Is Omar Gonzalez the Greatest Liability?

With poor performance after poor performance, is it finally time to put the inconsistent defender on the national team shelf?
by Roy Rosell   |   Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

On March 26, 2013, the night of Jurgen Klinsmann’s debut in Mexico, Omar Gonzalez was given the start in central defense for the crucial World Cup Qualifier match at Estadio Azteca. Gonzalez was phenomenal and the main reason that the United States was able to maintain a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw, a shocking accomplishment considering the US’s record south of the border.

Soccer fanatics and analysts across the country praised Gonzalez. According to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, Gonzalez "was the man of the match by a clear margin." And in a game that the US played almost entirely on the back foot, one wrong step could have easily resulted in a goal. Fortunately for the US, Gonzalez did everything right.

This performance gave US fans hope that the central defensive woes will be solved with the emergence of the 6 foot 5 beast.

Fast forward 1 year, and everything has changed.

Polite fans who watched the US vs Mexico match on Wednesday night will be quick to point out that Omar Gonzalez had a not so impressive performance in USA’s 2-2 tie with Mexico, though they retain the belief that since he has proved himself in a few big games with the US, he will get back his mojo when it’s needed.

An emotionally pessimistic US fan will sigh upon being asked of Omar Gonzalez’s performance on Wednesday night and begin to explain with watering eyes how doomed we are for the World Cup.

“If he couldn’t hold the fort against a Mexico C team, what’s he going to do against Cristiano Ronaldo? Asamoah Gyan? Nani? João Moutinho? Miroslave Klose? Lucas Podolski? We’re doomed!!!” *Continues to cry hysterically as he pours him/herself another shot of whiskey*.

A more aggressive fan will proclaim, with fists pounding on the table, “If Omar starts come June, WE ARE F$%$#D!!! F$%$#D I TELL YOU!!! Oh and the fact that most of our team plays in the MLS whereas our competition is dominating the top leagues in Europe? WE ARE F$%$#D!!!”

All in all, everyone should agree that with the World Cup looming in the horizon, Gonzalez is quickly playing himself right out of the starting centerback picture, but fortunately for him (not so fortunately for the USMNT and all of us fans), aside from Matt Besler, who appears to be a fixture at this point, there isn’t anybody stepping up to take the reins.

Goodson has played fairly well when given the opportunity, but his speed has often been an issue. Both Michael Parkhurst and Geoff Cameron can make the switch to the position, but neither has had a convincing enough performance for the Red, White, and Blue to warrant serious consideration for the risky switch. John Anthony Brooks has demonstrated that not only is he not ready for this level of play, he may never be an important piece for the US defense given his glaring mistakes in the games he’s played.

Garnering ratings from analysts in the range of 2.5-5.5 for his performance, Gonzalez was singled out by many as being the culpable individual for both of Mexico’s goals, as well as a few other borderline stunning mishaps that could have resulted in even more goals.

Stepping away from his US performance, Gonzalez has been clumsy for LA as well. It could be argued that he has been culpable on about half of the goals against LA so far this season and just this past weekend against an abysmal Chivas USA squad that applied little to no pressure on LA’s back 4 throughout the game, OG looked shaky; spitting up errant passes throughout the game and not looking dominant on attacking set pieces against a crumbling Chivas USA defense.

So who should we use? Should we ignore Gonzalez’s decline in play for both the national team and the LA Galaxy and hope that he’ll pull through? The answer to this question will be decisive for the US’s success in the World Cup.

NEXT UP: April 12 – LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 10:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live, TSN, TWCSN-LA.


Cal Poly Pomona
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LA Galaxy
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Absolute fanatic, especially passionate about MLS and it's growth. LA Galaxy columnist with no filter and a knack for the controversial. Travelled the world watching soccer matches, but there's no place like home.