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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Friday, August 2, 2013

Meet the new Brazilian: What we know about Gilberto (with Video)

Another day, another Brazilian. That seems to be the m.o. for John Hackworth's era of the Philadelphia Union. The latest acquisition dancing to the Samba beat is Gilberto dos Santos Souza Junior.

Let's sum up what we know. He's Brazilian. At soon-to-be-25, he's not exactly young, not quite old. He's an interesting physical specimen at 6-2, 180. He's a holding midfielder. He last played for Clube Atletica Sorocaba in the Campeonato Paulista. That's the top flight not in Brazil, but in the state of Sao Paolo, though it does includes games against giant clubs like Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and Sao Paolo. 

We also know that he's not this Gilberto (Silva, formerly of Arsenal). Or this one, though they may have played together at America Mineiro. Or this one. Or this one, though someone earlier today erroneously updated the current club to the Union. (And why were so many babies born in 1976 named Gilberto?)

We know he played 16 games and scored one goal this year for Sorocaba, per the Union release. Per this source, it's the only goal he's scored in 63 league matches in his career spread across a variety of competitions, from six matches in Serie A with Mineiro in 2011 to a stint in Serie D the previous season. So let's use a couple of videos (at bottom of post).

Here's what else is known. Gilberto was deemed important enough to occupy an international roster spot. By my reckoning -- and reinforced by the team sheet the Union distributed against Stoke City Tuesday with a column listing "status" -- Gilberto is the sixth international player on the team. The others: Fellow Brazilians Fabinho and Kleberson, Keon Daniel, Roger Torres and Oka Nikolov. Of the group, four have been acquired by Hackworth in 14 months. Four are midfielders.

You can debate what the ramifications of the Gilberto signing are. Whether or not he plays a role this season remains to be seen. It should be noted that both of his countrymen had international experience before coming to the Union this season, surely helping them integrate into the side faster. The midfield is crowded as it is, so a move to clear space could be coming (and I think of the above list, the target to be moved on is pretty obvious and logical).

Could he be viewed as a possible long-term replacement for Brian Carroll? Maybe. But for the time being, adding another midfielder for a team already scrambling to shoehorn three forwards onto the field on a regular basis doesn't seem to be one the club envisions as having an immediate impact.

Also this video from Vimeo that can't be embedded here

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