It looks like the saga that threatened the beginning of the 2012 MLS season for Chivas USA has ended. Confirmation finally came this evening that forward Juan Pablo Angel has re-signed with Chivas for the 2012 season and will presumably be ready to play Sunday at the home opener against the Houston Dynamo. This is of course good news, considering JPA will be expected to play a significant role for the Goats this season, both on the field and off.
While he has only played nine matches with Chivas in 2011, Angel scored seven goals, and it seemed like his move to Chivas from the LA Galaxy energized not only Chivas' attack but Angel as well. He only scored three goals with the Galaxy, and having a chip on his shoulder after getting bounced by the Galaxy for Robbie Keane seemed to motivate him. While losing that motivation could derail some players, JPA is a veteran professional and I don't anticipate a big drop off. That said, maintaining a seven-goal-in-nine-game pace is somewhat unrealistic over the course of an entire season.The other dynamic Angel should bring to the squad this season will be experience and leadership. The deal is reportedly for one year, which is something I heartily endorse as he is 36 years old and will hit the wall eventually. In the time he stays with Chivas, whether it is one year or beyond, he can mentor young forwards, especially rookies Casey Townsend and Cesar Romero, who both looked impressive in preseason but are of course green. He is a player who is comfortable leading the line alone up top, which may come in handy as Chivas' defensive woes may force Robin Fraser's hand in playing a defensive-oriented formation. And as a star on three continents, he is the undisputed face of the franchise. I was worried that the front office and marketing department was going to have egg all over its face after having JPA model the 2012 jersey a few weeks back if he didn't actually re-sign, but it seems the crisis has been averted. In the end, the fans' collective hand-wringing appears to have been for nothing, but still - you left us worried there, Chivas.
Now, the biggest piece of last year's team not under contract has apparently been brought back into the fold officially. We can turn our attention to the real issue at hand: the games! Keep coming back to see us finish up our league preview and preview Sunday's match.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!