CARSON, Calif. – It’s no coincidence that the LA Galaxy’s summer rebirth coincided with the return of Omar Gonzalez.
In Saturday’s 3-1 win, the Houston Dynamo got a clear view as to why.
When his team needed a goal most it was the center back – not LA’s Designated Player attacking trio - that came through when he out-jumped Bobby Boswell and Kofi Sarkodie to score a header and put the Galaxy back in the game.
The goal capped a stellar performance and, frankly, one that the Dynamo expected would happen.
“Omar Gonzalez, in my book, is a guy that should get called up to the national team every time,” goalkeeper Tally Hall told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s a good player, everybody knows that. It’s tough to defend against speed. It’s tough to defend against height.”
Gonzalez put both to good use on Saturday and the goal was a prime example. His active nature made him a nuisance to Houston’s attack and that same ability came through when he beat the mark of two Dynamo players to score the goal that set LA off and running.
“He’s pretty much one of their main targets on set pieces,” Dynamo striker Brian Ching said. “We had him marked up, but sometimes on those scramble plays … give credit to him he out-jumped Kofi. Kofi was right there with him. We made it difficult for him and he just had a good header.”
It was a goal that was won on LA’s ability to capitalize on set pieces and crosses. The Galaxy got several bites at the apple in succession, and the goal was a catalyst for Houston’s downfall.
“Everything was working for him tonight,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear about Gonzalez. “His timing. Against Seattle last week in Seattle I don’t think he was as dominant. I think his timing was off a little bit. Everything was working for him tonight.”
"Tonight he was on his game," Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis said. "He played a very good game and when a player like that is on top of his game, he’s tough to beat."
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.