You know the drill. It’s time for this week’s 10 MLS Thoughts.
1. LA Galaxy make a splash
In one of the worst-kept secrets of the offseason, the LA Galaxy finally announced Gabriel Pec as a new Young Designated Player on Tuesday. Pec, 22, is the first major signing for the Galaxy with recently promoted general manager Will Kuntz running the show — and he looks like a promising addition.
Last year with Vasco da Gama in Brazil’s top-flight, the winger scored eight goals and added four assists in 2,600 minutes. Those counting stats are good, but the underlying numbers are even better. According to FBref, he finished in the 91st percentile in non-penalty xG per 90 minutes among his positional peers in Brazil. After watching a boatload of tape, here’s my quick hit scouting report on Pec:
- Mostly played as an inverted right winger in Brazil
- Can also play as a more traditional left winger
- Provides good service from the wing, hitting crosses and cutbacks with good speed and texture
- Likes to dribble, but isn’t efficient
- Works hard off the ball
- Loves to crash the box from the weak side
- A big chunk of his best shots come from his off-ball movement, where he lurks almost like a No. 9
- Willing to track back defensively
Pec doesn’t jump off the screen in the way you might expect a young Brazilian winger to jump off the screen, but he plays effective, forceful soccer in the final third. Riqui Puig and the LA Galaxy needed more of that last year.
The Kuntz era has now begun in full force.