Omar Gonzalez Ready for Success on International Stage
Predictably, it has become an open space through which soccer fans and pundits have begun to wander.
As the United States prepares to embark next week on the final stage of qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, Gonzalez’s sparkling play over the past four seasons in Major League Soccer has left many buzzing about whether he can become a welcome stalwart on his country’s back line — if not now, then by the time the World Cup is played in Brazil, assuming the United States makes it that far.
It is a discussion Gonzalez embraces.
“What everyone is thinking, I’m thinking, too,” he said in a recent interview at a national team training camp in California. “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.”
What remains to be determined now is whether such thoughts can become reality. To some degree, it will depend on whether Gonzalez can use the training camp that is now concluding and an exhibition match on Tuesday against Canada to truly begin earning the trust of Jurgen Klinsmann, the national team’s coach.
But even amid this uncertainty, the reasons that the 24-year-old Gonzalez is now the subject of so much interest are plain to see. A strapping central defender who stands 6 feet 5 inches, he has the ability to musc…