Gonzalez remains upbeat about injury recovery

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BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. — It is impossible not to notice the smile on Omar Gonzalez as he watches the Los Angeles Galaxy on the training field.

Gonzlez's sunny demeanour is surprising because one would think that he has very little to smile about.

On January 5th, Gonzalez joined FC Nuremberg on an offseason loan, but before he could finish his first training session for the Bundesliga club, disaster struck. After his first training session with Nuremberg, Gonzalez collided with fellow U.S. international Timmy Chandler, resulting in a torn ACL that will sideline the regining MLS defender of the year for six to nine months.  

While an extended injury lay off might have depressed other players, Gonzalez has remained upbeat throughout the recovery process.  

“I really wasn't sad about it for too long I think maybe the German guys thought I was a little weird, because they were telling me, like, something is really wrong, and I was still smiling," Gonzalez told reporters earlier this week. "I'm keeping my spirits up and just thinking of it as it happened for a reason, and I'm taking this time just to take a mental break from the sport and just enjoy my time and really just take the time to appreciate actually playing and getting ready to come back."

Apart from the Gonzalez's injury, the Galaxy have enjoyed a stellar offseason returning forward Edson Buddle and midfielder Juninho back to the fold. Regardless of the success, finding Gonzalez's replacement was considered by many to be priority number one for head coach Bruce Arena.

But after being linked to defenders from Central America, South America, Europe and all points in-between, Arena is comfortable going into the season with their current crop of defenders.

"I don't anticipate any roster changes," said Arena. "The only thing that changes is that there is going to be fewer players, not more players, but having said that things can happen. So we'll just have to wait and see." 

The Galaxy deciding to stand pat with their defense, Gonzalez's long-time defensive partner AJ DeLaGarza has been asked to step up as a leader in the back four. 

“I have no worries about A.J. He's always done good stepping into these roles," said Gonzalez. "When I was at Maryland, he was a guy who was already leading the team. He's very experienced at that, and he's a guy you can always count on. So there's no worries there.” 

One of the players fighting for Gonzalez's spot beside DeLaGarza is rookie Tommy Meyer. The young defender from Indiana University and 19th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft has started alongside DeLaGarza in four the Galaxy's five preseason matches. Well aware that Meyer is being groomed for the future, Gonzalez is doing his part to impart his wisdom on the youngster. 

“I haven't really gotten to know the young guys, but when I do come in, I try to have at least a little conversation,” said Gonzalez. “One guy I've been trying to connect with a lot is Tommy, trying to see where he's at and how he's dealing with things. [Wednesday] I took him to dinner, and we talked about a couple things. He's doing really well now, and he's loving it.” 

While the Galaxy look to replace his dominant presence in the middle, Gonzalez is focused on his rehabilitation. Currently, the center back's schedule has him at the Home Depot Center only twice a week.

Not interested in rushing back from injury and potentially risking future complications, the upbeat Gonzalez is being patient with his recovery. 

“I'm thinking more of a long-term career thing here, not just about this year,”said Gonzalez. “If I'm back sooner than [seven to nine months], great. If not, then, you know, it's for the best. I'm not really trying to put too much pressure on me, I'm just waiting to see how my body reacts to everything, and if I'm back sooner, great. I would love to be back on the field with these guys.” 

A future in Europe still remains a goal for Gonzalez–Nuremberg is reportedly still interested –, but for now the defender is focused on his health and returning to the Galaxy. 

“[Playing in Europe] is something I want to happen,” said Gonzalez. “It's just now, after this injury, I just got to take everything one day at a time and not look too much into the future. Just live in the now and just worry about doing well every day and make sure I'm healthy.”

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19 Responses to Gonzalez remains upbeat about injury recovery

  1. Dan K says:

    After watching Tommy Meyer the last 4 years at IU, there’s no doubt he can be great in MLS. Just needs to keep the focus and concentration for all 90…sometimes lost it for 2 minutes in the middle of a game and it lead to a goal.

  2. Dimidri says:

    Not like he needs to be great either, people are making way too big a deal out of 1/11 players possibly being sub-par. Saunders, Juhnino, Franklin, DelaGarza, Dunnivart, etc. should be able to provide more than enough cover. Should score lots of goals too.

  3. John says:

    He’s almost worse than Victor Ortiz smiling like an idiot after getting knocked out by PBF. Don’t buy this upbeat facade.

  4. peterjh says:

    Worst case is this is going to build character, and he’s going to come out of this a stronger person. Getting depressed and down about things is a loser approach to injuries. Good on Omar for being positive!

  5. bottlcaps says:

    Very True!!!. Arena is very pleased with the acquisition of Meyer. Add in the fact that formerly on-loan Leonardo was actually bought from Sao Paulo by the Galaxy shows that Arena is serious about cover for the CB position and will not try and cover it with a left or right back or midfielder unless it’s absolutely necessary. at 6’2″ Meyer is not a big as Gonzales but his positioning ability and speed are remarkable for a rookie. Still, Arena has promised to bring him along slowly to build his confidence and his readiness for this next step up.

  6. supergrandefilms says:

    Certainly wish Gonzalez the best with his recovery.

    On another note, SBI… Can we get some more Copa Libertadores coverage?

    Gracias.

  7. Jamie Z. says:

    What a great attitude. I wish him the best in his recovery. Hopefully, he’ll be back to his best in no time.

  8. The Imperative Voice says:

    If I am back sooner than expected is perhaps foolhardy but indeed positive. But saying Europe is something I want to happen in this context of knee re-construction after a loan to Europe, feels a tad tone-deaf. I mean, from my POV he blew both the USMNT chance he had been begging for and was finally handed on a silver platter — I mean, him versus Parkhurst? — as well as this season of MLS soccer. When arguably the wiser course would have been fighting for the NT now, establishing that pedigree, and then cashing that in for Europe later in his contract.

  9. boosted335 says:

    ditto

  10. whoop-whoop says:

    Super-funny-ludicrous… we are working pretty hard at finding the negative when having a positive attitude is something to criticize…. guess in your eyes the world should be bitter, sour and jaded to suit your mood., eh? Lighten up…. you’ll feel better!

  11. whoop-whoop says:

    He blew? I’m pretty sure he was encouraged to spend the offseason in Nuremberg as part of his path to the Nats.

    His perspective sounds pretty realistic to me. Here… I’ll repost it since you completely ignored most of what he said about playing in Europe… yes I’d like to but…:

    “A future in Europe still remains a goal for Gonzalez–Nuremberg is reportedly still interested –, but for now the defender is focused on his health and returning to the Galaxy.

    “[Playing in Europe] is something I want to happen,” said Gonzalez. “It’s just now, after this injury, I just got to take everything one day at a time and not look too much into the future. Just live in the now and just worry about doing well every day and make sure I’m healthy.”

  12. matt says:

    as they sing in england!

    You are a li-a-bi-lity! you are a li-a-bi-lity!

    meanwhile bolton fans sing REAMMMMMMMMM!

    Lovin it!

    Cream rises to the top!

  13. nic d "the TEXAS 2 stepper" says:

    or C Ream rise to the top!

    But honestly Gonzalez will be there too.

  14. The Imperative Voice says:

    Your argument is counter-factual. He was called into camp. That doesn’t sound like he was encouraged to pursue this loan to the exclusion of USMNT. Klinsi might generally be pro-loan but he called this one up. Specific over general.

    I didn’t ignore anything, as would be clear from reading my post. I did editorialize but part of my point was I didn’t accept his statements as merely positive, I felt them still a tad deluded, to put it in stronger terms. You just got hurt playing “European holiday” and you’re already back talking it up? I think his eyes are bigger than his stomach…..that’s what I get for someone who hasta hasta be on the national team but then he gets a loan offer somewhere and suddenly he hasta hasta do that. I don’t necessarily knock the ambition completely, but his experience should have been a tad chastening and a reminder of the pitfalls.

    In short, I wouldn’t even be talking about Europe when I’m facing months of rehab just to salvage my career. He says he’s focused on LA but if he’s that focused why’s Europe come up? You’re not reading his comments critically.

  15. matt says:

    He did not go out of his way to reference Europe. My guess is that the correspondent asked him his thoughts on possibly playing in Europe again. Like virtually every professional soccer player ever, he said “Europe is something I want to happen.”

    I don’t get the criticism. If he’d torn his ACL at the January Camp and then said “Yeah I’d still love to play for the Nats” (especially in response to a question) would you think he was being tone-deaf? Would you think he was unfocused on LA? And don’t say his eyes are bigger than his stomach: he didn’t lack the motivation or skill to compete in Europe, he got hurt. And missing camp to pursue European opportunities is something a ton of guys in the pool have done before. For someone like Omar, moving abroad is the best way to grow his game, which will be the best way to play for the Nats in the long run.

  16. peterjh says:

    If I’m a coach, I want someone who believes and is at least willing to try. Strange thing about being positive, even if you don’t achieve what you initially set out to achieve it has a way of opening up other opportunities for you.

  17. The Imperative Voice says:

    Whose coach? I don’t think the coaches are very happy about this at all. Arena might appreciate the positive attitude but be frustrated about what Gonzo’s mid-contract ambitions did to the team. And Klinsi might be frustrated that a player who kept hounding him for a callup decides he has better things to do and then gets injured. I mean, maybe the coaches are personally pleased about his attitude, but that doesn’t put players on the field, or necessarily outweigh feeling like maybe he was blowing them off. People can have two thoughts at the same time.

    Of course the player is in decent spirits but the leg either heals or doesn’t, and personally I get concerned when I hear him suggesting he’ll see if he can push the timeline. You want to be correct on that timing, not merely positive.

  18. The Imperative Voice says:

    There is such a response as “no comment” or “I’ll think about that sort of thing when I’m healed.” I don’t doubt that the reporter was walking him in a direction but sometimes wisdom is not walking what turns out to be a plank. Because if I am an LA fan — not, but just saying — maybe I don’t like that he still seems unsettled. Fans tend to like players who don’t feel one foot out the door.

    Eyes are bigger than stomach is he seems to have a gnawing ambition that defies rational, step-by-step incremental process. Cameron had been having similar USMNT CB aspirations, talking to the press, and was coming off a MLS Cup knock and look whether he showed up. And Cameron is now the one being talked up for the future. That’s because he is more focused.

    I don’t mind ambition but take it a step at a time. If the first goal is USMNT and then the second is Europe, don’t blow off the first for the second.

    I think that sort of goals management is why some players get where they want to and others like EJ and Gale keep messing up. Get step 1 accomplished and then work on the rest. You’ll achieve more and leave those involved feeling less like means to an end or flavors of the month. I mean if you’re Klinsi and this guy is talking to the press about how he deserves to be on your team, and then he blows it off when given a chance, what do you make of it? Does he get another chance this cycle, even if he heals?

  19. yawning says:

    so many words, yet imperative?