It is certainly fair to debate whether the U.S. choice of center backs was the right one last week in Honduras.
Would U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann have been wiser to keep team captain Carlos Bocanegra on the field for one more match? Then, perhaps in the coming home contest against Honduras, he could have made the “big switch,” adding Omar Gonzalez alongside Geoff Cameron as the first-choice central defensive pairing going forward.
Clearly, Klinsmann is gambling a little here, reckoning that it’s time to go younger and get the men on the field who will be needed in Brazil next summer – with the assumption of safe arrival, that is.
The silver lining is that Gonzalez will never make the same mistake. He “switched off for a second,” lost his mark and the United States gave up a game-winning goal. (Obviously, other mistakes were made, too.)
And it sounds like Gonzalez has walked away from the experience, his first major test at the international level, with the right attitude about it all. Gonzalez is back in the Galaxy camp now; what he told the LA Galaxy team blog:
It was definitely tough; it was a test of your mental strength. It really took a lot out of players, the heat and the crowd in the first half was a lot. But you just learn from that stuff and try hard on every single play. That will take you a long way.
“That was one game, I think that there were certain plays that you have to look at, but on the day, it was just a tough game, a tough field, a tough environment and now you move on. You just keep on trying to get better and stay at a top level and now I just need to play better for the Galaxy.”