PORTLAND, Ore. — Omar Gonzalez believes that he’ll be ready to play in at least one of the LA Galaxy’s two matches this week and possibly as soon as Wednesday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Gonzalez was left off LA’s gameday roster for their 5-3 victory over the Portland Timbers last Saturday, but during Monday’s training session at the University of Portland, the centerback appeared fit, taking part in the full session. While Gonzalez is still listed as questionable due to his offseason knee surgery, he was in high spirits following the training.
“I felt good,” Gonzalez told LAGalaxy.com following the session. “My knee is feeling better and I’m feeling strong out there, like normal.”
It has been that “normal” feeling that has eluded Gonzalez at times since he made his season debut on July 4th with a 45-minute stint against the Philadelphia Union. But after being “skeptical” about his ability to perform on the turf surfaces at JELD-WEN Field and BC Place last week, the defender had no such quorums on Monday.
In fact, Gonzalez believes that he will be ready to play a role in some degree against the Whitecaps.
“I think that I’m ready,” Gonzalez said. “I’d like to sit down with the coaches and see what they think is best, but I think that if my name is called then I’ll be ready.”
And what of what he described last week as “knocks” that were slowing down his recovery process?
“Those are getting better. Those are almost gone as well,” added Gonzalez. “I’ve been working with the training staff closely and I’m feeling good.”
However, despite Gonzalez’s optimism, head coach Bruce Arena is taking a wait and see approach to his star defender’s recovery.
“We’ll see, he’s making good progress,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com. “The part that’s good is that we know that he’s back. He’ll be part of the group in some point in the next month.”
While Arena preaches patience and a potentially longer timetable to his return, Gonzalez expects—at least—to be fully ready for Saturday’s SuperClásico clash against Chivas USA.
“For sure, “said Gonzalez of his status for the weekend. “If Wednesday I don’t play then I’m really pushing for Saturday because it’s such an important and fun game against Chivas.”
While his playing status remains up in the air, Gonzalez is simply anxious to put this injury behind hm.
“I can’t wait for this to end,” said Gonzalez. “Just to go through every day without worrying about anything and just play free. I think that I’m really close to that and now is when I have to be mentally strong and just push through it so that I can try to get where I was before the injury.”