ORLANDO, FL – Juninho grew up admiring his Brazilian countryman and national soccer legend Kaka, but on Sunday, he’ll have the chance to match wits with the former FIFA Player of the Year when the LA Galaxy meet Orlando City SC at the Citrus Bowl.
Sunday’s game won’t be the first time that the two Brazilians have faced off before an exhibition when Kaka was still suiting up for Real Madrid, but this time, given the league competition.
In those friendly matches, there is the temptation for MLS players to get a bit starry eyed when facing such accomplished competition but Juninho knows that this situation is much different. When the first ball is kicked at the Citrus Bowl on Sunday, he’ll be focused on shutting down the Brazilian international.
“My mentality is to not leave him alone,” Juninho told LA Galaxy Insider. “I want to be around him most of the time, and just play my game. I know that it’ll be a hard game with Orlando having a full house. We just want to try and score, and not leave Kaka alone to do what he does so well.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Major League Soccer's finest rivalry will kick off again this Sunday when the LA Galaxy face Seattle Sounders FC.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we look at Juninho's stellar showings agaisnt Seattle.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo this Saturday in their third match of the 2015 MLS regular season.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we take a look at the club's recent struggles against the Dynamo.
Check it out below.
LA Galaxy expect another wild match in Portland when they face the Portland Timbers at Providence Park
CARSON, Calif. – Drama is par the course when the LA Galaxy travel to the Rose City to take the Portland Timbers, and LA expect another barnburner when the two teams face off on Sunday.
The last time the Galaxy set foot on the turf pitch at Providence Park, the two teams saved the scoring for the dying moments as a Diego Valeri strike in stoppage time negated a Robbie Keane goal moments later. Late game flare-ups are common when the two teams face off as 15 of 39 goals scored in the series all-time have been scored between the 61st and 90+ minutes.
With those late game goals common especially when LA travel to Portland, the question has to be asked, why the added intrigue every time the Galaxy head to Bridgetown?
“When you add a short field with a big crowd, it makes a difference,” Juninho said. “Portland is very good at home. They know that they have to play well at home, and against us, they want to give everything. We need to be aware of that.”
As his team prepares for the challenge ahead, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says his group must be calm and smart to prevent any further dramatics.
“One of our objectives this season is to be a better team on the road,” Arena said. “Hopefully, we can set the tone, play smart and bring home three points.”
LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho is interested in one day suiting up for the U.S. National Team, but fans of the Brazilian should hold their horses before running to buy U.S. jerseys with "Juninho" on the back.
Juninho recently told the Brazilian outlet Globoesporte of his intention of suiting up for the U.S. National Team rather than his home land which recently capped his brother Ricardo Goulart. Sources close to the midfielder have told LA Galaxy Insider that this has been a long standing wish of the Brazilian, but even though the 26-year-old has lived in the United States since joining the Galaxy in 2010 and currently holds a green card -- which he obtained in the summer of 2013 -- he must still wait five years until he can apply for citizenship.
When Juninho is finally eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, the Brazilian midfielder will be nearly 30-years old. If the process is completed quickly, Juninho could be eligible to play for the USMNT during their qualifying efforts for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
In a season when he flourished doing the little things to keep his team going, LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho’s 2014 season will undoubtedly be remembered for one massive moment.
For the entirety of LA’s championship winning campaign, Juninho was the team’s most consistent player with a team-high 43 appearances in all competitions—40 of which were starts. During that time, Juninho formed the spine of the league’s finest midfield alongside fellow Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas while notching five assists in all league competitions as well as one truly immense goal that helped LA reach MLS Cup by eliminating Seattle Sounders FC in the Western Conference Championship.
After a season of being used primarily in a defensive capacity, Juninho is likely to resume this role with the Galaxy aim for a sixth title in March. However, head coach Bruce Arena will undoubtedly want more offensive production from the influential Brazilian as his 2014 offensive output was his lowest since his first season in Major League Soccer back in 2010.
How would you rate Juninho’s 2014 performance? Read my review of the LA midfielders on LAGalaxy.com while also voting and commenting below.
CARSON, Calif. -- Truly the engine that helped the LA Galaxy run, Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas enjoyed his best season to date as he played an irreplaceable part in the team’s run to an MLS Cup title.
An indomitable force in the center of the park, Sarvas’ displayed a tendency to only thwart opposition attacks with his ball-winning ability, but was also a key asset to the team’s attack as he notched five goals and 13 assists in all MLS competitions. Sarvas’ most crucial assist came in extra time during MLS Cup when he delivered a pinpoint ball over the top to Robbie Keane for the championship-clinching goal.
Sarvas and his midfield partner Juninho will not doubt have every opportunity to build upon a campaign that saw them crowned the preeminent midfield tandem in Major League Soccer. Once again, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena is expected to call upon Sarvas to provide the offensive output with his timely ability to cover ground while Juninho holds it all together. If this pair can be successful once more, there’s no reason that LA won’t contend for yet another title.
How would you rate Marcelo Sarvas’ 2014 season? Read my review of the Galaxy midfielders on LAGalaxy.com while also commenting and voting below.
LA Galaxy stalwarts A.J. DeLaGarza and Juninho expecting to be ready for MLS Cup Final date with New England Revolution
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are expecting to be back to full fitness -- or at least close to it, when they kick off in the MLS Cup Final against the New England Revolution on Sunday.
A.J. DeLaGarza (left hamstring strain) was the most glaring absence from the squad that dispatched Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, but in an interview with reporters the morning after, the 27-year-old said that he expects to play in MLS Cup this weekend.
"I feel a lot better. I've been working out the last couple of days, but I didn't train too much in the buildup to the last game against Seattle so it wasn't right to go out in a situation like that especially on that turf. You saw that Osvaldo Alonso was not himself and he had two weeks to get ready for that," said DeLaGarza. "I'll be fine this weekend. I'm going to get back into full training."
Another question mark is Juninho who played the hero for the Galaxy with the series-clinching goal against the Sounders. It appeared that the Brazilian suffered an injury in the 87th minute that forced Bruce Arena to pull him from the match when a subsitution of another banged up player (Marcelo Sarvas) was already in the cards.
Despite needing to be helped off the field, Juninho insisted after the game that he'll be ready for Sunday's meeting with the New England Revolution.
"It was so cold out there and at the end of the game there is a lot of pressure so I felt a cramp," said Juninho. " I'm good though. I'll be good for the next game."
There will be an an LA Galaxy connection on the Brazil squad named for their upcoming matches against Colombia on Sept. 6 and Ecuador on Sept. 9.
Ricardo Goulart, the younger brother of Galaxy midfielder Juninho, was named to the 22-man squad for the U.S. based friendlies on Tuesday. The September games will be the first for the Selecao under new head coach Dunga and the first since the South American nation was unceremoniously dispatched from the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a devastating 7-1 defeat to eventual champions Germany on home soil.
Goulart, 23, plays for Brazilian club Cruizero and is current goal scoring leader in the Brazilian Serie A with eight goals for the Belo Horizonte based club.
"My family and I are very happy that my brother has been called into the national team," Juninho told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. "I've been with him throughout his career and it's such an honor to see him represent our country. I hope that this is the start of a long career for Brazil for my brother."
CARSON, Calif. -- There’s no question that Juninho is enjoying a career year with the LA Galaxy so far in 2014.
The Brazilian midfielder’s two-way ability has helped LA break up opposing attacks while also sending penetrating balls forward to spark Galaxy counterattacks. But for all his success in the midfield, one aspect of his game is missing—goals.
To date, the 25-year-old midfielder has managed 23 shots -- nine on frame -- and three assists, but has yet to find the back of the net, a fact that is not lost on head coach Bruce Arena.
“He’s fitter, he’s more involved over 90 minutes and he understands his positioning a bit better,” said Arena. “But his finishing hasn’t been as good as it has in the past. We'd like to see him get a goal or every now and then."
However, Juninho expects that the team’s change from a diamond formation to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation over the past several weeks will allow him to get back to scoring ways.
“For me particularly, [the formation] is much better. I am very familiar with it and I can score goals. [I can] go forward, and try to create more chances for the team,” said Juninho. “This is my style. For me it’s good, for the team I think you can have to ball more. It’s our older style, older formation, so our team is very familiar with that.
“In the diamond, I'm a holding midfielder. I have to stay with our backline and I can't leave that spot. But with two midfielders, I can go forward,” said Juninho. “Even though I haven't scored yet, I’m going to put more pressure on myself [to score] and I will do my best so that we can win.”
While Arena agrees that theoretically, this formation should help Juninho get forward, but he’s waiting for it to pay off.
“Regardless of where he’s playing or the system, he’s capable of getting us a couple goals in the season,” said Arena. “His finishing needs to get better.”