Gabriel Pec Daily KO
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LA Galaxy sign Pec from Vasco da Gama

The LA Galaxy have acquired winger Gabriel Pec from Brazilian top-flight side Vasco da Gama and signed him through the 2028 MLS season. Pec, a 22-year-old Brazil youth international, fills one of two Designated Player spots LA opened when they formally parted ways with Chicharito and Douglas Costa in early November. Their other DP is midfielder Riqui Puig.

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The first DP of a new era in LA

In December 2023, just eight months after arriving from LAFC’s front office, the Galaxy promoted senior vice president of player personnel Will Kuntz to general manager. Kuntz joined the Galaxy in April after six successful years as LAFC’s assistant general manager. Prior to his work with LAFC, Kuntz worked with the league office as director of player relations. Prior to that prior work, he spent 10 years with the New York Yankees (a baseball team) where he worked his way up from a summer intern position to manager of pro scouting.

I don’t really mean to spit out a press release at y’all, but I think it’s important context for understanding why LA’s newest DP, 22-year-old Gabriel Pec, represents a new era for the Galaxy. It’s no secret the Galaxy haven’t had what you’d call a “stable” front office over the last few years. The org chart received some serious restructuring in 2023 when, among other things, the club parted ways with president Chris Klein, hired Kuntz, separated the business side from the sporting side and eventually put Kuntz in charge of the roster in place of head coach Greg Vanney.

With those moves, it finally feels like the Galaxy have reached a more modern MLS organizational structure. I know that seems weird to say about one the league’s biggest brands, but remember, Vanney arrived in 2021, looked around, and said, “uhhhhhh where’s the scouting department?”

“It was a recommendation-based scouting plan,” he told the LA Times. “Agents would recommend players who were available and if they fit a position, they were brought in.”

Not ideal. Connections with agents and intermediaries always play a role in a team’s signings, but let’s just agree it helps to be a bit more proactive than that. It’s a large part of why Vanney has gotten so much leeway. The Galaxy finished 13th in the West last year and his seat isn’t scalding hot. There seems to be a general understanding the folks in charge have been building LA’s internal infrastructure from the ground up. I’d guess there’s still a little more work to do before everything is completely built out, but the organization is clearly on a better path.

Pec is the first major move of a renovated club. The Galaxy already roped in 30-year-old, three-time J League Best XI fullback Miki Yamane earlier this offseason, but as good as that signing seems, that’s not going to turn heads like a new attacking DP.

The good news for everyone involved is the bar for Galaxy DPs is relatively low. It feels like a general rule for the club over the last few years has been they’re not allowed to have more than one effective DP at a time. Even with a refocused Chicharito (not 2020 Chicharito) and Riqui Puig on the team, they never saw the field enough together for Chicharito to truly capitalize on Puig’s outstanding on-ball ability. Douglas Costa was also there.

Pec, in theory, can be the kind of player who benefits tremendously from Puig doing Puig things, plus a high-level attacking fullback like Yamane forcing defenders to make tough decisions on the wing. Additionally, Pec, in theory, won’t be the only significant attacking piece the Galaxy add this window. They still have an open DP spot they’ll likely use to bolster the wing opposite Pec. If LA’s new leadership has hit on Pec and hits on the newest DP, there is an easy to see timeline where the Galaxy are the best attacking team in a conference I’ll politely describe as “highly winnable.”

There’s work to do. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We haven’t seen proof of concept yet. But at least there’s hope it’s coming soon.

Other Things

Vancouver Whitecaps sign defender Utvik

Vancouver Whitecaps FC have signed Norwegian center back Bjørn Inge Utvik through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026. A former Norway youth international, the 27-year-old has spent the entirety of his career in his native country – most recently at top-flight side Sarpsborg 08. Utvik provides depth for a Vancouver center-back core that features Ranko Veselinović, Tristan Blackmon and Mathías Laborda.

Chicago Fire acquire Gasper from Houston Dynamo

Chicago Fire FC have acquired left back Chase Gasper in a trade with Houston Dynamo FC. In exchange for the 28-year-old defender, the Dynamo receive Chicago's third-round pick in the 2026 MLS SuperDraft. Gasper is under contract with Chicago through the 2025 MLS season.

Charlotte FC sign goalkeeper Bingham

Charlotte FC have signed free-agent goalkeeper David Bingham through the 2025 MLS season. Bingham, 34, is entering his 13th MLS season and has played 202 matches in MLS across three clubs: the San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers.

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