Orlando City SC recently completed the signing of Pedro Gallese, previously of Veracruz, and currently a member of the Peruvian national team. If that last part of the previous sentence sounds familiar to you, it should, as Gallese is the third Peruvian international that the Lions have signed since the summer transfer window in 2017. While Yoshimar Yotún and Carlos Ascues are no longer with the team, Gallese recently spoke about how conversations with his two international teammates influenced his decision to come to Orlando.
When speaking with MLSsoccer.com Gallese noted that he had spoken to several Peruvians currently playing in Major League Soccer, like Raul Ruidiaz and Yordy Reyna, as well as former Lions Yotún and Ascues. One of his quotes about speaking to Yotún and Ascues in particular is rather noteworthy.
“Conversing with those teammates, they told me Orlando was a beautiful city,” said Gallese. “A city that was going to welcome me and my family with open arms [and] because of that, I made the decision to come here to live peacefully… and I want to write my story with this team.”
While that might not seem like much, it’s the type of thing that should be music to Orlando fans’ ears. Location and market-wise, Orlando as a city doesn’t have the immediate draw and appeal that cities like Los Angeles, New York, or Miami do. The ownership doesn’t have the deep pockets of Arthur Blank’s Atlanta United or City Football Group’s New York City FC. As of right now the club doesn’t have the history of MLS success associated with the Seattle Sounders or the LA Galaxy. That means the club is in an uphill battle when it comes to recruiting and signing players, and it can use all the advantages it can get.
While we don’t know the exact nature of what Yotún and Ascues told Gallese about the city of Orlando and its Major League Soccer club, it isn’t insignificant that they played some part in his decision making. Developing a reputation as the type of city players want to live in and the type of club they want to play for is something that will only help the Lions moving forward.
It’s also notable that Gallese is yet another Peruvian international player. Signing two international players from the same country can be passed off as a coincidence, but signing three of them just might mark the start of a little trend for Orlando City. While I’m not suggesting the club will start signing a Peruvian international in every single transfer window, it’s worth pointing out the trend, especially if Gallese goes on to be as productive as Ascues and — especially — Yotún were during their time in purple. Even if he doesn’t (which I don’t foresee being very likely), if he has the same opinions of the city and club that the former Peruvian Lions did then it could end up paving the way for more of his countrymen to follow in his wake.
Obviously it’s way too early to suggest that the club is on its way to becoming a Peruvian powerhouse. But, there’s no denying that the team has had two successful Peru internationals on its books in recent years, and in all likelihood is going to have another. International teammates clearly talk to one another, and if Gallese both excels and enjoys his time with Orlando City then it isn’t ludicrous to think we could see another of his Peruvian national teammates pull on purple in the future.