Omar Gonzalez had a successful 2013 at the club and international level, but 2014 could be something even more substantial.
I look back at Gonzalez’s 2013 season in my latest LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review piece. Gonzalez was undoubtedly successful as he earned the club’s Defender of the Year award, was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year and an MLS Best XI selection while also locking down a regular place on the U.S. National Team.
The Galaxy center back is expected to contend for a roster spot –and a place in the starting XI—on the U.S. National Team’s roster at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and while Gonzalez is staying “even keeled” ahead of a big year, he’s hopeful that he’ll be on the plane to South America.
“There’s no really Cinderella story so I feel like every team in the World Cup is a great team and deserves to be there. Whoever we’re matched up against is going to be a tough group,” Gonzalez told reporters in a conference call a week ago. “I've never been to a World Cup, but I’m sure that I’ll be getting at Robbie to ask him questions about how it is. It’s going to be a fun year and hopefully, I can keep my form, stay healthy, and hopefully I’ll be there.”
Will Gonzalez be at the World Cup in 2014?
Omar Gonzalez appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter on Wednesday morning to promote the U.S. National Team, the World Cup, the new adidas match ball brazuca and the LA Galaxy.
Video of Omar Gonzalez's appearance on SportsCenter is below.
Tuesday Notes: Club Tijuana appoint new manager; Donovan finishes third for Futbol de Primera 2013 Player of the Year
The LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal opponents Club Tijuana will have a new coach when they take on LA in the CCL in March.
Club Tijuana appointed Venezuelan Cesar Farias to replace Jorge Almiron who led the Xolos to a 10th place finish in the 2013 Apertura season. Farias led Venezuela to the Copa America semifinals in 2011 after helping the nation reach the Under-20 World Cup in 2009. Farias will begin his career with Club Tijuana on Dec. 28 with a friendly against Club America at StubHub Center.
In other news around the soccer world:
*LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan finished in third for the Futbol de Primera Player of the Year Award which was given to U.S. teammate Jozy Altidore. Michael Bradley – who was my selection for the award – finished second.
*Altidore was on hand as adidas unveiled the 2014 FIFA World Cup match ball the Brazuca. Check out the ball below and in case you're wondering, brazuca is a Brazilian term to describe the nation's way of life.
— Michael Ehrlich (@adidasUSPRGuy) December 3, 2013
During MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s State of the League address on Tuesday, former LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham’s interest in installing an MLS expansion team in Miami was undoubtedly a hot button topic.
Beckham’s connection to Miami has been reported since he retired from soccer earlier this year, but talk has been heating up as of late. While Miami was mentioned along with Atlanta, Minneapolis and San Antonio as possible MLS expansion locations, Garber admitted that it was far from finished.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen … We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That’s an indisputable fact. We can’t have different rules in Miami that we have in any other city,” Garber said during the event. “We want to do as much as we can to work with David and [his business manager] Simon Fuller to get something done as quickly as we can.”
Garber continued: “We are very excited about the opportunity of having David put together an ownership group and finalizing a stadium site in downtown Miami so that we can end up having what we hope will be our 22nd team in a city that is one of the largest in the country and has a very strong, passionate fan base but there is a lot of word that needs to happen," Garber said. "Part of that is continuing the discussions that the ownership group has been having with the city and the [Port of Miami] site and potentially other sites."
Although reports have stated that Beckham is looking to get a deal done by years end, based on Garber’s comments, any announcement seems to be a work in progress at the moment.
So I leave the question to you…will David Beckham get an MLS team in Miami?
Share your thoughts below.
In honor of Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez's Best XI selections on Tuesday, LAGalaxy.com has created this video highlight reel of their 2013 seasons.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez were named to the 2013 MLS Best XI after a pair of banner seasons.
Keane, a finalist for 2013 MLS MVP and a Best XI selection a year ago, led the Galaxy offense in 2013 with 16 goals and 11 assists in 23 appearances. Gonzalez, who was a finalist for the 2013 MLS Defender of the Year, was LA’s defensive fulcrum with one goal and two assists in 27 games played.
The Best XI includes ex-Galaxy players Donovan Ricketts and Mike Magee while the Portland Timbers led all teams with three players included on the squad.
2013 MLS Best XI: Ricketts (Portland Timbers); Besler (Sporting KC), Goncalves (New England Revolution), Gonzalez (LA Galaxy); Cahill (New York Red Bulls); Johnson (Portland), Valeri (Portland), Zusi (Sporting KC); Di Vaio (Montreal Impact), Keane (LA Galaxy), Magee (Chicago Fire)
Thank you @MLS , my fellow players and the media for voting me MLS Best XI. I'm truly honored.
— Omar Gonzalez (@Omar4Gonzalez) December 3, 2013
— OptaJack (@OptaJack) December 3, 2013
Thoughts on the selections?
Share them below.
The LA Galaxy Academy Under-17/18 team continued their winning ways on Sunday with an impressive 3-0 victory over Nomads SC (La Jolla, Calif.) to extend their record to an impressive 6-1-2 mark after nine matches.
Forward Adonis Amaya tallied twice in victory with Bradford Jameison rounding out the scoring in LA’s victory. Amaya’s two goals brought his season total to 10 which moved him to the top of the U-17/18 Development Academy scoring charts.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy U-16 side is also enjoying plenty of success as they are 6-0-4 this season. The U-16’s played Nomads SC to a 1-1 draw last weekend with a goal from Dmitriy Zhuravlev. The U-16’s and the U-18’s will return to action in December when they travel to Florida for the Development Academy Showcase.
LA’s U-13/14 team are duplicating the success of their older groups with a 9-2-1 record including a 2-0 victory over Nomads SC last weekend off two goals from Jesus Nunez. The Galaxy Academy’s youngest Development Academy side concludes their 2013 slate this weekend when they face off against Albion SC on Dec. 7 and Los Angeles Futbol Academy on Dec. 8.
FIFA announced the 2014 World Cup pots on Tuesday, and the U.S. National Team will be guaranteed some stiff competition during next year’s tournament in Brazil.
The U.S. was placed in Pot 3 with the other CONCACAF nations and four squads from the Asian Football Confederation. As expected, European heavyweights Germany and Spain were placed in Group A alongside host Brazil and Argentina. Group 2 boasts five African representatives as well as Chile and Ecuador while Group 4 includes England, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Portugal among others.
The 2014 World Cup pots are below:
POT 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
POT 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria
POT 3: USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Korea Republic, Japan, Australia, Iran
POT 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia
Thoughts on the World Cup pots?
MLS will crown its champion this weekend while the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament field will be dwindled to four.
Just eight remain in the tournament after a wild weekend that saw No. 1 ranked UCLA defeated by Connecticut in a thrilling penalty kick shoot out. LA Galaxy Academy products Grady Howe and Nathan Smith went all 110 minutes in the Bruins' surprising defeat. Connecticut will face Virginia with a berth in the College Cup on the line. Meanwhile UC Irvine, who boast Galaxy Academy defender Matt Tilley on their roster, fell 1-0 to Maryland.
Two Galaxy players will see their alma maters face off as the Hector Jimenez's California Golden Bears face off against the Maryland Terrapins -- who produced Galaxy players A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Rogers -- on Dec. 7 at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley.
The remaining matches will see Notre Dame face Michigan State and New Mexico taking on Washington.
The U.S. National Team is returning to Southern California.
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that the U.S. will face Korea Republic on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center concluding their annual winter training camp. The match will be the first game for the U.S. in a busy 2014 that will see them -- and Korea Republic -- complete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“As a team that has qualified for Brazil, the Korea Republic will be another great benchmark for us,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. “They bring a different style of play than we have seen in the last two years, and that gives us a chance to grow. With only two or three games left before May, this will be an important opportunity for the players who will be finishing off the January camp. The message will be the same one we start with every time we get together: we are here to win.”
Both LA Galaxy stalwarts Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are likely to be called up for the January training camp. According to Steve Davis at ProSoccerTalk, the U.S. will open up training camp on Jan. 6 at StubHub Center before departing for Brazil on Jan. 12 where they will train in Sao Paulo at their base for the World Cup until Jan. 25 before returning to Southern California.
The match will be first game between the two countries since their 1-1 draw at the 2002 FIFA World Cup when former Galaxy attacker Clint Mathis scored a stunning goal in the tie.
Check it out below.