LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez took part in a brief conference call with Los Angeles based reporters ahead of Tuesday's World Cup round of 16 match between the U.S. and Belgium.
During the call, Gonzalez was asked about a myriad of topics including defending the Belgian attack, whether or not he'd start the match and the U.S.' attacking plans.
Check it out below.
(On what Belgium offers as an opponent…)
GONZALEZ: “Well I think that what we’ve talked about as a team is that they aren’t much different than what we’ve seen so far. They pretty much field sort of the same lineup that we’ve seen and it’s going to be no surprise tomorrow. We know that they have very talented players, but they are definitely not more talented than what we faced already and the talent that we’ve seen in Germany and also going up against the likes of Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo. We know that it is going to be a tough challenge. Belgium is a young talented team and I think we are ready. I think we’ve prepared well and it’s going to be a fun game tomorrow.”
(On Belgium’s talented attackers and their movement up top as a challenge…)
GONZALEZ: “Their movement is very good up top and it’s going to be very challenging for us but as long as we can keep them in front of us and give support to our wide guys when they have [Eden] Hazard or [Dries] Mertens coming at them. Just provide support so that we don’t get a lot of one versus one out wide, and if they do get a one versus one out wide, we need to be sure to follow runners inside the box because they have some big guys who can definitely get to the ball.”
(On his confident performance against Germany and on how he can have a confident performance against Belgium…)
GONZALEZ: “I am feeling good. [My] Body has recovered well and I am looking forward to getting on the field tomorrow and putting on a solid performance. What I can do is do is basically what I did last game… be mobile, provide cover for my other defenders, I think we want to be a bit more aggressive. I think that we were too late to getting to the German guys the last game and we want to make sure to not let them have too much possession. If they do have possession then [we want to make it] not make it easy for them. That’s something that I want to help [shore] up and I can do that [through] a lot of communication and getting down in the right position so that they are able to get to the ball further.”
(On if he feels he locked down his starting spot for the Belgium game…)
GONZALEZ: “I can’t speak too much about locking down any kind of spots right now. Right now my mind is just about the team here and so I’m not looking for any personal gain here. If my name gets called upon again then I’m going to work just as hard as anyone else on that field. Tomorrow it’s going to take another great team effort and I’m hoping that I believe our team is very strong. We put together good team performances so that’s where I am at right now and I’m going to fight for the guy next to me.”
(On the support the team is receiving in the United States…)
GONZALEZ: “I have a pretty good idea just by following social media, you hear about the watch parties and you see the pictures and videos and you see the amount of fans that are going. It makes me really happy to see the fans back home rallying up behind us and it’s definitely not any more added pressure, I think it makes us want to work harder [because] we want to give them a great performance. I think as long as we put forth everything we’ve got, everyone can be happy about that but hopefully we can give them a win.”
(On criticism coming his way and feelings turning around after his performance against Germany…)
GONZALEZ: “I’m not really worried about what people say out there. It’s pretty telling how quickly people can go from talking crap, or criticizing and then all of the sudden being in your corner if you have a good performance. My worry isn’t what people are thinking, what I am staying focused on is my team, the 23 guys that are here, and my coaches and all I have to worry about is what they think. As long as they feel that I am doing a great job, then I’m happy. One thing that I want to do is stay consistent. I’m coming off a good performance against Germany and now I want to have another good performance against Belgium.”
(On whether he was surprised to get the call to start against Germany…)
GONZALEZ: “I think that I was definitely surprised about getting the start. Jurgen [Klinsmann] wasn’t making too many changes in the lead up matches and then we had two pretty good performances against Ghana and Portugal so my mind set the whole time was if my name gets called then I’ll be ready. I definitely prepared and worked hard like the rest of the guys during the preparation camp and also leading up to the first couple of games. I wasn’t worried too much about what are the coaches thinking, or [wondering] am I going to get called now, am I going to get called before the first game? I was patient, I worked hard and I am happy that my name got called and I just basically went out there and do what I do.”
(On his goals for the tournament and whether he had any going in…)
GONZALEZ: “I think earlier on in the year I had more of a goal that I want to be starting every single game, but with my injury that happened leading up to the camp, there was even a question me not making the 23 man roster. Right before the World Cup happened all those goals went out the window and I just wanted to get myself ready for whatever happened. I worked hard to make the 23 man roster and then after that I worked hard to be whatever asset I can to this team.”
(On the importance of capitalizing on set pieces…)
GONZALEZ: “We think our set pieces are very important and we just need to be able to be more lethal when we have those opportunities. We are ready. Everyone knows their role. And when we do get set pieces we want to capitalize on those chances, but we don’t want to just count on set pieces. We want to get chances through the run of play, we want to find Clint [Dempsey], we want to get the ball out wide and get numbers in the box and capitalize on chances within the run of play and, of course, once we do get some corner kicks, some free kicks, we are going to do everything we can to score on those chances because we know that in these tight games that we’ve seen so far a lot of good chances come off of set pieces.”
Fan created videos are one of the best parts of the World Cup and the latest video may be the best one yet.
Entitled "Flip the script," the video by Tyler Wirfs will get you in the right frame of mind before Tuesday's all-important game.
Make sure to join the LA Galaxy at the official USA vs. Belgium viewing party in Redondo Beach.
LA Galaxy center back Tommy Meyer was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 16 of the MLS season.
Meyer was steady in central defense as the LA Galaxy defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0. Following the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena stated that Meyer enjoyed the strongest game of his career as he helped silence the San Jose attack led by cagey striker Steven Lenhart.
The rest of the team is below.
The United States face a stiff test in the World Cup round of 16 match against Belgium, but LA Galaxy striker Landon Donovan believes that they're up for the task.
Speaking to reporters after the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium, Donovan spoke about the USMNT's chances ahead of Tuesday's match in Salvador.
"I think that it's going to be a good game and a difficult game," Donovan told reporters. "Belgium are a little inexperienced at this level, but a good team. If Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany can't play then it'll help us greatly. Let's hope that they win."
Donovan's supportive comments came just a day before an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke was released where he admitted that after being left off the World Cup roster, he rooted internally against the USMNT.
"I'll be completely honest, watching them play Azerbaijan, inside, part of me was thinking, I hope the game doesn't go very well today. In my heart of hearts, I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn't perform well, that would feel good," Donovan told the L.A. Times. "Then the next day I woke up and said to myself, that's a really crappy way to feel. That's a bad way to live your life, it doesn't help me, it doesn't help the team, it doesn't help the energy that the team needs."
Will the U.S. get past Belgium? Thoughts on Donovan's comments?
Share your thoughts below.
STANFORD, Calif. -- Tommy Meyer's fledging career has been one of peaks and valleys, but on Saturday night, the young center back enjoyed one of his finest games in an LA Galaxy uniform.
Teamed up alongside Kofi Opare, the Galaxy were able to shut down a cagey San Jose Earthquakes attack in LA's 1-0 victory. Throughout the match, Meyer’s positioning was steady as he managed 16 clearances compared to 14 for his partner in central defense. While San Jose’s feisty forward Steven Lenhart caused some problems for the pair throughout the match, Meyer and the LA defense prevented the danger.
“We talked before the game about having each other’s back. With Lenhart, he flicks the ball on and gets in dangerous positions, so we had to make sure he was marked up. Even going forward, we were able to keep the ball, which kept a lot of pressure off of us in the back.”
Arena gave Meyer his highest praise after the victory stating that the third year center back enjoyed the "best game of his career."
With Omar Gonzalez still away on international duty with the U.S. National Team, Meyer is likely to see more action on Friday when the Galaxy take on the Portland Timbers. Ahead of the Timbers match, the normally reserved Meyer admits that his confidence is high at the moment.
"I've been getting better each match," said Meyer. "We wanted to finally get a shut out and we did that. Now we have to build upon it."
STANFORD, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media after his team's 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
(On the team finally rewarding their good performances with goals...)
ARENA: "We did that tonight. It wasn't an easy game. Obviously, it was a great atmosphere for the Earthquakes and for the league. Our guys did well, our young center backs did well defensively, and I think that overall, this was our best effort defensively as a team. This is a game that we deserved to win and we've been certainly pushing our group to perform like this. Great win."
(On the team's ability to bounce back from the Carolina RailHawks loss...)
ARENA: "The game in Carolina, I'm not sure it was a soccer game, whatever the heck that was. We have to accept the responsbility for the result."
(On Tommy Meyer and Kofi Opare...)
ARENA: "They have enough experience and they're primed to play...Tommy was outstanding, the best game of his career."
(On the midfield play...)
ARENA: "Good balance. I thought that Landon did a good job and I think the whole group. This is a night that we've been waiting for where you look around and call it a complete team effort. That's what I'm most pleased about.... We're going to have a tough game on Friday and hopefully, we'll be able to get the guys ready. It's been a tough couple of weeks with all the travel involved. Hopefully, we get them ready for next Friday."
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will return to a stadium that has been a house of horrors for them in recent years on Saturday when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium.
At Stanford, the Galaxy have slumped to a 0-2-0 record despite playing the Earthquakes to a pair of highly-entertaining results that saw San Jose win 4-3 in 2012 and 3-2 in 2013. In both instances, the Galaxy earned a two goal lead only to surrender it late and see the crowd at The Farm erupt into bedlam as the Earthquakes emerged victorious.
“It’s a hostile environment where the fans are right on top of you. The field is small and when you have 40,000 fans rooting for the other team, it’s always difficult,” DeLaGarza said of the matches at Stanford. “Those are the games that you get up for though and those are the crowds that you want to play in front of than other stadiums in this league. It’s exciting and always fun when you get to play at such a unique situation.”
With the Galaxy coming off a disappointing 1-0 Extra Time defeat to the Carolina RailHawks that saw them bounced from the U.S. Open Cup, DeLaGarza believes that the time is now for LA to get a victory down on the Farm.
“We’ve been up several times and they’ve come back and beat us,” said DeLaGarza. “We need to be strong and really dig deep.”
The LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes renew their hostilities on Saturday at Stanford Stadium as the MLS returns to full swing.
In the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com's By the Numbers, we look at the team's match against San Jose.
Check it out below.
Count Robbie Keane among those LA Galaxy players who have work to do in order to return to full fitness ahead of the return to MLS competition.
In addition to fellow Designated Player Landon Donovan, Keane is among the Galaxy’s walking wounded heading into their game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
“I think that I did okay playing 120 minutes [against Carolina] just four days after getting back from [Ireland],” said Keane after LA's extra time U.S. Open Cup loss to the Carolina RailHawks earlier this week. “It’s not ideal to play 120 minutes, but it is what it is, but you deal with what happens and you get on with it.
Following training on Thursday, LA head coach Bruce Arena asserted that Keane—and Donovan—are dealing with knocks ahead of the California Clasico match.
"They've been behind our group for a long time, in terms of that," Arena said. "They've got a little catching up to do."
Omar Gonzalez shined as the United States advanced to the round of 16 with a 1-0 defeat to Germany and now the defender is hoping to leave an even greater imprint on the team’s tournament hopes.
Against Germany, Gonzalez enjoyed one of his strongest performances with the U.S. as his positioning and aerial ability helped silence the agile German attack for wide stretches of the game. While Gonzalez was leading the U.S. to qualification, his family was in a far different locale, stranded due to the rain watching his performance on a small phone.
“[Omar’s wife Erica] told me that [his family] were all huddled around some phones streaming the game,” Gonzalez told reporters in Recife. “And so it was a pretty cool experience for them even they though weren’t here. They were all watching and biting their nails in front of this little phone.”
The true measure of Gonzalez’s impact will be measured on Tuesday when Gonzalez may return to the U.S. lineup in the Round of 16 match against Belgium.
Whether or not he gets the start against the Red Devils, however, Gonzalez is pleased with his first showing on the world’s biggest stage.
“My first 90 minutes in a World Cup, there was a lot of emotions there, there were a lot of things going through my head,” said Gonzalez. “But I just wanted to take it one play at a time and just move on from there and if I did mess up, focus on the next play. I was just focused on doing my job and helping this team.”
Should Gonzalez start? Vote in the poll below.