Tommy Meyer turning heads with Omar Gonzalez away on international duty

The 24-year-old has shown growth while Omar Gonzalez has been away with the USMNT

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday at Stanford Stadium was noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First was the fact the Earthquakes entered the game with an eight-game unbeaten streak at home against the Galaxy spanning three stadiums. The streak started in August of 2008 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Second was the performance of central defender Tommy Meyer, whom head coach Bruce Arena credited for having his best game of the season. His performance earned him a spot on mlssoccer.com’s team of the week.

“I thought his positioning was good, his defending in the air in particular was good and his communication and passing were good,” Arena said. “He played very well.”

Meyer, a first-round draft pick (19th overall) out of the University of Indiana in 2012, kept to his low-key nature by taking such praise in stride.

“My best game? I don’t know about that,” he said with a grin. “It’s definitely a compliment, but you can’t really dwell on the past.

“You’re only as good as your last game.”

The 24-year-old has had several of those this season. He’s started five of the last six games – and gone the full 90 minutes each time – after having only one other appearance this season, a five-minute stint as a substitute in the Galaxy’s 3-0 win over Chivas USA on April 6.

But with Omar Gonzalez away on U.S. men’s national team duty, Meyer has been plugged into the middle of the back line and started to blossom.

“It’s his third year and he’s had enough experience,” Arena said. “He’s kind of made himself into a center back. The way he played at Indiana wasn’t really a center back … you’d call it a sweeper, which is a difficult transition to make.

“He’s getting and more comfortable with the requirements of a center back.”

Meyer, who started seven times as a rookie and five times in his second season, said there’s nothing like on-field experience to help with his progress. He did, however, admit he’s had his share of difficult times.

“I don’t think I ever doubted myself or lost confidence, but I did keep working hard,” he said. “That’s the best thing you can do when things aren’t going your way.

“Even if you did something wrong, the key is bouncing back from your mistakes and learning from them.”

His teammates have taken notice.

“He’s a good, young player,” right back Dan Gargan said. “He’s got a couple of years now in the league and I think he’s starting to see the game a little bit better from what I’ve seen from preseason to now.

“I think games will help with that kind of acceleration.”

Meyer said he can tell the difference in his performances as he gets more playing time.

“Each game you play you get more comfortable,” he said. “I’m happy with that, and your fitness isn’t a factor, either.”