy? (Was there an MLS player who elicited more sympathy in 2012 than beleaguered, besieged Chivas USA ‘keeper Dan Kennedy? An MLS All-Star who still allowed 54 goals? MLS may never see such a thing.)

So in one sense it’s surprising that Chivas may be looking to move the well-liked, highly respected 6th-year pro. But if the club is going to be all about bringing in Mexican players, so be it. Why wait? They should lean right into now, right?

  • Where does Carlos Alvarez fit it?

The No. 2 pick in last week’s draft looks like a real talent. Then again, playmakers don’t really begin making the game-changing plays in MLS at such a young age. Yes, UConn creator Carlos Alvarez was the hand-picked selection of Chivas USA’s new manager. But he seems more likely to start in a wide position, learning to be a professional from a slightly less demanding position. Putting too much on the young man straight away seems like a bad way to start. It’s asking for trouble.

  • Who are the veteran leaders?

The list of veteran players apparently or definitely not returning this year includes Juan Pablo Angel, Peter Vagenas, Ryan Smith, Alejandro Moreno and Danny Califf. Perhaps Kennedy, too.

In a sense, watching the club attempt to develop Mexican or Mexican-American talent is exciting. On the other hand, arranging the best chance of success for emerging talent means marrying the youngsters with a few been-there-done-that types.

Dumping all that salary has its advantages, for sure; the linked piece from Goat Parade helps explain how this is specifically applicable to Chivas USA. Then again, few teams will prosper without a reasonable balance of youth and experience.

MORE in ProSoccerTalk’s preseason camp series: