Omar Gonzalez can’t wait for Steven Gerrard to arrive as his LA Galaxy teammate in July.
Gonzalez, 26, is one of LA’s three Designated Players alongside Gerrard and Robbie Keane and the U.S. national team center back is eager for the Liverpool legend to arrive and expects him to have a big impact in Major League Soccer.
[ RELATED: Best week ever for U.S.? ]
Speaking to ProSoccerTalk, Gonzalez also reflected on an incredible week for U.S. Soccer (more on that here) and LA’s tough start to the 2015 MLS season, as well as talking about the Pass The Love campaign he has been getting behind to support the USWNT on their quest for World Cup glory in Canada this summer.
Asked if Gerrard’s arrival and star-power would be similar to the impact made by former LA Galaxy superstar’s Landon Donovan and David Beckham, Gonzalez had the following to say.
“Absolutely,” Gonzalez said. “It is about their wisdom of the game and how many years experience they have. Being comforted by that fact that they have so many years under their belt definitely makes the players around those key players show up and want to play better. I think he [Gerrard] is going to be great and be just like Landon Donovan and David Beckham were for us.”
Gonzalez will be hoping that Gerrard’s arrival in July — the former Liverpool and England captain is expected to make his LA debut in an International Champions Cup match vs. Club America on July 11 at the StubHub Center — will kick-start LA’s season as Bruce Arena’s men sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with just 22 points from 17 games.
“The first half of the season was definitely difficult for us with the amount of injuries we’ve had and lineup changes we’ve had. It has been very difficult but we are still in a great position,” Gonzalez said. “We managed to keep ourselves in striking distance. For us, we know it is a long season. We definitely didn’t want to start the way we started but it is what it is. We are in it now and have to look forward and look to improve our game by doing everything on the field and making sure that we make the playoffs. And if we are one of the teams in the playoffs, then we go from there.”
LA have drawn seven of their opening 17 games this season and have scored just 16 goals through the first half of the campaign. Could Gerrard’s arrival spark an offensive breakout?
“I definitely hope so,” Gonzalez said. “He is a tremendous player and I can’t wait to see him arrive but we have a lot of work to do before he gets here. He is a guy who can definitely turn those draws into wins and he is a game-changer, a guy who can pick the right pass at the right weight or go forward and score the goals himself. I am really looking forward to his arrival.”
Gonzalez has won three MLS Cups with LA — scoring a pivotal goal in the 2011 final — since being drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and although he can’t wait to see Gerrard strut his stuff in an LA jersey, the Texan is also looking forward to learning from Gerrard’s wealth of experience off the field.
“Straight away I am hoping he can be one of those players that will bring a lot of leadership. That is something that is always helpful for any team, to have a player like that,” Gonzalez said. “I think we all know what he can do on the field with his talents but I think definitely his leadership and his wisdom for for the game will definitely be helpful as well.”
Gonzalez and his Galaxy teammates are excited for Gerrard’s arrival but the USMNT defender also believes the rest of MLS can’t wait for the talismanic English midfielder to arrive.
“Everyone is excited for him to come. Not only the players and the LA Galaxy fans but players around the league, fans around the league are all excited to play against him but also excited to watch him play. I think the buzz is great all around MLS.”