For Omar Gonzalez, the national team journey has been one of considerable whiplash. In 2013 he used the January camp to relaunch his national team career after an injury, becoming one of the two starting center backs for the national team. A second injury this season set Gonzalez back yet again, and suddenly he went from national team favorite to possibly not making the plane. As a result, his approach to the team had to change quickly.
"Earlier on I had specific goals," said Omar Gonzalez, "but after the injury coming into camp it was a question of even making the roster. All personal goals went out the window, and I just wanted to work hard to make the team."
Setting aside those goals worked out for Gonzalez, who was able to earn his spot on the plane while working back from injury. In the third matchup on the group stage, Gonzalez even got to start and go the full ninety minutes. He told reporters that he didn't expect to start, as Klinsmann hadn't made many changes between the first and second games, but had kept himself ready in case his name was called.
Now we have to wait and see is Gonzalez gets to start a second World Cup match or if he'll have yet another role against Belgium. He played a bit of defensive midfielder against Portugal in the dying minutes, and certainly should things remain close late his prowess on set pieces may be called upon. Gonzalez told reporters he's good to go if he's needed.
"I want to go out there and be mobile," said Gonzalez, "provide cover. We want to be more aggressive."
It'll be interesting to see who Klinsmann does go with today, but it's worth wagering that Gonzalez has put some of the doubters to rest. He had a fine performance against Germany, and should he partner with Matt Besler in the middle the United States defense will be tough to break down.