Juninho has appeared with the LA Galaxy for three straight years on loan from Sao Paulo. Bruce Arena has made public his desire to work out a long term acquisition of Juninho, and for good reason. Not only has he been a bargain but he's been a key contributor to the team.
Juninho finished in the top 100 of the Castrol Index, clocking in at sixty three. For comparison's sake Christian Wilhelmsson finished at 366. Juninho constantly clocked in with a strong Match Impact Rating, he's constantly making the right moves on the pitch.
The highlight of his year is his cross at MLS Cup. Restarting after a corner kick, David Beckham got the ball to Sean Franklin who got the ball to Juninho. MLS released a video showing the cross from various angles, and it's really just beautiful to watch.
Really, if you've got young kids learning the game (or you're like me and are terrible but want to be a rec league hero) that's a picture perfect cross. Left foot is planted, right ankle is locked, he makes first contact with his big toe giving the ball some spin, and it falls perfectly onto Omar Gonzalez' head.
Juninho had the most shots from outside the box in MLS this year, and took one in MLS Cup that he barely pulled. Juninho clocks in at .38 points per ninety, but as a central midfielder taking almost exclusively low percentage shots that's just fine.
At a salary of $65,625, he made about $1,920 per ninety or less than the parking fees for 200 fans. Still, the Brazilian with a big heart always has a smile on his face and has cemented himself as a fan favorite.
I'll never forget the exit interview the reporter set had with Juninho at the end of last season. We were having our questions translated in Spanish and his responses translated back into English. But when asked if he wanted to come back, he didn't wait for the translation. He let out of big yes.
Juninho has gotten better every year that he's been here, and hopefully this will be the offseason that he finally gets a permanent contract. He deserves the moon, and here's hoping he can get it.