FRISCO, Texas -- A enormous weight was lifted off the shoulders of Omar Gonzalez on Saturday night.
In front of more than 100 family and friends, the LA Galaxy center back -- and Texas native -- went a full 90 minutes for the first time since offseason knee surgery. In the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas, Gonzalez was solid while partnered alongside David Junior Lopes in LA's central defense. Amid the triple-digit temperatures at FC Dallas Stadium, Gonzalez repeatedly stifled Dallas' scoring chances and was even able to help create a scoring chance of his own in the first half.
After a difficult six month rehabilitation period, Gonzalez told reporters after the match that the Dallas match was an important -- physical and mental -- step in his recovery.
Gonzalez’s post game thoughts are below…
(On playing the full 90 minutes...)
GONZALEZ: “I didn’t think I’d come back after the first half because it was so hot and I had cotton mouth the whole time, but I’m happy I did get through it. I knew I was fit enough to get through it and we’d already made two subs. I knew that I was going to have to push through it and I’m happy to get through it for the team, I’m happy to get the three points and happy to get the shutout.”
(On playing in his home state with the intense heat...)
GONZALEZ: “I really wanted to play well here, especially because I had so many friends and family here. They were behind me throughout the whole surgery and all the rehab. I’m happy I got to play here, start the game and play well. It was crazy heat here, but I think that it was a good test and this is a good step in the right direction for me.”
(On the play of the defense...)
GONZALEZ: “We had good shape the whole game. We didn’t really sit back. We actually put a lot of pressure on them. We actually got around [David] Ferreira and we got around [Andrew] Jacobson and didn’t really allow them to do much of anything. I thought that we brought the game to them and played really good soccer. If it was a cooler day, I think it would have been even better for us because we would have worked harder and played a little bit faster.”
(On how many friends and family, he had in the stands…)
GONZALEZ: “I don’t know, I’ll see when I get out there, but from what I saw, there was at least a hundred.”
(On if he had doubts that he’d ever reach his peak form after his injury…)
GONZALEZ: “Yeah, sometimes I still think about it. Yesterday during training, I made a boneheaded play and I thought ‘man, what am I doing?’ I got pretty down on myself yesterday, but those are just things that I have to get over and I thought I did a good job here today. Putting it behind me and just focusing on the game.”