CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez is heading back to the MLS All-Star Game, but first he wants to shore up the LA Galaxy back line amid string of late game breakdowns.
The defender was included in the Fan XI for the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, which pits Italian side A.S. Roma against the MLS All-Stars at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. on July 31. The All-Star call is the third of Gonzalez’s career as the center back was named to the 2010 and 2011 editions.
The 24-year-old may get a chance to play in the match for only the second time as he was unable to play in 2011 after suffering a broken nose.
“I’m very happy about getting selected to the MLS All-Star Game and be an All-Star again,” Gonzalez told reporters. “It makes me really happy to go there again and go to Kansas City to represent MLS well.”
Gonzalez will be joined by Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, who will be making his first appearance on the squad. The Irish forward was selected by MLS All-Star and Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes on Monday to fill out the rest of the 20-man roster for the match.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena admitted that he was pleased to have two of his players join the squad in Kansas City.
“It’s great. It’s a great honor,” said Arena. “They’ve both had a great year and they’re very well deserving of the recognition.”
Individual honors and personal recognition may be all well and good, but before Gonzalez can focus on any of those matters, he understands that he has plenty of work to do with the Galaxy. LA are continuing concede late goals and drop points, an issue that has plagued the team throughout the year.
To date, LA have conceded eight goals in second half stoppage time and when that occurs—like it did in last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers—they are 0-6-0. Since the start of the 2013 campaign, the Galaxy have allowed nearly two-third of all of their goals in the final 15 minutes, often times seeing wins become draws and draws become losses, illustrating their need to be more efficient when closing out games.
After last week’s failure in Portland, the 2013 MLS All-Star defender expects a much better showing on Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“It just has to do with focus and having that fight to want to win the ball. When the ball is up in the air, you have to be stronger than the next guy and fighting like hell to get that ball,” said Gonzalez. “That’s just something that we have to be a little bit better about. We’ve been talking about it over and over that it’s like a broken record. We have to be really aggressive and want to win more than the next team.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com