CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez has circled the club’s upcoming Chevrolet Cup match with English giants Manchester United at the Rose Bowl Stadium in bright red ink as he prepares to make his return from an ankle injury.
Gonzalez has been sidelined since he suffered a right ankle injury in the second half of the U.S. National Team’s 2-1 Round of 16 defeat to Belgium.
The 25-year-old defender returned to training late last week and told reporters on Monday that he’s expecting to see time against United with an eye to making his MLS return against Seattle Sounders FC on Monday.
“Just put out a great effort and hopefully get a result. We're not going out there to run through the motions,” said Gonzalez. “We want to get a result, especially against such a great team like United. And for me personally, I want to get out there and get some minutes and hopefully get back my fitness.”
Arena did not provide any confirmation that there was a set plan in place to regular Gonzalez’s minutes, stating that “we’ll see after tomorrow,” but the U.S. international sounded confident that he’ll have an opportunity to return to action against United.
“I want to get out there and get some fitness,” said Gonzalez. “I hope to get as many minutes as [Bruce Arena] wants to give me. If he gives me 45 [minutes] great, if he gives me 60 minutes great and that’s even better. I want to get a little bit of fitness, play some good football and get ready for Seattle.
“The ankle is good. I still feel [the tenderness], but I just have to push through it,” added Gonzalez. “Playing isn’t going to cause any more damage. These things just take time.”
If Gonzalez does return to action against United, he’ll be looking to recreate his heroics from the Galaxy’s 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup victory over Juventus when he chipped Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon en route to helping LA to a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.
That match showed that the Galaxy could not only complete with –and defeat—the giants of Europe, but Gonzalez believes that there is a greater lesson that he’ll be hoping to teach LA’s youngsters on Wednesday.
“There’s no doubt about it that we can beat these teams. We just have to go out and have fun,” said Gonzalez. “This game doesn’t matter and we’re going to put out there and put on a good show. I tell the young guys that they should try things that they don’t normally try.
“Just push the limit, be smart and look to have a great time against these players that we watch on Sundays. It’s going to be a great day of football.”