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.”
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."
Landon Donovan's U.S. national team career may continue after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but the LA Galaxy forward admits that he's unlikely to represent the U.S. once the 2018 edition in Russia rolls around.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated media reporter Richard Deitsch, Donovan talked about his broadcasting prospects and his future with the U.S. National Team after the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Donovan admitted that he's unsure whether he'll continue after the tournament concludes, but regardless of his national team future, he doubts that he'll play at his fourth World Cup in four years time .
“There are not many guys who play at 36 or over,” Donovan told SI.com. “I try to never say never, but at this point it is pretty unlikely that I would be a part of that team based on how my body feels and based on how good our team has been. If I am playing in four years, that means we have not progressed enough, to be quite honest. As much as I would love to be there and play in Russia, I think it is better for our national team if I am not there.”
As for a broadcasting career, Donovan told reporters last week that he was enjoying the gig with ESPN and reiterated that to Deitsch.
“Obviously I have to balance it with my real job, which is playing soccer,” said Donovan. “That takes priority now, but we have already had quite a few discussions with different people about post-career stuff. I’m not quite there yet, but it is good to know people are interested and I am hopeful that interest continues.”
LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane's goalscoring prowess leads to plenty of accolades and in July, he'll have an opportunity to add yet another to his sterling resume.
On Wednesday, ESPN announced that Keane was among the four players nominated for the Best MLS Player ESPY Award. Joining Keane on the list are Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill and Montreal Impact striker Marco Di Vaio.
In 2013, Keane finished as a finalist for the league MVP award with 16 goals and 11 assists in 23 appearances. He's kept up his impressive scoring rate this season with seven goals and three assists in 11 games played.
Online voting for the award ends on July 16.
The LA Galaxy are on the ground in the Research Triangle.
LA will take on the Carolina RailHawks at 4:00 p.m. PT at Koka Booth Field in Cary, North Carolina in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup fifth round match up. The Galaxy have been bounced from the competition for the last two years by the RailHawks, but LA are confident that this particular match will be a different story as stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have all revealed that they will travel for the fixture.
If LA win, they'll host the winner of the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas match on either July 8 or July 9 at StubHub Center.
After two years of being hassled about poor showings in the Open Cup, the Galaxy insist that they're ready for a title challenge.
"This is the short way to get back to CONCACAF," said Marcelo Sarvas last week. " If we beat them than we are in the quarterfinal, so we want to go there and get a win."
In addition to the "rivalry" that the two teams have developed over the past two years, another interesting subplot is developing as the RailHawks announced via Twitter on Monday evening that former MLS goalkeeper William Hesmer will "un-retire" to suit up for the club against the Galaxy. Hesmer was selected by LA in the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft, but was not signed by the club.
— Hipólito Gamboa (@poligol21) June 23, 2014
The day is finally here.
The U.S. will take on Portugal in a match that will decide if they advance to the knockout round with a victory. Check out the latest edition of LAGalaxy.com "By the Numbers" below.
The U.S. National Team will take on Portugal without the services of Jozy Altidore due to a left hamstring injury, the federation announced on Thursday.
Altidore injured his left hamstring midway through the first half of the Americans 2-1 victory over Ghana on Monday and was stretchered off the field. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters on Tuesday that he was optimistic about Altidore’s ability to return from the injury at some point during the 2014 World Cup, but was awaiting the results of an MRI of the striker’s hamstring.
With Altidore unavailable, Klinsmann may be forced to tinker with his formation as neither of his two remaining strikers Aron Johannsson or Chris Wondolowski are as capable at holding possession as the injured Altidore.
The injury news wasn’t all negative for the U.S., however, as Matt Besler and Clint Dempsey were each given a clean bill of health for Sunday’s game in the Amazonian city of Manaus.
Who do you believe should replace Altidore in the starting XI? Vote in the poll below.'
The excitement was high after the U.S. National Team's 2-1 victory over Ghana, but LA Galaxy striker Landon Donovan issued a note of caution in a interview on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday.
Donovan, who was controversially left off U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, spoke about the injury to Jozy Altidore and his impression of the team's mood heading into their second group stage match against Portugal. However, his most telling comment was regarding the allegations that Klinsmann had overtrained the team resutling in injuries to Altidore and center back Matt Besler.
“My guess is if you’ve having a bunch of muscle injuries and cramping and stuff like that, there was some factor involved, whether it was overtraining, whether [they] weren’t prepared for the heat," he said. "There was something that went on there, so you could be a little critical.”
Watch the complete interview below.
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?
In just a few hours, the globe’s most important sporting event will be underway.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup begins on Thursday when the host nation Brazil will take on European upstarts Croatia at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians at 1:00 p.m. PT. For a month, the world’s eyes will be focused on Brazil as 32 nations compete for the honor of hoisting the trophy aloft at the final at the iconic Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.
Throughout the tournament, we’ll be providing analysis and daily coverage of the tournament from Los Angeles and in Brazil on LAGalaxy.com/WorldCup. I’ll be covering the tournament locally from Southern California while LAGalaxy.com digital’s Chris Thomas will be on location in Brazil.
To date, there is already extensive coverage on the website including a World Cup restaurant guide of each of the nations that will be competing, a list of Galaxy watch parties including the U.S. viewing party for the Portugal match, and coverage of the United States’ run through the tournament especially given LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez's participation.