Steve Carrillo

Galaxy loan João Pedro to Greek club for 10 months

CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy announced this week they had reached an agreement to send midfielder Joao Pedro to Greek Super League team Gymnasticos Syllogos Apollon Smyrnis on loan.

The loan extends for 10 months, and the Galaxy reserve the right to recall the player at any time during the loan period.

Pedro originally was added to the Galaxy roster ahead of the ill-fated 2017season, one in which the Galaxy finished with the worst record in franchise history and were “awarded” the dubious Wooden Spoon trophy, which annually is given to the worst team in Major League Soccer.

Pedro, billed as a two-way midfielder, played in 28 games in 2017. He amassed a total of 2,306 minutes, scored once and added two assists. He originally joined the Galaxy from Portuguese side Vitória Guimarães, with the Galaxy paying an estimated — but never confirmed — transfer fee of about $1.5 million.

At the time of his acquisition, Galaxy President Chris Klein said Pedro “fit the mold. And he fit the mold at a price point and age that made him very attractive to us.

“We couldn’t be more excited about what he’s going to bring to the club.”

Klein even praised then-newly promoted general manager Pete Vagenas and technical director Jovan Kirovski for identifying and scouting Pedro.

“We’ve continuously ramped up our scouting system,” he said. “And Pete and his group and Jovan Kirovski have spent an incredible amount of time away from here scouting and talking and looking for players.”

But his impact to the club never was realized. Pedro looked to have trouble adjusting to Major League Soccer, and once the 2018 season started he appeared to be on the outs with Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid, who had taken over for the dismissed Curt Onalfo. Through 26 games this season, Pedro played in just three games and a total of 85 minutes.

Most of his time this season actually had been spent with second division side Galaxy II.  The Galaxy banished him there once they signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, freeing up a much-needed international slot and getting Pedro some competitive playing minutes.

Pedro started five games with Galaxy II and totaled 434 minutes.

According to a source, Pedro had been attempting to find a loan deal for some time. That he could find only a landing spot in Greece is a testament to how far his stock has fallen.

The Galaxy could receive a small amount of cap relief because of the deal. Just how much and what they could do with it during a closed transfer window remains to be seen.

Pedro, according to MLS rules, is listed as an international player, but his loan will not allow the Galaxy to sign another international player. Owing to the fact the Galaxy already have their full allotment of eight international players.

Pedro will be eligible to rejoin the Galaxy during the summer transfer window of 2019.

There is a small chance he could return to the club next year, perhaps with more confidence and a more developed skill set.