Juninho and Leonardo coming back to Galaxy
Maybe Juninho is Portuguese for boomerang. Because the Galaxy midfielder of the same name, who left Major League Soccer to re-sign with his Brazilian club Sao Paulo two months ago, is returning after all.
Actually, Juninho is a common nickname for Brazilian soccer players whose given names include Junior. But no matter what he wants to be called, Coach Bruce Arena is just happy to have him and fellow Brazilian Leonardo back.
Juninho, 23, started 30 regular-season games for the Galaxy last season and played a key role in helping the team to the MLS Cup title. His decision to return home looked to be a devastating loss for the Galaxy, but with Sao Paulo flush with midfielders, the Brazilian club agree to loan him back to the Galaxy.
Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Juninho is expected to meet the Galaxy in Southern California next week.
Leonardo, 24, figured in the Galaxy's plans in central defense last season, but his year was cut short after he tore two ligaments in his right knee, leading to season-ending knee surgery after just seven games. He has played in just 17 of 64 regular-season games since joining the Galaxy in 2010.
He will join the Galaxy as a free transfer.
The team also announced that Jose Villarreal underwent successful surgery Monday for bilateral lower leg compartment syndrome -- basically really bad shin splints. The condition was diagnosed last week and Villareal is expected to miss about a month and a half.
-- Kevin Baxter
Photo: Galaxy midfielder Juninho celebrates during a Galaxy victory over FC Dallas in August. Credit: Bret Hartman / Associated Press