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.”
Fan created videos are one of the best parts of the World Cup and the latest video may be the best one yet.
Entitled "Flip the script," the video by Tyler Wirfs will get you in the right frame of mind before Tuesday's all-important game.
Make sure to join the LA Galaxy at the official USA vs. Belgium viewing party in Redondo Beach.
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team will need to make do without target striker Jozy Altidore for their “win and you’re in” group stage match against Portugal on Sunday.
Just how head coach Jurgen Klinsmann replaces the physical forward who is out with a hamstring injury remains to be seen and Galaxy forward Landon Donovan is among those wondering just how he’ll go about it against the Portuguese in Manaus.
“I don’t know. I wish I knew the answer to [how to replace Jozy]. It’s going to be interesting to see how the coaches adjust," Donovan said. "Whether you leave[Clint Dempsey] up there by himself or you play another forward with him. I’m sure they’ve watched the Portugal tape over and over and they’ll have an idea how to beat them. At the end of the day, it’s still 11 v. 11 but there’s no question that the team will miss Jozy.”
But no matter who fills in for Altidore, Donovan is confident that the U.S. can earn the win needed to get through to the knockout round for the second consecutive tournament.
“It’s amazing how results change things and even one goal changes things,” said Donovan. “That goal by John Anthony Brooks coupled with Portugal losing, now you look at a scenario where you win the game then you’re through against a somewhat beaten up Portuguese team. It’s amazing how it is coming together, but it can go the other way too. You have to be prepared and it’s going to be a fascinating match.”
CARSON, Calif. – England and Spain eliminated while Italy and other global powers find themselves on the ropes? Not many foresaw that heading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan gave his explanation for the failings of the European giants in Brazil.
Speaking to reporters on Friday after LA Galaxy training, Donovan said that the poor showing of the European powers may be due to the rigors of the club season.
“I have a theory on that and it doesn't always hold true, but I think that it’s very difficult for teams with players playing in England or Spain that are playing 50 or 60 high-level games a year,” said Donovan. “They just get worn down throughout the year and then they travel to South America where it’s hot and difficult. I think that players are just getting worn out. There’s a lot of thought that more is better as far as training, but I think the opposite. I think that less is more and the teams that got the training right before the World Cup are the ones that are excelling right now.”
Even though several notable European sides are struggling, Donovan believes that the 2014 FIFA World Cup is showcasing the newfound parity of global soccer.
“The soccer world is smaller than ever. There’s more players playing everywhere around the world. They understand how to get results and they're not intimidated anymore. It used to be different in the past,” said Donovan. “There is no more of that anymore. You see that with a lot of little teams doing well. You're seeing teams that are organized and the teams that are fit are succeeding.”
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?
The waiting is finally over.
On Monday, the U.S. National Team will take on Ghana in their opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The match will prove if the third time is the charm for the U.S. who have dropped two straight World Cup matches to the Black Stars.
In the latest "By the Numbers," LAGalaxy.com looks at the matchup.
Check it out below.
On a day in which the U.S. National Team defeated Turkey 2-1 -- where Omar Gonzalez was an unused substitute -- a group of U.S. legends defeated a group of former Mexico stars by the same score line at StubHub Center on Sunday.
Mexico went up early after Benjamin Galindo beat former Galaxy goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer after a pass from long time Mexican international Ramon Morales. However, the United States fought back as Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski found the back of the net in the 71st minute. But the finest strike of the evening -- and the game winner -- belonged to Razov who launched a shot from distance that proved too much for Mexico goalkeeper Felix Fernandez.
Joining Kirovski and Razov in the Galaxy contingent were club president Chris Klein, Academy Director Pete Vagenas and former players Paul Caligiuri, Danny Califf, and Brian Ching
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will play host to the final of the 25th edition Central American Cup on September 13, the Central American Football Union announced on Tuesday.
The 2014 edition of the Central American Cup will be the first time that the regional tournament will be held outside of one of CONCACAF's seven Central American nations. The tournament will serve as a qualifying competition for both the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
In addition to the final, the third place and fifth place games will also take place on Sept. 13 at the Coliseum. According to CONCACAF, locations for the other matches have yet to be announced for the tournament that will run from Sept. 3-13.
Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo who is also the number one 'keeper for Panama is the only LA player who is eligible to participate. If Penedo does suit up for Los Canaleros, he could miss as many as three league matches for the Galaxy with LA taking on the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 5, the Montreal Impact on Sept. 10 and the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 14.
Planning to attend the final? Think Penedo can help Panama qualify for the Copa America Centenario? Think he'll be allowed to play?
Share your thoughts 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.