A year removed from reaching MLS Cup 2008, Red Bulls' forward Juan Pablo Angel
will gladly put the disastrous 2009 season behind him. "We
weren't good enough this year in every way," said Angel Saturday, after a 1-0 loss to San Jose snuffed the faint hopes that the Red Bulls (4-18-6) might catch the second-worst Quakes in overall
points. "Hopefully this is a learning experience for us as players and for everybody, so that we don't repeat this next year.
"It was a combination of so many things but we did not
get many good results, and I believe the table does not lie."
There is much to look forward to in 2010, despite the management shakeup sure to come: A new stadium with a grass
field, a chance to rectify the league's worst record, and the opportunity to make perhaps his final season in MLS the most memorable. He has already passed Giovanni Savarese
as the club's all-time scoring leader with 45 league and playoff goals in less than three seasons.
"It's going to be phenomenal," said Angel of Red
Bull Arena, the team's new home in Harrison, N.J. "I have no doubt it will be the best stadium in this league. It is going to change the perspective of the game in the New York/New Jersey area.
The most important thing is we have to have a better season than we did this year in order for us to attract more people to that stadium."
He turns 34 later this month and enters the
final year of his Designated Player contract in 2010. He's suffered from a concussion and other injuries this season, but doesn't believe his 10 goals in 24 games tracks a downward spiral.
"I hear some people say I have had a few problems, but I have played the majority of the games [24 of 28 in the league] this year," says Angel. "Though I have had some issues I have been
available for pretty much every game this year. I've been fine.
"Probably the biggest issue for me has been training on the turf field for so long. Other than that, I feel pretty
fine and I feel fit."