On Monday, LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez will develop a lasting memory of his very first World Cup match when the U.S. takes on Ghana in their Group G opener.
But what about Gonzalez's first World Cup memory?
That goes back to the 1994 FIFA World Cup when Gonzalez was just a child living outside of Dallas.
"My first World Cup memory as a kid was at the Cotton Bowl, I got a chance to go to a few games as a volunteer," Gonzalez recently told LAGalaxy.com. "When I was there, my mom tells me that I used to mimic Bebeto's celebration."
Think Gonzalez will mimic that celebration if he scores?
A day ago, U.S. Soccer released 23 fascinating profile videos of each of the members of the 23-man U.S. National Team squad that will be competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez's is perhaps one of the most interesting as he describes his love of cooking, the interesting way that he met his wife Erica and how he started his youth career in Dallas.
Check it out below.
Omar Gonzalez serves as late substitute as U.S. defeat Nigeria 2-1 in final World Cup Send-Off match
The United States attack came alive in a major way on Saturday thanks to a brace from Jozy Altidore as the Americans earned a 2-1 victory over Nigeria helping the U.S. compile a perfect 3-0-0 record in their "Send-Off Series."
Altidore scored in both halves with a tap-in to put the Americans ahead in the 32nd minute before tallying a confident strike in the 68th minute to seal the victory. The goals ended a six-month scoring drought for Altidore who had last scored for his club side Sunderland back in December 2013.
Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez checked in for Altidore in the 80th minute and just moments after he checked in, Nigerian striker Victor Moses was awarded a penalty after a defensive breakdown forced American center back Matt Besler to bring down the forward in the penalty area. Moses slotted the penalty past American goalkeeper Tim Howard to spark a Nigerian rally, but the U.S. held on for the victory.
The U.S. will head to Brazil in the coming days and play their final World Cup tuneup against Belgium in a closed-door scrimmage on June 12 in Sao Paulo. Klinsmann's group will open Group G play on June 16 against Ghana in Natal. Nigeria are in Group F alongside Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and tournament favorite Argentina. The Super Eagles open the tournament on June 16 against Iran in Curitiba.
Pleased by the result? Upset that Gonzalez did not start for a third straight match for the USMNT?
Share your thoughts below.
Walk around StubHub Center on a game day and you'll see tons of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez jerseys, and it's no surprise that their popularity is translating nationally.
On Wednesday, MLS announced their top 15 best-selling jerseys of 2014 and the LA Galaxy's Designated Player trio were among the most popular. Landon Donovan was the highest ranked Galaxy player at No. 2, Robbie Keane checked in at No. 6 while Omar Gonzalez's kit is the eighth best selling jersey of 2014 so far. Seattle Sounders FC forward and U.S. National Team forward Clint Dempsey topped the MLS best-seller list.
The rankings are based on sales of adidas MLS jerseys on MLSgear.com and MLSGearCanada.com since the outset of the 2014 MLS regular season.
Robbie Keane to miss Chivas USA match to join up with Ireland for matches against Costa Rica and Portugal
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Robbie Keane for their June 8 match against Chivas USA after the forward told reporters on Thursday that he will be reporting for the Republic of Ireland’s friendlies against Costa Rica and Portugal in the United States.
Keane told reporters that he’ll join up with the Irish National Team in Philadelphia ahead of their match against Costa Rica at PPL Park on June 6, following the Galaxy’s match against the Chicago Fire on Sunday at Toyota Park. Ireland will take on the United States’ Group G opponent Portugal on June 10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Although the callup will force Keane to miss the Galaxy’s final game before the international break, the Galaxy captain said that the conversations between club and country went smoothly.
“Really, I should have been gone for four games because international teams have a priority in these situations when it is an international fixture on the schedule,” said Keane. “Ireland and Bruce spoke and they were happy if I played two games for the Galaxy and miss the Chivas game, that way I was missing two for Ireland and playing two for Ireland.
“I’m grateful for both teams and it’s one of those situations where I have to sit back and let the teams discuss it,” he added. “Of course, I want to be in both places and playing for both, but unfortunately, the way that schedule works. At the same time, it’s a good chance for [younger] players in Ireland to get games and experience.”
SAN FRANCISCO— Omar Gonzalez will look to make his case to be one of the two starting center backs for the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Tuesday’s friendly against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park.
Gonzalez has returned to training with the U.S. after suffering a knee injury against the Colorado Rapids in May, and was named to the 23-man squad for Brazil last Thursday. Whether or not he’ll start for the Americans is a point of contention, however, as he’ll face stiff competition from Geoff Cameron and John Anthony Brooks for his spot alongside Matt Besler in the USMNT backline.
As part of the continuing World Cup coverage on LAGalaxy.com, I’ll be covering Tuesday’s friendly from San Francisco and will provide reaction from Gonzalez following the match.
Do you believe that Gonzalez will get on the field against Azerbaijan?
Share your thoughts below.
Omar Gonzalez excited for the chance to develop more chemistry with Matt Besler ahead of 2014 FIFA World Cup
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez admits that the left knee injury suffered two weeks ago left him a bit nervous, but now that he’s on the U.S. National Team’s 30-man preliminary roster, he’s looking to make the most of his opportunities.
Now that Gonzalez is on the U.S. preliminary squad, he’s expected to contend for a starting role which is a spot that he’s held alongside Sporting Kansas City center back Matt Besler for much of World Cup qualifying. With less than a month before the tournament, Gonzalez is excited about the chance to develop even more chemistry with the Sporting center back.
“In the end, it’s going to be up to Jurgen for who he wants paired up in the back, but my experience with Matt Besler is that I really enjoy playing with him. He’s very confident on the ball and is a great defender,” Gonzalez told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday. “We have a great chemistry on the field and this camp is only going to make things better. We’re going to be around one another every day for a month before the first game and we can really work on things to shore up the back line.
“This camp is very crucial to building relationships all over the field, not just Besler, but with my right back, my left back and Howard,” added Gonzalez. “Increasing all those relationships and know that you know what everyone is going to do so that you don’t have to think about it and can minimize mistakes.”
As for what he believes that the team needs to work on ahead of their June 16 clash with Ghana? Gonzalez believes that there are multiple aspects of the game that the U.S. must tighten up ahead of their trip to Brazil.
“We need to stay compact, we need to stay organize and be louder on the field,” said Gonzalez. “Those are all things that can get a little bit better to make sure that you’re on top of things. Little things like that which can always get better make a big difference.”
LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez is expected to be among the 30 players named to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for his preliminary World Cupr roster and in the latest episode of the "brazuca Around the World" series by adidas, he discusses the team's motivation heading into Brazil.
Check out the short video below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will be without the services of Omar Gonzalez for this Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers, but with the U.S. international unavailable, head coach Bruce Arena will have options at center back.
The primary option for Arena appears to be a tandem of Kofi Opare and Leonardo, who were able to keep the Colorado Rapids scoreless after Gonzalez was substituted with a left knee injury in Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat last Saturday. However, Arena could also slide in Tommy Meyer, who has enjoyed a strong season with LA Galaxy II as well as 2014 MLS SuperDraft first round draft pick Kyle Venter.
While there are other options for the two central defense positions, Leonardo and Opare seem like the safe bet for the Timbers match, which sits well with the second-year defender.
“I’ve played with him quite a bit in reserve games and in practice. Like myself, Leonardo is a big presence. He’s a more experienced player who is able to guide me and help me with my movements,” said Opare. “We are similar in our physicality and when Leonardo steps on the field he gives me confidence as a player which helps me be more at ease on the field.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are still awaiting an update on the injury status of Omar Gonzalez, but head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday that he feels strongly that the left knee issue will be short-term and not cost him a chance to suit up for the U.S. at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Gonzalez suffered the injury in the closing moments of the first half of LA’s 1-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last Saturday and was substituted at the half due to precautionary measures. When asked by reporters on Tuesday if the team had an update on Gonzalez, Arena stated that the team did not have one at the moment.
“We’re going to talk to the doctors today and find out a little bit more,” said the Galaxy manager. “It’s a very short term issue and he’s going to be fine.
“We’re doing everything to be safe with Omar and if we have anything to say, we’ll say it at the proper time. I feel very strongly that this is a short term issue and he’ll be fine,” Arena added.
“Mentally, a player with a full calendar of things ahead is very precautious. He’s going to be fine. There is nothing long term with this injury, I can promise you that.”
Whether or not Gonzalez will suit up for the Galaxy for their match against the Portland Timbers on May 11 at Providence Park remains to be seen. The match is expected to be the final game for Gonzalez and LA teammate Landon Donovan before they depart for the U.S. National Team pre-World Cup camp in Stanford, Calif. on May 14.
However, Arena admitted that it was unlikely that the turf conditions at Providence Park will play a role on whether or not he suits up for the Galaxy on Saturday.
“If Omar is good to go to go then he’ll go. If he’s not then he won’t, it’s that simple,” said Arena. “I don’t think that it’s the turf. All things being equal, maybe [the turf] would play a role, but right now, we’ll take it day by day and we’re going to talk to the doctors to make sure that we’re moving along in the right way.”