CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez opted for an extra day of rest rather than playing in the LA Galaxy’s Chevrolet Cup defeat to Manchester United and now the defender feels like he is on course to suit up against Seattle Sounders FC on Monday.
The 26-year-old defender has trained with the team throughout the week and took part in full training on Friday ahead of LA’s upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest. Gonzalez has been unable to suit up for the Galaxy since returning from his participation in the U.S. National Team’s campaign at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a right ankle injury.
Although Gonzalez admitted that even though he was targeting an appearance against United, he feels that missing the match against the Red Devils will leave him in better standing heading into Seattle.
“I’m still very optimistic about Monday, but I thought it was best that I missed the Manchester United game because Monday is the important game. I just want to be ready for Monday,” Gonzalez told reporters. “I could have played a couple minutes but we thought an extra day would be best. Hopefully that day will help me and hopefully I’ll go 90 minutes on Monday.”
While Gonzalez was optimistic that he could suit up for the Galaxy for the first time since he suffered a knee injury in the first half of LA’s May 3 match against the Colorado Rapids, head coach Bruce Arena was decidedly more reserved about his defender’s status for Monday.
“We’ll see. It’s really the first few training sessions that he’s had by any extent. We’ll see how he is tomorrow and Sunday before we make any decision. We’re taking it day by day,” said Arena. “We’re just getting him back into playing again. He’s been away from the team for some time and it takes a little time [getting back].”
Having Gonzalez back for Seattle could be a major coup for the Galaxy who will be taking on a Sounders FC team that finds itself at the top of the league standings with 38 points after 18 games. Leading the charge for Seattle are leading goal scorers Clint Dempsey (with nine goals) and Obafemi Martins (with eight goals) and having the presence of Gonzalez will aid an LA defense that made two costly errors in the club's 2-1 defeat to Sporting Kansas City.
While Gonzalez admits that there is some apprehension from the team’s training staff about rushing him back or having him play on a turf field, he believes that the time is now for him to make his return.
“At some point, you just have to come back from it. I can’t wait until it is 100 percent, but I’m going to give it 100 percent of what I’ve got. If that means resting another game then that’s what it means, but I really want to get back with the team,” said Gonzalez. “I’m feeling good and feeling confident and I’m hoping to show the coaches that I’m ready to play.”