LA Galaxy address need for "stronger, physical presence" in Samuel loan, say more help coming

Samuel in action for Fluminense

Photo Credit: 
Nelson Perez/Divulgação FFC

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy's fiercest need this offseason has been a target forward, and the club addressed it somewhat on Tuesday with the acquisition of Brazilian forward Samuel on loan from Fluminense.

Another target forward could be arriving shortly.

“We're going to follow up this week with probably another player who can play in that position as well,” head coach Bruce Arena told reporters at Tuesday's US national team training session at StubHub Center. “We're trying to shore up our target position.

“One of our weaknesses last year, although no one would argue that Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are not a great group of forwards, but in some games you need a stronger physical presence in front of the goal, and we have that in Samuel. And I think that you’ll see later in the week or next week, we’re going to sign another player that offers us those qualities as well.”

Samuel, 22, comes to Galaxy after two seasons with Fluminense, the Rio de Janeiro club he joined after featuring at the youth level with Porto Alegre's SC Internacional. He scored 15 goals in 72 appearances in all competitions with Fluminense.

The Galaxy's only true target forward is third-year pro Jack McBean, who turned 19 in December. Gyasi Zardes also has size and strength, but his tools aren't a classic target forward's, and he spent the final three months of his rookie season attacking from the flank.

Keane and Donovan are at their best playing off a target forward. Donovan also plays in midfield.

Samuel stands 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and that size would be beneficial for LA's aerial game. The Galaxy, with one of the smaller starting attacks in MLS, scored on headers just eight times in league play last year.

Arena said his staff had watched Samuel on film and saw him in person “about a month ago.”

“He's the kind of player we think we need on our team, a big, strong, athletic forward,” Arena said. “He plays well in front of the goal and will be a presence in front of the goal. And we think that he's a young player with a lot of potential, and we're hopeful he can emerge as a good player for the Galaxy and for MLS.”