Down go the Bruins...
On Wednesday, Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy completed their final tune-up game, a 2-1 victory over the UCLA Bruins.
Juninho, who is looking to build on his first year with the club on loan from Sao Paulo FC, opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute on an unassisted goal.
In the 50th minute, expected starter Juan Pablo Angel sent in a delivery to Chad Barrett, who then played a through ball to Galaxy team captain Landon Donovan to make it 2-0.
UCLA made things interesting in the 55th minute to cut the lead to 2-1, but backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders did a good job in fending off any forthcoming threats from the Bruins.
“As far as the way we move, the way we’re passing, the way we’re defending, we’re there,” Donovan said after the match. “We just need to get a little fitter and that’s going to take a little bit longer. You need a real game of 90 minutes before you can get that final piece of fitness.”
Angel also believed more work needed to be done in terms of building a connection with Barrett.
“We’re working on it,” Ángel said. “It takes time to build a partnership. Hopefully, throughout the year, we’ll get to find that understanding. [Barrett]’s a strong guy. He’s a handful and he can score goals and he can run forever.
"It’s about mixing it up and making sure we offer our best abilities to the team so they can benefit from it."
Angel also noted the importance of building chemistry with Donovan and midfielder David Beckham as the 2011 Major League Soccer season draws near.
“[Donovan and Beckham are] quality players," he said. "In order for them to get to offer us their individual ability, we’re going to try and play together as a team, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
LA's guardian Angel?
It's a bit of a stretch to say that Juan Pablo Angel is a godsend for the ball club. But manager Bruce Arena was quick to say otherwise.
“If we did, we wouldn’t have brought him in,” Arena said.
Donovan admitted that he also didn't have any worries about Angel's transition to his new club.
“On the guy who’s scored more goals in our league over the last four years than anyone?” Donovan said with a smug expression. “No. I was pretty excited when I found out he was coming.”
“It makes it easier for you, someone that knows you and knows how to treat you,” Angel said of Arena. “First of all, it was an honor to be contacted by them and by Bruce.
"I’m delighted to be here, hoping this is going to be a good year for us, this organization and me individually. Arguably, this is the best organization in the league.”
Arena expects big things from the Colombian international when their campaign starts on March 15 against the Seattle Sounders.
“He’s done well,” Arena said. “He’s brought very good professionalism to our team.”
And for Angel, it's only a matter of time before he regains his wings.
“So far, it’s been good,” Angel said. “They have a good core of players here that have been together for a number of years. With David (Beckham) and Landon, they’re quality players and we have to play well as a team. It’s important as a unit we play well to help those players do what they’re good at.
“Hopefully with the new additions we can adjust as soon as possible and contribute to what hopefully will be a good year for us. It’s going to be extremely busy with a lot of games and a number of competitions, and we have to be ready for it.”