The electric winger started his first MLS match Wednesday night in the club’s wild 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy, and despite playing just 68 minutes, Santos was one of the most influential players on the field.
Santos caused havoc on the Galaxy’s left wing, streaking behind the line in the 18th minute to force Ashley Cole into a red-card challenge and earning his first MLS assist with a slashing ball to Ola Kamara for his 13th goal in the 45th minute.
After the match, Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter said he was impressed with Santos’ ability to make such an immediate impact.
“Pedro has been here two weeks and he hasn’t trained much,” Berhalter said. “It’s a credit to him and how much he wants to play and be on the field and help the team that he can go and have a performance like that.”
Santos said he “feels good” in his new home, and has had plenty of communication with Berhalter and his new teammates to aid his transition from Portugal’s Braga.
“Gregg has spoken with me, my teammates have spoken with me, so I had a pretty good understanding of where I was and where they were coming into the game,” he said.
He’s also found an instant connection with Columbus playmaker Federico Higuain. The two combined for several dangerous movements.
“[Higuain is] a great player,” Santos said. “He [sees] the space, and I combine very well with him. I think it’s good for me and for him. We have the ball, we have space and it’s good.”
Justin Meram, who scored the clinching second goal in the 90th minute, said the Columbus attacking foursome of Santos, Higuain, Meram and Kamara are “pretty special.”
“[Santos] is kind of in the same mindset as me and Pipa,” Meram said. “We like to combine, he likes to cut in on his left, he can shoot, he can cross a ball. Overall, he’s come in, spoken a little English, he’s good in the locker room. So it’s good to have a guy like that.”
Santos may not quite be 100 percent fit, but said he’s looking forward to the team’s second straight home game Saturday against FC Dallas (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE).
“I think I [played] a good game,” he said. “I hope the next game I’ll keep going and help the team win games and score goals.”