GLENDALE, Ariz. – It was a tale of two halves for U.S. National Team defender Omar Gonzalez.
In the opening stanza, Gonzalez was sold on both sides of the ball as he helped in the build-up of the Americans opening goal while also repeatedly snuffing out scoring attempts by a Mexican attack that was toothless early. But in the second half, Gonzalez found himself the victim of a Mexico screen play that allowed Rafael Marquez to score Mexico’s first goal before he and Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran were caught out of position on Alan Pulido’s goal.
After the match, Gonzalez which the Galaxy defender stated resembled a World Cup game, he admitted that there is still plenty of work to be done as he looks to lock down a starting spot for the USMNT in Brazil.
“These games are all about preparations and building team chemistry and I thought that overall, the team played well,” said Gonzalez. “We just had to get better at set pieces, I got picked on that set piece goal, but it’s something that I’m happy had in a friendly rather than a world cup. I’m definitely working on it.”
And despite declaring the race for the center back role alongside Matt Besler open, Klinsmann stated that he’d stick by Gonzalez and allow him to state his case for starting in Brazil.
“It’s normal that they struggle right now because they barely start their season. They have two to three games in their season, so Mexico is far ahead of us in terms of rhythm and stuff like that,” said Klinsmann.” We are patient in the process. Obviously, in two months from now, I will make the decisions who is going to be the ideal pairing and the two center backs.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Tendonitis in Landon Donovan’s knee led the LA Galaxy star to be a shock omission from the U.S. National Team starting lineup for their 2-2 draw against Mexico.
What Donovan jokingly described as “old man issues,” helped lead to contribute to a poor training session by the Galaxy midfielder according to head coach Jurgen Klinsmann leading the U.S. boss to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the start of the match.
“He had no tempo in his training sessions, he had no kind of higher pace, higher rhythm, he didn’t take people on, so I sat him down [Wednesday] morning and we actually went through his training session yesterday,” said Klinsmann. “I told him based on what I saw the last three days, ‘I can’t leave [Chris Wondolowski] out there because Wondo deserves after two goals against South Korea. He’s working so hard.’
“[Donovan] understood it.” Klinsmann added, ‘[He said,] Yeah, I didn’t have good training sessions and I have a little bit of issues with my knee,’ and I told him, ‘You’re ready coming off the bench.’ He was ready; he came off the bench, so no problem at all.”
Once he came on in the 59th minute, Donovan did not look out of sorts as he made several dangerous runs up field as he attempted to kick start the U.S. offense amid a dominating second half showing by El Tri.
“I felt good tonight. It was nice to get some minutes on the field, obviously, I wanted to start the game, but circumstances didn’t allow that,” said Donovan. “It was fun to be a part of this game and another great game between these two teams.
“When I’m healthy and I train, I train well. This week, I had some tendinitis and I couldn’t play the way that I want to,” he said. “It was good to back off a little bit and still get some minutes tonight.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The jury is still out on U.S. National Team German-American wunderkind Julian Green.
The Bayern Munich youth product played for a little over half an hour in the USMNT’s 2-2 draw with Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The highlight of Green’s shift came in the waning moments of the second half when he appeared to earn a penalty kick after deftly bypassing two Mexico defenders, but referee Roberto Moreno waved play-on.
Although Green could not help the U.S. earn a victory against their CONCACAF archrival, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was pleased with his showing.
“I think you saw in some moments how he goes into the box and draws two guys and should have drawn a penalty,” said Klinsmann. “Obviously, he was nervous too, and he plays his first cap in front of 60,000 against Mexico. Here and there maybe you slip and lose your balance like it happened to him once there. But the team welcomed him with open arms. When you’re among other players you check each other out, and you understand within 10 minutes if it’s a good player or not. Julian is a very good player.”
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dos a cero.
Chris Wondolowski put the United States up 2-0 with his clinical finish off a Tony Beltran cross.
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Michael Bradley put the U.S. National Team ahead 1-0 off an impressive volley off a Graham Zusi corner kick. The play was set up by an Omar Gonzalez header that led to the subsquent corner.
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The matches between the United States and Mexico does not need attention, but Wednesday's match will get significant publicity as it may be the U.S. debut of Bayern Munich wunderkind Julian Green.
The addition of Green -- a former hockey star -- to the USMNT fold has been a hot button issue in the American soccer circles prompting considerable hype of a player that SB Nation's Ryan Rosenblatt labels "the best prospect that the USA has ever had." Prior to the match, Green did not speak to the media, but U.S. captain Clint Dempsey and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann each said that he has acclimated well to the team ahead of the Mexico match.
Ahead of the Mexico match, Green spoke to the federation's website about switching to the United States.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The most heated rivalry in CONCACAF will take place on Wednesday at the University of Phoenix Stadium when the United States takes on Mexico.
Ahead of the match, Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan spoke about the importance not of getting a result against El Tri, but performing well ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I also filed this video match preview with interviews of Jurgen Klinsmann, Omar Gonzalez and Donovan.
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LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez was profiled by USA Today as a representative of "New America" ahead of the U.S. match against Mexico on Wednesday.