How Acquired: Signed by the Galaxy on loan from Sao Paulo on February 7, 2012.
Back for a third season with the Galaxy on loan from Sao Paulo, Juninho is a fan favorite whose partnership with David Beckham in central midfield last season was the impetus for the club’s success. Equally tough tackling and gritty as he is creative and calm on the ball while also owning one of the best long range shots in MLS, his workrate in front of the back four allows his fellow midfielders the chance to push forward and cause problems for opposing defenses.
2011: Established himself as one of the top midfielders in MLS, earning a spot on the MLS All-Star Team for the first time and helping LA win MLS Cup. He appeared in 30 regular season games, scoring four goals and adding two assists while combining with David Beckham to form one of the best central midfield duos in Major League Soccer. He scored the Galaxy’s first two goals of the season, scoring in the 1-0 win at Seattle (3/15) and the 1-1 draw vs. New England (3/20). He would add game-winning goals at Colorado (6/18), a game in which he also had an assist, and at home vs. FC Dallas (8/6). His impact was even more profound in the CONCACAF Champions League, where he scored the game-winning goal in each of LA’s final two games in group play, giving the Galaxy a 2-1 home win over Morelia and a 1-0 win at Motagua, which gave LA a first place finish in Group A. The only Galaxy player to be sent off in both MLS and the Champions League, Juninho was then shown a red card after the end of the first game of the Conference Semifinal Series at New York. He missed the second game of that series but played the full 90 minutes in the Conference Championship win over Real Salt Lake and MLS Cup against Houston. 2010: One of the Galaxy’s breakout stars in 2010, Juninho was a constant fixture in the center of the LA midfield in his first year with the club. He made his MLS debut in the season opening win over New England and went on to start 25 regular season games for the club. He missed three games after twice having to return to Brazil as a result of deaths in his family. He finished the year with two goals and two assists in MLS play while also adding a goal in the Open Cup, scoring the eventual game-winner against AC St. Louis in the Third Round of that competition on 6/29 for his first-ever goal for the club. He scored his first MLS goal a few days later, beating Kasey Keller from 35 yards out. That goal was later selected as the runner-up for the AT&T MLS Goal of the Year. He also added the eventual gamewinner early in the second half of the regular season finale against FC Dallas on 10/24, a game that LA won 2-1. Just as each of his goals was a game-winner, both of his assists on the season helped to set up Edson Buddle for eventual game-winning goals. His first came in his fourth MLS game, setting up Buddle for his second goal in the 2-1 win vs. Real Salt Lake on 4/17 and then providing the final pass on Buddle’s goal in the first half of the 1-0 win at New York on 8/14. Despite his size, Juninho is also a tough and tenacious tackler, collecting five yellow cards on the season, however, he played the final three months of the season without receiving one, meaning that he was able to avoid a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
2012: Signed a contract extension with Sao Paulo and trained with the club ahead of the start of their 2012 season before re-joining the Galaxy in February. 2004-09: Played for Sao Paulo of the Brazilian Campeonato after originally joining the club in 2004. He came through the youth ranks of Sao Paulo, having played on the Sao Paulo team that won the U-17 Paulista Championship in 2006 and finished second at that year’s Mundialito in Spain. He was also a member of the team that won the Super Group of the 2007 Dallas Cup, defeating Real Madrid and Chelsea en route to the title. In 2009, he was loaned out to Toledo in the First Division of the Brazilian Paraná Championship, playing there alongside both Alex Cazumba and Leonardo.