Sporting Kansas City
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez is growing into his own as a member of the U.S. National Team, but according to U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, he’s still got plenty of work to do before this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Gonzalez was named to the U.S. squad earlier this month after solidifying his place on the national team with 14 appearances in 2013. During his formative year with the squad, Gonzalez formed a solid partnership with Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler that Klinsmann himself sees as a center back pairing for the future.
“From a coaches’ perspective, you want to see a development of players: over a season and across a number of years. With Matt and Omar, you’ve seen them mature,” said Klinsmann in his final press conference before the Americans’ match against Korea Republic on Saturday. “They’ve become calmer; they’ve become more responsible and have really grown into their own feet.”
But due to the duo’s relative inexperience, the job is hardly finished.
In particular, Klinsmann wants to see much better possession from his defenders and prevent the type of reliance on long balls up field that had been a staple of U.S. teams in years past.
“Their biggest challenge is to be ahead of things and to be alert while not allowing mistakes because mistakes at an international level will be punished, and the team will go home,” said Klinsmann. “This is something that we tell every position but especially on the back line because you can’t make mistakes at an international level. You have to be on top of your game for 90 minutes and not make passing mistakes in the defensive area because the transition is going to happen so quickly from those teams that we’ll be facing this year.
“We don’t want to see balls played long because [they] don’t know what to do and [they’re] getting closed down, we want them to stay calm and find the solution.”
PHILADELPHIA -- The 2014 MLS SuperDraft will be taking place on Thursday in Philadelphia and we'll be covering it on CoveritLive below.
The LA Galaxy hold just one pick on day one of the draft with the 23rd overall selection in the second round.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team has opened their annual January camp at StubHub Center, but as preparations begin for their match against Korea Republic on Feb. 1, more details are emerging of the camp’s unique schedule.
The U.S. will train at StubHub Center for a total of 13 days before departing for Brazil where they will train at the facility of Sao Paulo FC from Jan. 13-25 where they will play a series of closed-door scrimmages against Sao Paulo’s first team. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to take 23 players to Brazil, but could take more depending on the players’ fitness levels. Any player that does not travel to South America is expected to continue training in Carson prior to the Feb. 1 match.
“We'll try things out there. We want to get to know the people. We want to build relationships, if it's at the hotel, at the training ground. We want to get a feel for how things work there – for the Brazilian lifestyle, in a certain way – and this is a good opportunity,” Klinsmann told reporters on Tuesday. “So we connected it because no other [World Cup] team really has that January camp happening. It's because of the schedule that MLS has gives us that opportunity.”
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi noted on Tuesday that the competition between players for a spot on plane to Brazil “makes it all real” for all players involved in the January camp, a sentiment that was echoed by LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.
“I don’t know if I’m going to Brazil so I have to keep on working hard and not give Jurgen a reason to say no to me,” said Gonzalez. “I have to keep on working hard and everyone is in the same boat here because no one is penciled in. It’ll help everyone work that much harder and increase everyone’s game.”
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
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