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.”