Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese officially joined the Lions last month. The Peruvian National Team keeper was needed after Orlando City parted ways with Greg Ranjitsingh and Adam Grinwis at the close of last season. With his pedigree, Gallese is expected to win the starting keeper position over Brian Rowe and the Peruvian international started in goal for both the Montreal and Tampa Bay Rowdies friendly preseason matches.
The Mane Land’s Sean Rollins had the chance to attend Orlando City’s Media Day, and we were able to hear from Gallese about adjusting to life in Orlando, what he brings to the table, how he’s passing the time, and more.
Coming to Orlando
On his first impressions of the city, the team, and the league Gallese noted the league’s growth.
“The league has grown a lot and I have seen the growth with the big-name players and big-name signings that have been coming over and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Gallese through a club translator. “So far, I’m enjoying my time in Orlando and the team’s getting better and better every training session, and we hope to be a competitive team this year.”
When making the choice to come to Orlando, Pedro Gallese spoke to former Lions Yoshimar Yotún and Carlos Ascues.
“They had nothing but fantastic things to say about the city,” he said. “They told me it was a spectacular city, that I would enjoy it and that it was a big club here in the U.S., and the fans show up even when the team is down to push them forward and help get results.”
According to the Peruvian it helps a lot that a lot of guys on the team do speak Spanish, but he’s going to work on learning English so he can communicate effectively with everyone.
Preparing for the Season
Gallese has made 60 appearances with the national team, appeared in 37 matches across all competitions with Alianza Lima, and has experience in big competitions like Copa Libertadores and Copa America.
When asked about how it’s been coming back from preseason training in Mexico, El Pulpo spoke about the difficulty level of the regimen that Oscar Pareja put the team through.
“It was a tough time in Mexico and we put in a lot of good work, but just coming from very competitive leagues like Liga Mx and playing with the Peruvian National team I was ready for the workload and the team to enjoy their time back in Orlando getting more of a tactile side of the game down so we can be ready for the season,” he said.
When asked about how it’s been getting used to the back line, Gallese echoed his positive sentiments from after Saturday’s match against Montreal.
“It’s going well so far,” he said. “Most of the back line does speak Spanish or Portuguese so that’s going well. There are some that speak English, but when they’re on the field all that matters is they can all speak the language of soccer, and that makes it easy for them just to plug and play for the most part.”
Gallese said the time in Mexico helped to raise fitness levels, and now the team is focusing on the friendlies so that the squad can learn to work together as a unit and all be on the same page.
What he’s Bringing to OCSC
Having played with the national team, Gallese is able to bring a sense of confidence and calm to the team.
“The biggest thing I can bring from the national team after playing in the World Cup and three Copa Americas as the number one, I can bring this experience and calmness to the back line that we need here in Orlando and I hope that you can see it on the field as well,” Gallese said.
Waiting for his Family
Gallese hasn’t been here long but has positive impressions so far about being in Orlando.
“I’m liking Orlando a lot and my acclimation to the city and the lifestyle here shouldn’t be too hard,” he said.
At the time of his arrival, it was a challenge for Gallese to leave his family and the club for which he was playing, as they were in the middle of a lot of big games. Since his family isn’t here yet, he’s been hanging out at the hotel and watching movies on Netflix to pass the time.
The Octopus is ready to make his mark in MLS and he has the potential to be the best keeper OCSC has seen since its MLS days began.