Last night against Morelia the two L.A. central defenders stood out. Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza both had strong games, but that wasn’t the only reason they were the focus of the Mexican announcers who were calling the game where I live.
The Mexicans know that both are still eligible for the Mexican national team. While it’s a bit far-fetched to think that either of them, as American as they are, would suddenly jump ship for El Tri, that’s not what’s important here. The detail to focus on here is that Mexican soccer observers know that the duo – but especially Gonzalez — are El Tri caliber center backs.
They both play smart, tough, are relatively good with the ball at their feet, and give an aerial presence on both sides of the field.
That’s not to say either one would start for El Tri right now, but either would do well in Mexico, and it follows for the Mexican national team.
A couple conclusions follow:
First, both these guys are better center backs than Michael Orozco, who doesn’t even play center back regularly for his club in Mexico.
Second, isn’t it time for Klinsmann to give Gonzalez a serious look at center back? He’s been a part of U.S. teams before, but never for anything that counted. On form, Gonzalez and Gooch are probably the hottest CBs in the pool right now, and that would make an interesting pairing for at least one of the upcoming friendlies (though I think you leave Gooch with his club for now). Gonzalez, though, is well overdue for a call.