The soon-to-be 30-year-old Brazilian had his rights acquired by the Galaxy from the Chicago Fire for $75,000 of 2020 General Allocation Money and will now a join a team that is ripe with midfield options.
But whereas Juninho departed the Galaxy after the 2015 season in a transfer deal to the Xolos of Tijuana seeking more recognition for his central playmaking role, he’ll return in 2019 as more of a bench player and looking to close out his significant MLS Career.
“I am very excited to welcome back such a talented and well-respected player to our club,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese. “Juninho knows what it means to represent the LA Galaxy and will be a leader on and off the field for our players. He is a valuable addition to our roster.”
The Galaxy originally acquired Juninho at the beginning of the 2010 season on loan from São Paolo FC. Once in a Galaxy uniform, he would go on to win the 2010 and 2011 Supporters’ Shields, while also winning three MLS Cups (2011, 2012, and 2014) with the club.
Juninho, who was never an outright goalscoring threat is widely remembered for scoring his only goal of the 2014 season in the Western Conference Finals against the Seattle Sounders – a goal that would send the Galaxy to the MLS Cup Final.
But in fairness, he was also known to take long-distance shots on occasion that would end up finding their target in spectacular fashion.
In total, Juninho racked up 19 goals with the Galaxy and played in 187 games while starting 180 games. He has 20 post-season appearances and has recorded more minutes in a Galaxy uniform this decade than any other player.
He’s a talented box-to-box midfielder that was known for his tireless work-rate but at a more advanced age, is probably going to be used more sparingly for the Galaxy this upcoming season.
For a team that was suddenly lacking any link to past MLS Cup winners (only Baggio Husidic and Bradford Jamieson IV were with the team in 2014), Juninho could be a stable and interesting addition to the depth in 2019.