It's been a busy 48 hours for Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez. First he leaves US Men's National Team camp to "pursue a club opportunity" only to surface the next day in Germany training on a short-term loan with FC Nürnberg. Later on Thursday, photos emerge of Gonzalez on the ground, having his knee examined by a physio with reports of a collision with fellow USMNT player Timothy Chandler. This morning, the bomb drops. Omar Gonzalez will miss the next 9 months with a torn ACL in his left knee.
It's a crushing blow to the Galaxy and an even bigger blow to Gonzalez who was clearly on path to make a move overseas either in the summer or early in 2013. The Galaxy begin their foray in to the knockout stages on the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League in early March and the defense of their 2011 MLS Cup title soon after. It was already going to be a challenge with the departure of midfielder Juninho, but the loss of their star central defender is like a solid left hook right after a hard jab on the nose.
Reports say the injury was the result a hard tackle from Chandler in Gonzalez's first training session with Der Club, talk about bad luck considering 2012 is the final year of contract with the Galaxy. Instead of auditioning for a chance to play in Europe, something he was clearly interested in, he'll be off the radar in rehab, though I expect there will still be plenty of interest in the 23-year old defender when he returns.
Gonzalez is already on his way back to the US for surgery and there should be more information about the extent of the injury and his timetable for return once the surgery and further evaulation is completed. He had been scheduled to be on loan at Nürnberg until February 15th. The Galaxy acknowledged the injury in a post on their website while Omar had this to say on Twitter this morning:
Still in shock that this happened. Your support and well wishes will carry me through a strong (and hopefully quick) recovery!— Omar Gonzalez (@Omar4Gonzalez) January 6, 2012