CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy liked Samuel and believe the Brazilian forward can evolve into a fine player, but they let him return to Fluminense because his acclimation to Major League Soccer would require a good deal of time.
The Galaxy, per request by the Rio de Janeiro club, ended the loan deal that brought Samuel to Southern California in January.
"He's a player that got better," head coach Bruce Arena said Friday, one day after the Galaxy announced the move. "Our style of play, our league, everything's different [than in Brazil]. He's a young player [and this is a] new experience. It would have taken some time. ...
"We thought since the loan arrangement was only for one year, you know, I think it would have taken him a year to make the adjustment, so at this point, it was probably in everybody's best interest that he return to Fluminense.”
Samuel, 23, is a big, mobile striker with strong ball skills, but he struggled with fitness early in the season and never was as effective up front as the Galaxy had hoped. He and Canadian veteran Rob Friend joined the Galaxy before the start of preseason, adding size to the frontline and providing dimensions LA's attack lacked during last year's disappointing campaign.
Samuel played in eight league games for LA, starting four, was in the lineup in both CONCACAF Champions League matches against Club Tijuana, and came off the bench in both of the Galaxy's US Open Cup games.
His lone goal beat Tijuana, 1-0, in the first leg of the CCL quarterfinal series.
"A big goal," Arena called it. "So he's got that memory."
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The Galaxy had an option to buy Samuel's contract, but Fluminense reportedly wanted to bolster their attacking group as Brazilian national teamer Fred expressed a desire to return to Europe following the World Cup.
"A real good guy," Arena said. "He got better, we liked him, we're sorry it didn't work out as quickly as one would want, but that's not surprising. Sometimes those transitions can be quicker, sometimes they take a little longer."
Arena, asked if the Galaxy needed to bring in another forward following Samuel's departure, said they "always do anything we can to make our team better. ... We're looking to make an addition to our team at some point."