Orlando City officially announced the signing of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese today and the 29-year-old is now a Lion. Media reports out of Peru surfaced in late December that OCSC was in discussions with the Peruvian National Team and Alianza Lima goalkeeper and on Dec. 27 The Mane Land was able to confirm those reports.
The club did not give the length of the contract but did clarify that Gallese is a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) signing, calling it a “permanent transfer.”
“We are very excited to welcome Pedro to our roster. He is a proven goalkeeper at both the club and international levels with World Cup experience on his resume,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “His track record speaks for itself and we are thrilled to add his presence to our roster ahead of this season.”
Gallese became a free agent after the most recent season. He was on loan from Liga MX side Veracruz to Alianza Lima in Peru. With Veracruz being disaffiliated recently, Gallese was free to sign with another team.
Gallese has made 60 appearances with the Peruvian National Team since 2014. He appeared in 37 matches in all competitions with Alianza Lima in 2019 and has a good overall performance score of 6.76 from WhoScored.com. The native of Lima, Peru appeared in 51 games with Veracruz from 2016-2019. He previously played with Peruvian side Juan Aurich from 2014-2016, making 45 appearances. Prior to that, he played with Peruvian sides Atletico Minero and Universidad San Martin.
Orlando City had a need at goalkeeper after letting go of both Greg Ranjitsingh and Adam Grinwis following the 2019 season. Brian Rowe is the incumbent starter, but Gallese will be expected to battle for Rowe’s starting position.
What it Means for Orlando City
Gallese is an experienced international goalkeeper with numerous caps. While Rowe was solid in Orlando’s net, the club needed to bring in a goalkeeper and Gallese is capable of taking the starting spot and potentially stealing some points here and there with a timely spectacular save. The club will need to spend an international slot on him. Although the numbers don’t show available slots to match the internationals that have been linked to Orlando, there are currently as many as three Lions working on green cards and the club can also acquire more via trade if necessary. One way or another, those numbers will align by opening day.
Gallese has experience in big competitions, such as Copa Libertadores and Copa America. He’s athletic and has good lateral movement (his nickname is The Octopus), and at 29 he’s entering his prime years. These are all good qualities in a goalkeeper.
There are a couple of potential downsides of this signing. This will be a Copa America year, so Gallese will presumably miss some time while playing in that tournament. Gallese has also had some very public personal drama in his marriage recently, although he and his wife have reportedly reconciled following reports of him being caught with another woman. A move stateside would alleviate some of the publicity about his personal life.
Gallese is coming to a club that is familiar with Peruvian players, having formerly employed Yoshimar Yotún and Carlos Ascues. Neither of those players had much difficulty acclimating to MLS and Gallese has already played outside of his native Peru through his stint in Mexico, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
All in all, ‘The Octopus’ has the potential to become the best goalkeeper Orlando City has had in the team’s MLS era.