CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez won't be ready to play this week and might need a little more time to deal with his ailing left knee, Bruce Arena says, but it ought not get in the way of the big center back's World Cup hopes.
Arena said Thursday that Gonzalez's injury, suffered near the end of the first half in the LA Galaxy's defeat last weekend at Colorado, was “just a little tweak on his knee” and that he will be out “anywhere from, I'd say, a week to two weeks.”
Arena provided no additional details but said he expected Gonzalez would join US World Cup preparations next week in Northern California. He'd next play for the Galaxy, if the injury is no more severe than LA is letting on, after the Americans' World Cup has ended.
Gonzalez wasn't made available to media. Arena said he was “in the training room, making progress.”
Second-year center back Kofi Opare, who stepped in when Gonzalez exited in Colorado, is expected to partner Leonardo in central defense when LA visit Portland on Sunday (2:30 pm ET, NBCSN). Opare impressed while starting next to Gonzalez in the final weeks of last season.
“He's a better player this year than he was last year,” Arena said of Opare. “Remains to be seen if he's a player that can play regular minutes, but I think he had a good showing on Saturday, and, hopefully, we'll continue to see a little bit more when Omar disappears [for the World Cup].”
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Tommy Meyer and A.J. DeLaGarza are also options in the middle. DeLaGarza has been playing at left back during Todd Dunivant's absence with an abdominal tear, and Meyer has played three full games in the USL Pro with the Galaxy II reserve team after coming back from a preseason injury.
Opare made his first-team season debut against the Rapids after recovering from a preseason abductor strain. He's made four appearances in the USL PRO with the Galaxy II reserve team.
“The last time I played [with the first team] was last season in the playoffs,” Opare said, “so it was good to get a run on the field and get used to the speed on play in MLS.”