After Edson Buddle came back to the Galaxy, I didn't think things could get much better for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Well, I was wrong. In fact, the Galaxy has worked out a deal for Juninho to come back to Los Angeles on loan from São Paulo FC for the 2012 MLS season. In addition, as a result of a free transfer, former São Paulo defender Leonardo will be coming to our side for good.
Juninho's return is a bit of a surprise as I thought he was going to be with Sao Paulo this season. Although we have Marcelo Sarvas in the lineup, Juninho and Beckham worked well together in the 2011 season. In addition, Juninho has the ability to score some beautiful goals from a distance. In 2011, he scored four goals and added two assists.
With Omar Gonzalez out with an injury, I'm happy to see Leonardo back. The center back started out the 2011 season as a key component of the Galaxy's defense. However, an ACL and LCL tear in April kept him out for the remainder of season. As a result, A.J. DeLaGarza came into replace the Brazilian. Now, it looks like the two will be working together to shut down our opponents' offense. I won't say Leonardo is a perfect replacement for Gonzalez. However, he's definitely going to help fill that void. My only concern is that he is still rehabilitating his knee. I hope he will be 100 percent at the start of the season.
With Juninho and Leonardo back, we have one of the best starting lineups in the league. Furthermore, our bench is looking pretty strong too. As of right now, it looks as though Edson Buddle and Robbie Keane will start up top. The midfield will probably consist of Landon Donovan, Juninho, Beckham and perhaps Mike Magee. Defense is looking pretty with Todd Dunivant, Leonardo, DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin. Of course, Josh Saunders will be in goal. That's not the definite lineup. However, we still have Sarvas to possibly start in the midfield. Pat Noonan and Chad Barrett will be ready to step into the striking position. Finally, Andrew Boyens and a handful of newcomers will be vying for playing time.
I'm definitely sensing a repeat championship performance for the Galaxy in 2012. The season can't start soon enough.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.