With its long travel and physical play, many people say that MLS is a difficult league to adjust to. This perception is a bit exaggerated, according to New England Revolution defender Jose Goncalves.
Goncalves joined MLS in 2013 as part of a loan deal with FC Sion. The center back was an unknown commodity when he first arrived, but soon grabbed a spot in the starting lineup. Goncalves went on to feature in all 34 games for the Revolution, helping the club return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in five years. Goncalves himself earned individual attention, grabbing the league's Defender of the Year award.
Three years later, Sporting CP loanee Sambinha is looking to do something similar. The center back, also from Portugal, has just linked up with the Revolution and is now getting acclimated to his new team. Goncalves predicts that the adjustment period won't be long.
"It's just a new country, it's a new league," Goncalves told The Bent Musket on Thursday. "He needs adjustment time. I don't think it's going to be an issue for him. We have a good group, so it's going to go pretty well for him."
One issue that Sambinha faces revolves around language. The 23-year-old speaks some English, but isn't fluent. Here, Goncalves believes that he could be of some help as he speaks six languages, including Portuguese. That said, Goncalves is quick to note that it isn't necessary for all players on the field to speak the same language.
"Obviously he doesn't speak perfect English, but you don't need to speak perfect English to be able to play soccer," Goncalves said.
With two Desert Diamond Cup games this week, it's possible that Sambinha's preseason debut could come soon. The team will look at Sambinha's comfort level before making a final decision as they don't want to be too hasty with their new acquisition.
"Sambinha is coming from a longer trip, longer flight," head coach Jay Heaps told RevolutionSoccer.net. "Unfortunately, the last couple weeks, in terms of getting the visa process to get the working permit took a little bit longer than we thought. Unfortunately, I think he's a little bit behind but we got to be sure we move him along at the right speed."
The Revs are scheduled to play Real Salt Lake on Wednesday at 10:30 PM EST before facing Sporting KC on Saturday at 9:30 PM EST.