The lovable Mexican superstar is doing it. He’s really doing it, and it’s taken him just about no time to adjust to his new role in the MLS. Not only has a rotating Galaxy attack in CONCACAF Champions League action given him the opportunity to strut his stuff on the pitch, it’s shown that he’s also capable of uniting people from all walks of life at the StubHub Center week in and week out.
On the pitch, Gio has put his attacking prowess on display with stunning assists like the one shown above, which happened during the Galaxy’s 5-0 blowout over Comunicaciones last night. A crisp cross into the box in the early going curled in front of the goal just in time for Mika Väyrynen to catch it with his left foot and rocket a volley into the back of the net. Gio doubled his efforts with a second assist in the 84th minute, this time creating for Robbie Keane.
“His passing was good, his running off the ball was good. He had a very good night. I thought the effort he put in was tremendous,” Bruce Arena said to the Los Angeles Times after the match.
The new star’s presence is felt off the pitch and in the stands as well, where soccer is once again proving to be a force of social cohesion and a vehicle through which people from disparate backgrounds can be brought together to share a love of the beautiful game.
Andrés Martinez, Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University, observed that recent crowds at the StubHub Center were “truly diverse and united behind the same team, wearing the same jersey – identifying with each other.”
He went on to state that “in a Balkanized metropolis like Los Angeles, where so much of daily life revolves around people sorting themselves into similarly situated siloes, this is no small feat. But it is a familiar role for a sports franchise, and in this sense the Galaxy is doing for a younger generation and for many Latino immigrants what the Dodgers and Lakers have done in the past, transcending segregated cultures to forge a shared civic identity.”
The union of Gio and Steven Gerrard shows the franchise’s ability to blend various fan constituencies into one big Galaxy family with an authentic sense of communal identity. Even though Stevie G is the bigger legend at the moment, there seems like no better place for Gio to call home and eventually secure idol status.