CARSON, Calif. – It looks like the Galaxy may have been on to something regarding Cristian Pavon.
Difficult, lengthy negotiations for his acquisition from Argentina powerhouse Boca Juniors often left Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese frustrated and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto wondering if a reunion with the talented midfielder was in order.
Their perseverance finally paid off with Pavon’s arrival last week and he has rewarded their diligence with two strong performances, the latest one occurring in Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory over FC Dallas at Dignity Health Sports Park.
The Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, never one to easily hand out compliments, has been impressed with the newcomer who has had an assist in each game and has brought a creative, dynamic element to the midfield.
“Very good, very good. He’s too good for MLS,” Ibrahimovic said of the 23-year-old. “I think MLS will not have him for long.
“We should enjoy him while he’s here.”
Pavon, who was acquired on loan from Boca Juniors in a deal which offers the Galaxy an option to extend it for another year and then buy him outright after the 2020 season, had fallen out of favor with his former club. There also were critics who maintained he was not the same player who had been impressive for Argentina in the 2018 World Cup.
But getting another chance to perform for Schelotto, his former coach with Boca Juniors, apparently was too good to pass up.
“I wanted to come here since the beginning when the opportunity was brought up,” Pavon said. “With Guillermo we always have a respectful relationship. We both have a lot of affection and confidence toward each other.
“He asked me from the beginning and he believed in me. And I’ll be returning that to him little by little every day, doing my best and giving my all on the field.”
Pavon played the full 90 minutes in his MLS debut in last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to D.C. United – just four days after joining his new team — and went another 85 minutes (before being substituted by Servando Carrasco) in Wednesday’s victory.
“He’s playing well,” Schelotto said. “He needs more time, maybe when he can get more rest between games … he played three days ago … he will be better for sure.
“He needs to know his teammates, the league, but he’s done very well. I’m very happy for him because he needed that.”
The Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget said the duo of Pavon and Ibrahimovic will make things even more difficult for opponents.
“A very good combination,” Lletget said. “I think we’re going to see more and more of those two. I think Pavon has made a big difference.
“Even though we lost in D.C. he still played a great game. You can see the quality he’s got. He’s a very creative player and can make things happen. He gets people going. He’s been great.”
Ibrahimovic said Pavon “knows what to do.”
“This is his second game,” Ibrahimovic said. “In D.C. I think he was the best on the field and (Wednesday) he made it difficult.
“I played with many players, and I can see when a player is the difference. He is the difference.”