US National Team
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.
Mexico unveiled their 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and headlining the squad is former New York Red Bulls defender and frequent nemesis of the U.S. National Team Rafael Marquez.
El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera named his squad on Friday which includes Manchester United forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Villarreal attacker Giovani Dos Santos, Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, California-born Toluca midfielder Isaac Brizuela, and of course, Marquez. The 2014 World Cup will be the fourth for the Mexico captain, who is expected to become the first player to captain a nation at four World Cups.
Although Marquez is no longer the player who was a star at FC Barcelona years ago, LA Galaxy head coach and former U.S. national team boss Bruce Arena believes that he’s still vital for Mexico.
“At his age, they’re highly dependent on his experience more than anything. He’s not no-longer a great one-on-one defender, but he has experience so if he can fit in their system and communicate and organize a team then he’s extremely important. They’ve gotten surprisingly good play out of him in the last year and he’s a competitive and fiery player.
“It’s hard for me to say this, but I wish him the best," Arena added. "He’s been good for the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico because without him, we wouldn’t have had some of the excitement that we’ve had."
Another one of Marquez’s traditional adversaries Landon Donovan agreed with Arena’s assessment about the former Red Bulls man’s importance to El Tri.
“They’ve been a better team with him. I think a big problem for them last year when they went through their struggles was their lack of leadership. They didn’t have guys on the field that you could really lean on. He’s been very helpful them,” said Donovan. “He’s not nasty. Like a lot of players, sometimes he loses his head a little bit, but he’s always been relatively respectful after the whistle, but he has moments like all of us.”
Mexico’s full squad is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
DEFENDERS: Rafa Marquez (Leon), Diego Reyes (Porto), Miguel Layun (America), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Carlos Pena (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Luis Montes (Leon), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon)
FORWARDS: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna)
ESPN's award-winning series 30 for 30 took an inside look at the U.S. National Team's road to Brazil in their upcoming feature series that looks into the team's 100 days of preparation before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Check out the ESPN trailer, which features Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez below.
By this time next week, the U.S. National Team's preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will truly begin in earnest as the 30-man preliminary squad descends on Stanford, Calif. for a two-week training camp.
In an interview with MLSsoccer.com, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discusses how he will select his squad for the camp at Stanford University. Watch below.
I'll have my very own 23 man roster projection later today.
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.”
There was a new face at LA Galaxy training on Tuesday as U.S. Under-17 phenom and Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright trained with LA's first team.
Wright has been one of the breakout stars of Richie Williams' U.S. U-17 squad over the past six months with his five-goal Golden Boot performance at the Nike International Friendlies and solid two-goal showing during the Aegean Cup in January.
The teenager kept up his scalding form with six goals as the helped lead the U.S. Under-17's to victory in the 2014 Josip Katalinski International Tournament in Bosnia earlier this month. The victory in Bosnia was the Americans third consecutive international tournament title. Wright added another during the Americans two-game series with the Croatian U-17's to give him a total of seven goals during the Americans' Balkans trip.
Haji is not the only talented family member in the Galaxy Academy as his younger brother Hanif is one of the leading goal scorers for the Galaxy Under-14's with 13 goals this season and is one of the leaders of the United States U-15 Boys team.
Three players with LA Galaxy connections have been named to the upcoming U.S. National Team Under-21 training camp that will take place at StubHub Center from April 20-24.
LA Galaxy Homegrown Players Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal were named to the squad by U-21 head coach Tab Ramos. The U-21 squad was designed to serve as bridge between the U.S. U-20 squad and the U-23 group that will look to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The camp will end with a friendly against Club Tijuana on Wednesday.
Both McBean and Sorto who are on loan with Galaxy II will join the camp after competing with LA’s U-18 squad at the Dallas Cup while Villarreal is currently on loan with Liga MX side Cruz Azul but has been assigned to their second division affiliate Cruz Azul Hidalgo for the duration of the 2014 Clausura tournament.
“We’re excited to bring some of our best young players together for this initial U-21 camp,” said Ramos in a statement by U.S. Soccer. “We’re hoping that we can have another two or three camps between now and the end of the year. This camp is purely to have the team together so that we begin moving in the right direction. When the time is right, we can put a group that has kept playing together and is familiar with each other in front of the permanent coach.”
The entire camp roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jonathan Kempin (Oklahoma City Energy; Leawood, Kan.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Collin Martin (D.C. United; Chevy Chase, Md.), Esteban Rodriguez (Club Tijuana; Bell Gardens, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (7): Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Danny Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Jose Villarreal (Cruz Azul; Inglewood, Calif.)
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.”
Check it out below.