Omar Gonzalez hoping to make long-awaited return to LA Galaxy in Monday's showdown vs. Seattle
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez is still targeting the LA Galaxy’s showdown ON Monday night at Seattle for his return from an ankle injury suffered at the World Cup, but there’s no certainty that he’ll be ready – or that Bruce Arena will use him if he is.
Gonzalez, who had hoped in vain to get a few minutes in the Galaxy’s friendly on Wednesday against Manchester United, was finally training fully with the Galaxy when they began preparations Friday for the game with the Western Conference-leading Sounders (10 pm ET; ESPN2). His sore right ankle is still bothering him, and Arena is taking a wait-and-see approach.
"This is really kind of like the first training session he’s had to any extent," LA’s head coach said after Friday’s session at StubHub Center. "We’ll see how he is tomorrow and Sunday before we decide anything. We didn’t think he was good enough to go [against Manchester United], so it’s a day at a time with him.
"It’s just getting him back into playing again. He’s been away from our team for about three months, he hasn’t played in maybe about a month or so, three weeks. So it takes a little time."
Gonzalez, who last played for the Galaxy in a May 3 loss at Colorado, is hopeful he’ll get the call.
"Still very optimistic about Monday," he said. "Thought it best just to miss the Manchester game, make sure that I get healthy for Monday because that’s the most important game. ... I could have played a couple minutes [on Wednesday], but we thought an extra day could help me. So now, hopefully, that day off will help me, and, hopefully, I will go 90 minutes on Monday."
First he must show Arena and his staff that he’s capable of doing so, and he acknowledged that he also needs to convince himself that he’s healthy enough to go.
"Today is my best day since I’ve been back, so I’m feeling good, feeling confident," Gonzalez said. "I just want to show the coaches, give them some confidence in where I feel that I’m at, and just take these next two days to really give it a good go and push myself."
Gonzalez has missed LA’s last 14 games, including two US Open Cup matches and the friendly, with first a minor knee injury sustained against the Rapids, then his World Cup duties, and now the past four MLS encounters after rolling his right ankle late in the United States’ Round-of-16 loss to Belgium in Brazil. The Galaxy’s next game, after Monday, is Aug. 2 at home against Portland.
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Recouping game fitness, he said, is "one of the issues."
"Obviously, the injury that I had just takes time to recover from, but when you get injured, the one [issue] is always, ‘Are you game fit, are you ready to go 90 minutes?’” he said. "And I think I am."
CenturyLink Field’s artificial surface could have some say in whether Gonzalez is in the lineup or among the substitutes.
"That’s been thrown around a bit, but at some point, you just have to come back from it," he said. "Can’t wait until it’s 100 percent, but I’m going to give it 100 percent of what I’ve got and see how it goes.
"I want to help this team as much as possible, and if that means resting another game, then that’s what it means. But I’m hoping that I can play on Monday. I really want to get back with the team."