CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez has been hungry for playing time to move his injury recovery along and against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, he got exactly what he needed.
In his longest playing stint since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee in January, Gonzalez went 63 minutes in the LA Galaxy’s 1-1 draw against the English club. During the friendly, Gonzalez appeared comfortable on the field while displaying the superior defensive positioning that helped make him the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year.
WATCH: Omar Gonzalez Postgame Interview
“I feel really good. Everything is feeling normal, I’m not that sore right now which is a great sign and I feel like I’m getting a lot closer to 90 minutes,” Gonzalez said after the match. “The knee feels great right now. There are no problems with it.”
“It’s just a matter of getting 90-minute fit,” added Gonzalez. “I think that every time I step out on the field I get that much more confident with my knee and as more time passes I’m going to get more confident as well, so it’s good.”
Gonzalez was particularly effective combining with defensive partner David Junior Lopes as the pair were able to slow down a dynamic Tottenham attack for wide stretches of the match. Gonzalez's stint was not a perfect one, however, as he was helpless to stop a leaping Gareth Bale from scoring Spurs’ lone goal of the night in the 17th minute.
After the match, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that Gonzalez had made “incredible progress” during his recovery over the past six months, but the Galaxy boss preached caution.
“Our goal is to get him on the field in a full time basis, but we need to see how he reacts week to week. When we played on July 4th against Philadelphia, he played 45 minutes and he didn’t come out of that as well as we would have liked,” Arena said. “Tonight, it’ll be interesting to see how he feels over the next couple of days, but he’s not only coming back from a serious injury, but it’s essentially preseason for him so his minutes have to be managed like any other player in that position.”
With his longest appearance to date under his belt, Gonzalez is confident that he’ll be ready to earn a start—and potentially go 90 minutes—against FC Dallas on Saturday.
“We’ll see how I feel,” said Gonzalez. “I definitely want to get the start and hopefully Bruce puts me out there for the start, but we’ll see what happens.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider