CARSON, Calif. – It all started with a quick conversation.
Then a member of Costa Rican side Alajuelense, Marcelo Sarvas had just finished leading the Central American club past the LA Galaxy in a heated CONCACAF Champions League group stage match at the raucous Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto. Throughout the 90 minutes, Sarvas’ work rate and tenacity pestered David Beckham and the rest of a high-powered Galaxy side that also boasted the likes of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.
Immediately after celebrating the win with his teammates, Sarvas made a beeline for the Galaxy’s Brazilian midfielder Juninho for a postgame handshake and what happened next may have seemed innocuous but led to one of the biggest arrivals in recent Galaxy history.
The Farewell Interview Pt. 2
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“I went to say hi to Juni who told me that the coaching staff had positive things to say about me and after having such a good game, I simply asked him who was the guy that he should talk to and offer myself,” Sarvas recalled to LAGalaxy.com. “Then we shook hands and I ran to speak to [Director of Soccer Operations David Kammarman] from there we exchanged a few e-mails and the conversations that started to bring me to the club.
“But it was all thanks to Juni who still thinks that he’s my agent.”
A few short months later, a legendary Galaxy career began.
Following an up-and-down first season with the club that saw LA lift the MLS Cup, Sarvas’ became the heartbeat of the Galaxy midfield in his final two years at StubHub Center. His tireless effort and uncanny passing ability were crucial in leading the Galaxy to their fifth MLS Cup title in 2014.
Now Sarvas will embark upon a new challenge as he joins the Colorado Rapids after being dealt earlier this year in exchange for the third spot in the MLS Allocation Order. The announcement of Sarvas’ departure led to an outpouring of kind words from Galaxy fans, but the 33-year-old admitted that he was not surprised by the news.
After a Best XI-quality season that helped LA to a title, it was ultimately financial considerations and the desire for a new challenge helped Sarvas realize that the time was right for new scenery.
“Every player and every athlete needs a new challenge. I’ve been here for three years and while it’s natural to get settled, I always try to look over those emotions. It was time for a new challenge to get the best for me. Last year, I showed my best here and now I think I need something more to get the best from me. This move came at a good time for me.
“The challenge provided by Colorado is something that comes at the right time for me. I’m going now to a young team that had a bad season last year. I’m sure that all the players want to change that and I’m the first person who is going to work to change that. I’ll bring whatever I can.”
Sarvas’ departure breaks up his partnership with the very man responsible for bringing him to the Galaxy. But as he looks back at his time alongside his countryman Juninho in the Galaxy midfield, Sarvas said that the reason the two were so successful together had nothing to do with their relationship on the pitch.
“I think that our life is much more outside the field than inside the field. We have good relationships with our family and we grew up in the same way. We think about things the same way,” said Sarvas. “It’s like a marriage because it’s not something that you can find everywhere. It was simply something that works. It’s not every day that you can find this bond. It was more what we had outside the field than inside the field.
“I told him before I found out the news that I would leave and we talked. It was hard to say goodbye because I won’t be able to play with him every game, but in the other hand, he was happy that I was happy. It was time.”
He’ll leave the Galaxy with a total 88 regular season appearances, nine goals, 19 assists as well as countless tackles and yards covered. However, one moment sticks out above all the rest for the departing Brazilian.
“For sure, it’s the last minutes of the 2014 MLS Cup. That game was so hard, everyone was tired and the game was heading to penalties. I spoke to God and I said to him, give me something special to help this team. Luckily, I found Robbie Keane in a great position with my pass and he didn’t have to work that hard to score that goal.
“That moment and the pass were so special for me and I still look at it all the time. I’ll never forget living in that moment.”
But before he sets off for a new team and a new opportunity, Sarvas had one wish for how all those involved with the Galaxy will remember him.
“During my time here with the Galaxy, I did everything that I could. I was here for three years and we won two championships,” Sarvas said. “The response from the fans was amazing because they knew that what I give was everything that I had. It is much better to be remembered like a champion and a player that fought for the team.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.