This is Part 13 in a series of articles on the players that make up the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy.
Scenario time: You are at a pub with a bunch of fans who eat, drink, and breathe the game of soccer.
You ask this question to your pub mates: "Name the player who scored the 700th goal in Los Angeles Galaxy history during MLS Regular Season play."
You hear the predictable choices. Landon Donovan. Edson Buddle. One goes out on a limb by saying that it's none other than the great David Beckham.
Wrong. Every single one of them. You trigger looks of disbelief (and drinks on the house at their expense) by saying that Alex Cazumba scored goal #700 against the Houston Dynamo on June 5, 2010.
Scenario time ends.
Alex Cazumba is one of the young faces from Brazil making an impact as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy, along with Juninho and Leonardo. On loan from Sao Paulo FC, the 21-year old striker shows that his potential knows no boundaries, all Alex asks is a chance to make it happen.
Alex dos Santos Cazumba was born on June 30, 1988 in Amélia Rodrigues, Brazil. Founded on October 20, 1961, Amélia Rodrigues is a small municipality of 24,491 in the state of Bahia. It's part of the Salvador metropolitan area, the wealthiest part of Brazil's northeast region.
Over 80% of the population of metropolitan region of Salvador has Black African ancestry. The African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture.
This results in a interesting, yet unfortunate juxtaposition: African-associated cultural practices are celebrated, but Black Bahians, due to their low income, are disenfranchised from the privileges of the city.
For Alex Cazumba, there was one way to break through the disenfranchisement, and that was through the game of football.
At the age of 17, Alex Cazumba moved to Sao Paulo from Mirassol FC, where he began his footballing career with Sao Paulo FC. He spent two years playing with the youth side before joining the first team.
During his time with the first team, he helped lead Sao Paulo to the 2007 Dallas Cup Championship while giving the Tricolor Paulista a second place finish in Brazil's Under-20 league.
Managing just five appearances, Cazumba was sent on loan to a number of clubs. In 2007, he was loaned out to Rio Claro and Juventude, and started eight matches for the Parrots. In 2008, he appeared five times on loan for Figueirense. And in 2009, he was loaned to Toledo and Vila Nova.
Yet Cazumba was unable to produce and was unsatisfied with his work. So, it was time for a new challenge: Major League Soccer.
After all, pawning the soon to be #88 from Amélia Rodrigues to clubs lingering in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie B was not going help develop his skills. Why not bring him to the States, and to the Los Angeles Galaxy?
It was a wise decision by Sao Paulo. Cazumba made his debut for the Galaxy on March 27, 2010 against the New England Revolution. As Cazumba got more playing time, his confidence grew and skill level increased. The question that Los Angeles soccer fans had on their minds was not whether Alex Cazumba would score...but when.
That moment came in June 2010.
In a match against the Houston Dynamo, and with the game's outcome no longer in doubt, a Michael Stephens delivery from the right found a streaking a Cazumba on the left. And after that, Cazumba had enough time and angle to deliver a precision past a clearly disgusted Pat Onstad and two other Houston defenders to make it 4-1 Los Angeles.
The goal was the 700th in the history of the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS regular season competition. It makes you wonder who will get goal number 800.
After all, Cazumba wears the number 88 on his jersey. It can be seen as a reference to the year he was born. Can it also be interpreted as another reference to something bigger?
Feel free to make up your own conclusions...and the possibilities...and the potential that Alex Cazumba can bring to the Los Angeles Galaxy.