After a delay of a few days, official word has finally come down from Chivas USA that the club has obtained Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel from the Los Angeles Galaxy. In return, Chivas have traded a third-round supplemental draft pick in 2012 to the Galaxy, meaning essentially they got him for next to nothing. Although Angel is a designated player, his form with the Galaxy (3 goals in 22 matches) diminished his value considerably, and there is speculation he could retire at the end of the season. Also, reports are that he will not be a designated player for Chivas, although I'm not sure how that change midseason works. If that is true, he becomes essentially a rental player for the final 10 games of the regular season.
Is this a good personnel move for the Goats? A good public relations move? Let's break it down:What's good about JPA's arrival for Chivas:
Motivation for Angel: He was unceremoniously shown the door at the end of last season at New York Red Bulls, then laid an egg with the Galaxy. At neither club could he be accused of taking it easy and not putting in the effort on the field. But when Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan are the focal points of their respective teams, it must be said that JPA was marginalized. One could argue if it was justified or not, but hopefully Angel will have the motivation to make an immediate impact for Chivas. It is a team that scores goals somewhat in spite of the personnel, and he may get a chance to wash the bad taste of the past year out of his mouth, and perhaps end his playing career on a high note.
A player with an MLS track record: As the club's statement indicates, Angel is the top-scoring player in the league over the last five seasons. That means he doesn't need an adjustment period and can potentially contribute immediately. Considering the short span left in the season, this could pay dividends over obtaining a player from another league. Furthermore, Angel could mentor some of the younger players on the squad, much like Heath Pearce has been doing for the defense this season. If his advice and tricks of the trade could rub off on players like Justin Braun, it could have an impact long after he is done playing.
Angel can be the face of the team for the league: This would be more significant if he finishes the season well and comes back next season, but if that occurs, he will unquestionably be the face of the franchise. While he is not a household name in the Los Angeles area, he has name recognition among soccer fans and because he's bilingual in Spanish and English, can be used for multiple fanbases in the region. The possibilities for taglines are endless: "Redemption" would be a good one, and have many meanings for Angel and Chivas' fans.
The team needs a consistent goal scorer: This was the number one priority entering the transfer window, and while I am still excited by the arrivals of Laurent Courtois and David Junior Lopes, neither seems likely to become the scorer the team needs. While Angel's record this season is exceptionally poor, there is still a chance he could get going and help fire the team into the playoffs. Since Chivas may only have him for the next couple of months, it is a move that could pay off without costing the team very much.
What's bad about this move for Chivas:
He is a "Galaxy reject:" Chivas fans are a bright bunch. They know that they follow the less-popular, less-hyped team in LA, and they take a lot of ribbing for following Chivas (some of it good-natured, some not so much). They are not irrational - if a player comes from the Galaxy and contributes for Chivas, he will be welcomed. But the circumstances surrounding this move scream Galaxy reject. It seems as though Chivas are taking Angel on in order to allow Robbie Keane to take the Galaxy's third DP slot (MLS teams can have a maximum of 3 designated players). That the Galaxy was so desperate to ship a designated player and took practically nothing in return for him (and are reportedly paying part of his salary after going to Chivas) does not exactly inspire Chivas fans. It was obvious to Chivas fans early on that JPA wasn't getting it done and now he's on our team? Seems really puzzling on a lot of levels, and rather hard to swallow.
Chivas get a designated player that isn't a DP anymore: It wouldn't be as crushing to see the team's first ever designated player be traded, not signed, to the team if it didn't come in the aftermath of Freddy Adu returning to MLS. Since the speculation is that Chivas refused to pay the relatively high salary of Adu and thus passed on him, it seemed the team may never make a high profile signing. It may be true that JPA doesn't seem to deserve the DP title, but now Chivas DP-less streak continues. Plus, it's pretty anticlimactic when Chivas' highest profile player was signed by the Galaxy, of all teams, and then traded to Chivas.
Does JPA have anything left in the tank? This is the big question. If Angel is washed up, then he could be a distraction to the team in the midst of a playoff push. If he plays really bad, then he could be a 'traffic cone' on the field, as some of the Galaxy fans called him a week or so back. I think there is a chance that Angel maybe could have more opportunities on Chivas than he had with the Galaxy, so he could produce more in the remainder of the season. I think the chance of that is 30% likely he could equal his output for the rest of the season, so I can't say I think this move will necessarily pay off for Chivas. Plus, I'm guessing Angel will be bummed to find out that Chivas haven't had a penalty attempt all season, so he probably can't get any easy goal attempts that way. But, if he can draw a penalty, it will be an immediate improvement in that department.
Overall, my attitude at this stage is wary but cautiously optimistic. My expectations are low, and I don't think Angel has much more to offer but I'm willing to give him a shot. And Chivas got a forward, which is what everyone wanted, so we'll have to see if it makes a difference in this homestretch run.
What do you think about Juan Pablo Angel as a Goat? Leave a comment below!