CARSON, Calif. – There are expectations aplenty being placed on the shoulders of new LA Galaxy forward Samuel, but that means zilch to the team’s newest Brazilian.
His only focus is scoring goals and lots of them for the Galaxy.
The Galaxy acquired the 22-year-old native of São Borja, Brazil early last month on a year-long loan from Brazilian giants Fluminense despite interest domestically and in Europe.
During his two years with the Fluzão, the center forward scored 15 goals in 72 outings—a tally that he hopes to add to during his time with the Galaxy.
“I feel like I played very well [with Fluminense] and that caught the eye of the Galaxy coaching staff. I’m really happy to be here with a great team like this,” Samuel told reporters earlier in the week before starting alongside fellow new signing Rob Friend during the first half of LA’s scrimmage with Chivas USA on Wednesday. “I hope that I can do my best and hopefully, give the Galaxy many championships. Fluminense is in the past now, the Galaxy are my present and my future so I want to do the most that I can for them.”
Samuel arrives at StubHub Center already very familiar with his potential strike partner, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, confidently avowing that the pair will “make a great duo in the attack,” when they do ultimately suit up together. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds—and reportedly growing stronger each day—the brawny target man appears to be an ideal partner for the clever Keane who has enjoyed many of his best years historically alongside a target forward.
Before he can shine on the field, he’ll need to fit in with his new teammates, which has been aided by the presence of the Galaxy’s three Brazilians: Juninho, Leonardo and Marcelo Sarvas. Unfamiliar with the trio at the start, he did have an in with the Brazilian clique, as he was quite familiar with Juninho’s younger brother Ricardo Goulart who played for Porto Alegre giants Internacional while Samuel was playing for the team’s youth system.
“[He’s a] raw talent. This is all pretty new to him: the methods of training, the players that he’s playing with,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “It’ll take a little bit of time, but I’m encouraged by the progress that he’s showing and how comfortable that he’s fitting in.”
As for the dreaded transition process to MLS that often trips up foreign arrivals, Samuel is asserting that he can adapt quickly to the American game’s pace and physicality.
“[The playing style] is a little different. In MLS, it’s faster with a lot of quick touches before going forward while in Brazil, it’s definitely a slower game,” said Samuel.
Samuel’s Southern California journey may be at its infancy, but after a warm welcome from Galaxy fans upon his arrival and a solid week of training, the Brazilian believes that he is settling in swimmingly.
“All of the players have been showing me and helping me around. Little by little, I hope to learn the language so that I can speak to more than just the Brazilians,” Samuel said.
“I’m at home here.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com