The Peruvian national team goalkeeper recalled preparing to compete in the domestic league final between his club, Alianza Lima, and Binacional.
Los Blanquiazules lost in the final, but shortly after Gallese signed with Orlando City on Jan. 17.
“My representative confirmed there was interest from Orlando, and I was grateful and happy for that,” Gallese recently told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously, at that moment I was preparing for a final, so I had to concentrate on that, but after that I analyzed the move and now I’m here.”
The goalkeeper is one of several Peruvians who have decided to play in MLS. Gallese confirmed he spoke with Peruvian teammates and former Orlando City players Yoshimar Yotun and Carlos Ascues prior to joining the club.
And that helped Gallese gained a greater understanding of Orlando.
“Before I made my decision, I spoke with Yotun and [Carlos] Ascues, who already played in this club,” said Gallese. “They told me it was a great club, and the fans really support this team and that was an added plus to my decision to come here.”
But speaking with Yotun and Ascues may have also sparked the idea of being an important figure with the Lions.
“Conversing with those teammates, they told me Orlando was a beautiful city,” said Gallese. “A city that was going to welcome me and my family with open arms [and] because of that, I made the decision to come here to live peacefully… and I want to write my story with this team.”
Gallese also said he spoke with several of the league’s Peruvian players such as Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders), Yordy Reyna (Vancouver Whitecaps), Alexander Callens (New York City FC) and Andy Polo (Portland Timbers).
With Copa America slated to kick off this summer and CONEMBOL World Cup qualifying beginning in March, the 29-year-old had to consider which club would help him secure his spot with Los Incas.
“Before I decided to come to MLS, I analyzed and I took notice that the last few years big-name forwards were coming to the league,” he said. “And for me as a goalkeeper, that’s important and it definitely sets a standard and helps when I’m with the national team.”
When asked if he thinks he’s going to be the best goalkeeper in MLS, Gallese was coy on setting lofty goals, but assured helping the Lions make the playoffs for the first time was a goal.
“It’s a nice objective, but my objective now is helping the team go far in the season,” Gallese said. “It’s to my understanding the team has never qualified to the playoffs, so the first objective is to make the playoffs and write my story here and help bring joy to this club and the fans.”