Even the Pet Shop Boys would be impressed by the Red Bulls' signing of Colombian Striker Juan Pablo Angel from Aston Villa today. After rumors of everyone from Figo to Ronaldo to Edmundo to Wanchope joining the Taurine Army, Red Bull supporters have to be pleased with the bilingual Angel, who deftly answered questions from the media today in a cross-continental conference call.
Angel's track record as a proven goal scorer at some of the world's biggest clubs (River Plate, Villa) should put some fear in the eyes of MLS keepers when he arrives after receiving his visa in the next few weeks. Angel is only 31 (a baby compared to his Red Bull brethren Reyna and Wattereus) and will be a superb mentor to young forward Jozy Altidore.
His unassuming and professional manner came through loud and clear on the conference call, and calm demeanor (Angel has never been red-carded) will quickly make fans forget the hot-tempered Amado Guevara.
Angel joins a list of former Colombian nationals to play in New York with varied success (Alex Comas, Adolfo Valencia) but hopefully Angel's signing will generate some interest (and attendance) from the vast NY-area Colombian fan base that traditionally has ignored the Metro/Red Bulls.
Get Wet with the Red Bull Boys
Hopefully the weather gods will shine on Giants Stadium more often this season, but it's hard to argue with the Reyna-less Red Bulls' 3-0 demolition of FC Dallas on Sunday during the biggest rainstorm to hit the Metro area in years. Mathis turned back the clock, and he and Altidore were simply wonderful. As a NY fan since '96, it's really something to see New York at the top of the table.
There's been a considerable amount of derision directed at New York's fans from staying away from Giants Stadium in droves on Sunday, and kudos (I guess) to those who braved the storm to attend. Had I been 15 years younger and single I may have made a go of it, but let's face it: When the starting keeper suffers hypothermia after only 45 minutes of play... that's a problem. In a letter to season ticket holders by RB GM Marc deGrandpre said, "We want to make it clear that there was no point during Sunday's game in which there was any danger to those in attendance or involved with the game." Ok.
Do the two thousand or so fans that attended deserve some special commendation from the team? Yes. Do the other thousands of Red Bull fans who watched the match from home on TV deserve ridicule? Absolutely not. Moving forward, I hope there'll only be clear skies for Red Bull home games. As longtime fan, I know that's just not going to happen. Advanced weather report for August 18th, anyone?