But you can bet he'll have a rooting interest in Monday's MLS is Back Tournament Final presented by Wells Fargo between Orlando City and the Portland Timbers (8:30 pm ET | ESPN/Deportes, TSN, TVA Sports), which features former Dallas coach Oscar Pareja guiding the Lions.
"I want to see Oscar reach his goal, because I know if I was in his position, he would send me a lot of positivity and optimism," Gonzalez said during the Spanish-language portion of a conference call on Monday. "I talked with him during (the COVID-19 cluster that impacted Dallas) in Orlando and he was always supporting me and offering me what resources he could to help the team, and that’s the human part that’s very important.
"We love this sport, we love to compete, but there are relationships in the league between coaches that also very positive. I wish the best for both, but me personally, I support Oscar, his coaches and players to become champions.”
Gonzalez was Dallas' academy director during Pareja's five-year tenure at the club, a stretch that included a U.S. Open Cup and Supporters' Shield title in 2016, and the development of a boatload of promising young talent.
After Pareja departed for Club Tijuana following the expiration of his contract with Dallas, Gonzalez ascended to the role.
"I am here as coach of FC Dallas in large part due to the model of development that I studied with those coaches. I have all the respect in the world for them and I support them to reach their goal. But at the same time, no disrespect to Portland — they very much deserve to be in the final, they’re a very good team and are in a great moment … and they can win."
Another former charge of Pareja's, now-Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman, also voiced his support for his former coach when speaking to the media on Monday. Under Pareja, Dallas made Zimmerman the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft and oversaw his development into a US national team center back before he was traded to LAFC ahead of the 2018 season.
“I was under Oscar for a few years, and know how he prepares his teams to play, especially in these types of games,” Zimmerman told Extratime on Monday. “I think they’re going to come out hot. It’s good to see Nani have a good tournament. And ultimately I think even though there’s no fans I think it seems like they have this vibe of doing if for their city.”