Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Omar Gonzalez returns to US after 2-year absence
HOUSTON -- Defender Omar Gonzalez has returned to the U.S. national team lineup after a two-year absence.
The 6-foot-5 Los Angeles Galaxy defender started at center back in Tuesday night's exhibition game against Canada, among 11 changes U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made from November's 2-2 tie at Russia.
He was on a backline with three players making their national team debuts: right back Tony Beltran, center back Matt Besler and left back Justin Morrow.
Kyle Beckerman was in midfield, joined by Brad Evans, Graham Zusi and Brad Davis, who plays for the Houston Dynamo and was suiting up for the U.S. for the first time since 2010. Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski were at forward. Wondolowski, who turned 30 on Monday, was still seeking his first goal for the Americans in his 10th appearance.
Gonzalez made his national team debut in August 2010 against Brazil and played against Chile the following January. He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last January on his first day training with Nuremberg and returned to the field for the Galaxy on July 4.
The U.S. went with an all-Major League Soccer starting lineup; the regulars stayed with their European clubs for matches this weekend. They will report to Miami on Sunday and Monday ahead of the opening game of the final round of World Cup qualifying, at Honduras on Feb. 6.
Tosaint Ricketts and Russell Teibert were the starting forwards for Canada, coming off a 4-0 loss to Denmark in Tucson on Saturday. Dwayne De Rosario, Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault, Kyle Bekker and Terry Dunfield started in midfield and Nik Ledgerwood, Ashtone Morgan, Nana Attakora and Dejan Jakovic were starting on defense.
Simon Thomas started in goal for Canada. Thomas replaced Lars Hirschfeld in the second half of the Denmark game.
Canada, already eliminated from qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil, is preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.