Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
Despite injuring his knee just weeks before the start of pre-World Cup camp, Omar Gonzalez is “feeling great.”
The 25-year-old defender injured his left knee earlier this month when the LA Galaxy took on the Colorado Rapids, giving plenty of people a reason to worry about his World Cup status. Despite being limited during the first few days of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s training camp at Stanford University, Gonzalez is raring to go ahead of next month’s World Cup.
“I’m feeling great,” Gonzalez said. “I’m involved in all of the training now and I’m very happy about that. It was a bit frustrating being on the sideline for the first couple of days but, now that I’m back, I’m happy to be working hard with the guys. Practices have been really intense and fun.”
Gonzalez will now be tasked with getting back to playing at the highest level while working to get his fitness back.
“Coming into camp with this injury, I felt like I needed to work harder than most of the guys, but also be smart and not do anything to hurt myself in that process,” Gonzalez explained. “I worked closely with all of the doctors, with all of the coaching staff here to make sure that we did things the right way. I happened to be back a couple of days before expected, so that’s great.
“I think I was being pushed pretty hard,” Gonzalez added. “I felt like before I got injured, I was probably the fittest I had been in a really long time and I was in a very good place. This injury happened and kind of set me back a couple of days, but I’m feeling great right now. My focus right now is doing everything in my power to make my teammates better and get them ready for the World Cup and just enjoying every single day here.”
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has now urged Gonzalez to get back to the level he was at last summer when he appeared to have seized the role as starting centerback.
“I definitely took it as a challenge and it’s also to be expected,” Gonzalez said. “We were in the beginning of our season and we were just starting to get going and I knew full well that in a couple more games, I’d be back to where I was during the summer. You want to be at your best during the summer time and that’s where I’m at now.”