Pachuca have bolstered their defensive options with the addition of Omar Gonzalez from LA Galaxy. The center-back was officially announced by Pachuca as one of nine new signings during a Star Wars-themed unveiling on Tuesday morning.
Gonzalez, 27, becomes the third United States international to play for Pachuca, following the footsteps of Jose Francisco Torres and Heculez Gomez.
From a Pachuca perspective, Gonzalez will go straight into the mix of things for a starting spot along with new defensive signings Stefan Medina and Oscar Murillo.
The 2015 Apertura was a difficult one for the Tuzos. The club went through a sporadic season and fell four spots short of a playoff berth.
Despite being in the forefront of youth development in Mexico and boasting of promising attacking players like Erick Gutierrez and Hirving Lozano, Pachuca had the worst defensive record in the league - conceding 33 goals in 18 games.
The question then on the minds of both fans in the United States and Mexico is how will Omar Gonzalez fit at Pachuca?
For starters, competition already exists and Gonzalez is unlikely to emerge as the immediate first-choice center back. In addition to Stefan Medina's ability to play through the middle, Aquivaldo Mosquera is the team's longstanding captain, and Oscar Murillo was bought from Atletico Nacional with the idea of partnering his Colombian teammate.
But standing at 6'5, it is clear Gonzalez has a physical edge. One would expect him to make use of his physical attributes to win most aerial challenges in Liga MX. He is also a danger on set-pieces, the kind of physical presence inside the box Pachuca have been crying out for.
His lack of comfort in possession does harm his chances, however. Pachuca manager Diego Alonso is the kind of manager that likes his defenders to step out of defense with the ball on their feet. Gonzalez will need to think fast and learn to pass forward between the lines, as well as to transition the ball down the flank for Hirving Lozano and Jonathan Urretaviscaya.
Like with any transfer, there are never any guarantees, but even if he isn't a first-choice center back to begin the season, he won't be completely denied minutes. Diego Alonso likes to rotate his center-backs occasionally, and for Gonzalez, this means the possibility of earning his place in the starting lineup.
He should also be aided by the fact that he has a dual US-Mexico citizenship. Gonzalez was born to Mexican parents and can play in Mexico without taking up a foreign-player spot. Even if Gonzalez fails to take off immediately, Pachuca are more likely to retain him than his South American counterparts.
For a team whose defense could prove crucial in determining how far they go in the season, Gonzalez looks a great option. At 27 years old, Gonzalez is far from a finished product. With strong physical attributes and a hunger to learn, he has more than enough potential to make him an interesting project.
Speaking to the press for the first time, Gonzalez admitted adapting to his new team will be "something of a difficulty", but if he manages to succeed, he may help a young Pachuca side in a big way. For now, may the force be with Omar.