Morning Read: The Day of Omar Gonzalez's Reckoning
Like it or not, the young center back will be under immense pressure when the United States takes on Canada in Houston Tuesday night; Brek Shea is on the move; ASN makes some upgrades.
January 29, 2013
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Game day is finally upon us, and 24-year-old Omar Gonzalez is ready to seize the opportunity. “I’m thinking I can be the guy that fills the shoes of the guys that are getting older and reaching the end of their career,” he says. What aging capt... er, center back could he be alluding to? Frankly, it’s hard to see Gonzalez not getting a spot in the starting lineup tonight. We’re sorry for abusing the word “opportunity” over the last few weeks, but this friendly could truly be the hulking defender’s jumping off point in a long, prosperous career with the national team. And in today’s bizarre Klinsmann quote, coach cites “the way [Gonzalez] walks through the hotel,” as a sign of a “very focused and driven Omar Gonzalez, which is wonderful for us to see.”
Where in the world is Brek Shea? Just days after a supposed deal with Stoke City apparently fell through, it appears that a $3.5-$4 million deal has been reached for the winger to join Stoke, pending a physical. FC Dallas released a statement that Shea is indeed traveling to Europe, and that they’ve “received interest from a number of European clubs” but “there is no deal in place with any club and we have no further details at this time.” Shea seems to be getting back to fitness after his injury, returning to training on Friday.
Speaking of Stoke, manager Tony Pulis says Geoff Cameron should be back for today’s match against Wigan after the defender sat out Saturday’s FA Cup tie: “He’s been complaining about one or two muscle problems, which is probably down to the fact that he isn’t used to the amount of games he’s played over the last twelve months.” Sounds like Cameron just needed a weekend off, which is good news considering the uncertainty surrounding Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson. Still, assuming he plays today and also Saturday, that’ll mean he’s playing two matches in four days, with a World Cup qualifier just four days after that. Yikes.
Klinsmann looks back at January camp and the shifting attitude amongst the players:
“Our players are knocking at the door now, strongly, they want to steal somebody else’s spot. And I think they got a sense for how this fight really works, it all goes through performance. Show me what you can do, show me how responsible you are, show me how strong you are, show me how hungry you are. And they got that. If you do that day in, day out, sooner or later you will steal somebody else’s spot. And that’s what soccer is all about. You want to get to the next level? You’ve got to kick somebody out.”
It’s interesting he makes such a point of having to overtake other players right now, considering that most of the mainstays aren’t around. But that mindset is going to be crucial for the younger players over the course of the year, with qualifiers and the Gold Cup on tap.
Honduras released its roster for the Feb. 6 World Cup qualifier. Andy Najar and Roger Espinoza are names you’ll know. (Want to know more?) The 19-year-old Najar has been on loan with Anderlecht, but is yet to appear in a match for the Belgian league leaders.
Former United States manager Bob Bradley is the subject of a feature in King Fut. Touching piece. The man deserves a lot of credit.
The English, apparently, think American soccer is improving. Thanks for noticing, guys!