Sunday, September 23, 2007

Juan Pablo Angel Just Scores Goals!

For 84 minutes on Saturday night Juan Pablo Angel ran down loose balls and errant passes that should've been here not there and endured an inexplicable torrent of abuse from the worst official in Major League Soccer (which is saying quite alot). Most, if not all, players would succumb to the frustration and either go all Blanco and rant and rave until the final whistle or furtively glance over to the bench while massaging a phantom cramp, hoping to get subbed out of the losing match. But not Juan Pablo Angel, ladies and gentleman, because Juan Pablo Angel, let's say it all together, Just Scores Goals!

The Big Easy, Dave van den Bergh, settling in nicely at left back, lofted a high prayer toward the New England Revolution box as the match slipped away, and newcomer Francis Doe (more on him later) nodded the ball into not more than a yard of space. Angel, somehow still laser-focused on the task at hand despite the aformentioned trials and tribulations, took that minute opportunity and pounced, latching onto the ball and then, as always, almost in slow-motion, cooly picked a spot and drilled the ball low and hard into the bottom right corner, past the outstretched arms of Baldy Keeper Matt Reis, securing a 2-2 draw and a big point at the Meadowlands. Because, ladies and gentlemen, Juan Pablo Angel Just Scores Goals!

The Classy Colombian by way of River Plate and Aston Villa has now scored 16 goals in his inaugural MLS campaign, one shy of a new franchise record. And he's done it with underachieving captain Claudio Reyna (more on him later, too) and volatile reclamation project Clint Mathis as his primary playmakers, with raw rookie Dane Richards on the flank and a rotating cast of strike partners (brilliant, but often AWOL, and soon-to-be-gone Jozy Altidore, vet John Wolyniec and now the slippery Liberian by way of the Minnesota Thunder). We're fond of these guys, but let's face it, Angel is not exactly receiving bottle-service here. No matter. Juan Pablo Angel Just Scores Goals!

With Kansas City falling to streaking Chivas USA on Saturday, there's a good chance of a Red Bull-Revolution first round playoff showdown. Check out the MLS Standings. If so, the confidence gained in last night's draw, thanks in large part to the growing legend of one Juan Pablo Angel, may overcome the recent comedy of errors in New England, which would serve the Red Bull well.

  • A Man Called Grandpa -- According to an impeccable source, du Nord, Francis Doe's nickname is "Grandpa." Sideline Views has more on this front. The view from Section 108 was spot-on for the first Red Bull score, as Dane Richards absolutely schooled Avery John on the right and his cutback pass was expertly first-timed by Grandpa for a thrilling, incisive Red Bull score. Eight-year-old pundit Leo summed up the mercurial Doe thusly: "He's a bit of a greedy pig, but he never stops trying to put the ball in the net. Never." Sounds about right, Leo.

  • Here Comes Claudio -- Captain America had his finest game as a Red Bull, battling Behemoth Shalrie Joseph all night, dominating the tempo of the match and actually directing the Red Bull attack with terrific, well-timed passes. Worst MLS Ref Ever, Richard Heron, assisted by Kermit the Frog and Sean Better to Be Seen and Not Hurd, whistled offside a perfect trap-beating pass to Grandpa in the second half, but Reyna's contribution cannot be overstated. Yeah, he babied that header instead of drilling it into the net, but Claudio was The Man on Saturday night. Better than Guevara. More of that and the Red Bull will be dangerous in the postseason.

  • Taylor-Made -- Taylor Twellman had two typically opportunistic goals for the Revs, rising to head home a neat Steve Ralston cross (another assist for the veteran playmaking machine) and forcing Red Bull fullback Chris Leitch (Hunter still in the doghouse or something?) into a mistake and smoking a grassburner (err, FieldTurf burner, sorry) off the far post into the net. Great stuff by Twellman.

  • Game Reports: MLSnet | Star-Ledger | NY Post | Boston Globe

    Anonymous said...

    Can Juan Pablo Angel help the Red Bulls pull it out?

    Riles said...

    Against the Revs, an emphatic "YES!"...against DC, let's stayed tuned to see how first-round action goes.