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?
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?
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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?
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.
One year ago today, the LA Galaxy lifted their fourth MLS Cup trophy with a come from behind 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on a rainy afternoon at The Home Depot Center.
Like LA's title winning performance in 2011, the match was a rain soaked one as a December shower descended upon Carson just before kick off and like the year before, I was stationed high above the field on the roof at The Home Depot Center. The match was the finest performance of the year for Omar Gonzalez, who had endured a difficult year recovering from knee surgery only to put in a dominating performance en route to winning the 2012 MLS Cup MVP award, due to his game-tying goal in the 60th minute that kick started a Galaxy rally.
However, there was also a sense of finality about the Galaxy's accomplishment as the match served as the final game in a Galaxy uniform for David Beckham ending his six-year tenure with the club. When Beckham exited the field just moments before full time, he was given a rousing cheer from the capacity crowd at StubHub Center. Beckham wasn't the only established player that moved on after that match as winger Christian Wilhemsson and goalkeeper Josh Saunders each parted ways with the club after the game.
Earlier on Sunday, I asked Galaxy fans for their memories of that match and had to give a special mention to Raul Pena and his wife Vanessa, who went to attended the match having just completed their wedding ceremony.
— Raul Peña (@rpena03) April 20, 2013
Check out a series of highlights for the game and celebration videos below.
Omar Gonzalez's goal from all angles
David Beckham leaves the field for the final time
Locker room Celebration
David Beckham drinks from MLS Cup
The complete LA Galaxy MLS Cup Celebration
The LA Galaxy are going full speed ahead with their plans for a USL team in 2014.
During his interview on Joe Tutino’s LA Galaxy All-Access Podcast, Arena stated that the club is “anticipating” having a USL squad in the coming season that will help them develop existing rostered players, but also add further pieces in the Galaxy Academy.
“We’re going ahead full speed. We anticipate having a USL team. That will serve our academy players who were moving up to the major league roster. It will serve our players who are not playing on a regular basis for the first team as well,” Arena told Tutino. “We’re going to have obviously other players involved in the [USL] roster. Between the first team, which is now 30 to 29 players in MLS, and [the USL] roster we’ll likely have another 15 players who are involved in the USL and complemented by our roster. We should have 45 players here on a daily basis, two teams and a number of opportunities to give players game experience and to continue to move forward.
“We’re hopeful that we can discover a couple of players through the USL team but also develop our academy players that need playing time,” Arena continued. “You’re going to see players like Oscar Sorto, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, perhaps, Jose Villarreal; all those young players that if they’re not playing on a regular basis with us, they will be playing with the USL team.”
In addition to the USL team and a myriad of other topics, Arena addressed the topic of LA Galaxy players going on offseason loans stating that “our players aren't going anywhere” noting that Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are expected to join U.S. National Team’s annual January camp. The Galaxy manager also stated that Robbie Keane should be back in comission after four to six weeks following his "procedure" earlier in the week.
Thoughts on the interview?
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CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez as one of the MLS-based U.S. National Team players unlikely to head on an offseason loan this winter.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has stated that he’d like his MLS-based players to head on loan this January as the nation prepares for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but while Gonzalez admitted that he is “pretty much open to anything” at the moment, he is expecting to take a breather for the next few weeks before he begins preparation for the U.S.’ annual January camp.
“I'm still dealing with a little pain from my groin,” Gonzalez admitted during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “I just recently got done with the [U.S. national team's final 2013] games, and so right now I'm just relaxing, trying to let this groin heal up, and when it gets closer to January, got to start getting fit and whether I'm here in California with the national team for January camp or something else comes along, we'll figure that out. But as of right now, I'm just planning on the January camp.”
The groin injury that Gonzalez mentioned has plagued him since the 2012 MLS Cup and flared up at times during the Galaxy’s 2013 campaign. Gonzalez has experience with offseason loans after going on loan in January 2012 with German Bundesliga club FC Nurnberg where he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his first training session with the team.
That experience did not sour Gonzalez to the prospect of an offseason loan, but for now, he’s simply waiting to see what types of offers emerge.
“Once it gets closer to January, once these club teams start actually asking about certain players, and whether or not these opportunities are real,” said Gonzalez. “As of right now, my plan is just to go to January camp. At the end of the day, it's also the Galaxy and the league's decision whether they want me to go, as well.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy announced their annual team awards on Tuesday with Robbie Keane taking home team MVP honors.
Keane enjoyed an MLS MVP-type season with 16 goals and 11 assists in 23 games played earning the team MVP and team Golden Boot. Meanwhile, Omar Gonzalez earned the club defender of the year award after a strong season that saw him finish fourth for the league honor.
Galaxy defender Sean Franklin won the club’s Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with the community.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez finished third in MLS Defender of the Year voting as New England Revolution defender Jose Goncalves took home the award.
Gonzalez earned 18.37 percent of the club vote, 7.79 percent of the media vote and 15.07 percent of the player vote for a weighted total of 41.23. Coming in second was Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler with New York Red Bulls center back Jamison Olave coming in fourth.
The award for the league's top defender wasn't the only awards issued on Tuesday as Hilario Grajeda was voted Referee of the Year and Kermit Quisenberry was voted the Assistant Referee of the Year.