CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez, Landon Donovan and the rest of the U.S. National Team have returned to Southern California from their two week-long World Cup “dry run” in Brazil, but the experience of training in South America is expected to serve them well ahead of this summer's tournament.
During their time in Brazil, the U.S. trained at the training facilities of Sao Paulo FC which will serve as their base of operations for this summer’s World Cup. Gonzalez, Donovan and the rest of the U.S. squad also played a pair of closed-door scrimmages against Sao Paulo’s first team with both LA Galaxy players suiting up in the matches.
“Brazil was fun. We did a lot of two-a-days with gym sessions in the morning and training in the afternoon. I thought it was a very productive trip for us,” Gonzalez told reporters prior to U.S. training on Monday. “Everyone worked hard, we had a lot of fun and got a bit more team chemistry being away for two weeks. I thought that it was a great trip.”
During the training camp, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann toured the locations of the Americans’ group-stage fixtures: Natal, host of the Americans’ Group G opener against Ghana on June 16; Amazonian outpost Manaus, site of their June 22 match against Portugal; and Recife, which will host of U.S. group-stage finale with Germany on June 26.
Gonzalez and the rest of his teammates were by and large restricted to the area around the team’s hotel and training facilities in Sao Paulo, but the Galaxy defender left South America with a better feel of what may await him if he is named to the U.S. roster his summer.
“We definitely got a feel for the place, but as far as it being a World Cup environment, I don’t think it was that like that yet. I’m simply happy to be back in L.A. and I’m looking forward to facing [Korea Republic],” said Gonzalez. We just want to keep on moving forward. Over the past year, we’ve done a great job of building chemistry on the field… and putting together all around complete games. We want to keep that going forward, keep building confidence and keep on looking to play well.”
Although the World Cup is just four months away, Gonzalez isn’t allowing himself to focus too much on Brazil. After all, he’s got a job to do for his club side as well.
“It feels like [Brazil is] close, but there’s a lot of stuff that happens before the World Cup. I’m hoping that the end of this camp goes well and I go into Galaxy and start of the year right with them,” said Gonzalez. “There’s things that I need to worry about before the World Cup comes into play like just focusing on continuing to growing as a player and being in top form if my name gets called upon for [Brazil].”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com