After making his MLS debut in a 26-minute off-the-bench performance against the Portland Timbers last weekend, dos Santos now hopes to get his first start in front of the home fans at the StubHub Center on Saturday against New York City FC (11 pm ET | ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; MLS LIVE in Canada).
It’s a short turnaround to get ready and dos Santos will go into Saturday’s match with just one week of training with the club, but he believes he can make an impact now.
“Yes, I only have four training sessions with the team,” said dos Santos after practice. “I am training more at my rhythm each time, it’s difficult because I hadn’t played in some time, but the important thing is that I am here to contribute to the team what [head coach Sigi] Schmid asks of me.
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“It’s what I have always done, to help the team in defense, in offense, and to help balance the team, and that is what I will intend to do for the team.”
His debut against the Timbers came two years to the day after his brother Giovani dos Santos made his LA Galaxy debut, something that was symbolically meaningful to Jonathan. Giovani trained inside on Thursday as his fitness for the weekend is evaluated, but playing alongside his brother in front of the home fans is important to the newcomer.
“Yes, the debut wasn’t what we were hoping for,” said dos Santos, “the important thing is the victory. However, it was a dream debut to play with my brother again on the same team and on the same day, Aug. 6, both of us debuted on the same day two years apart.
“This is another opportunity to play in front of my fans with a great game against a big club as well as a with an ex-teammate, David Villa. We hope to win this game which I think is important for the confidence of the team.”
Jonathan not only gets to play against ex-Barcelona teammate Villa on Saturday, but another close friend of the dos Santos brothers is coming to MLS in LAFC’s Carlos Vela. Jonathan was excited by the news, and sees it as a sign of the league’s growth – one of the reasons he chose to come play in MLS.
“I am happy,” said dos Santos. “Very happy for him because as you said, he is like a brother to me and Gio. As I mentioned before, we know the league is growing, more players are wanting to come and that is why he is coming.
“I have spoken with him, and he is coming to be a leader in his team and in MLS and to keep growing as a footballer, and in the end you also have to look for that happiness.”