CARSON, Calif. – Throughout his successful two-year stint in Major League Soccer, Los Angeles Galaxy forward Omar Gonzalez has made a name of himself by playing tough-as-nails defense.
But Gonzalez has a burning desire to succeed on the other side of the field.
“I’m always looking to score a goal, every single game I play,” Gonzalez said.
The second-year man was able to accomplish just that in the playoffs as he knocked in a header off a free kick from David Beckham. The goal gave the Galaxy an insurmountable 3-0 aggregate lead as they went on to knock Seattle out of the MLS Cup playoffs.
Gonzalez buries Beckham's freekick
A finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year, Gonzalez said he hopes to continue developing his finishing skills.
“Last week was a good showing for me,” he said. “I think that I got a little bit of momentum so hopefully I can keep on putting in the effort to get in the right spot so hopefully I can get another one.”
Nevertheless, Gonzalez will be counted on for his defensive skills when FC Dallas visit the Home Depot Center Sunday (8 p.m. CT, ESPN2/Deportes). The winner of the Western Conference Championship will advance to MLS Cup 2010, to be played in Toronto on Nov. 21.
FC Dallas visited the Galaxy just weeks ago as the two teams met to close out the season at the HDC on Oct. 24. While Los Angeles were adamant before the start of the playoffs that the regular season meant nothing, Gonzalez said the season finale was still in the forefront of their thoughts.
PURCHASE: Western Conference Championship tickets
“That was a good preparation game for playoffs,” he said. “We went down a goal early and the whole team did well to come back and fight for that win. That was very high, fast-paced, guys fighting up the sides, in the middle. There’s a lot to take away from that game. It’s fresh in our minds.
"Of course they’re going to come out with a lot more heart, a lot more bite. We’ve got to be aware of the significance but be absorbed in the substance of the game and try and focus on that.”
FC Dallas were a difficult to team to beat during the season as they lost just four times. However, that statement probably rings true for the other 14 teams in MLS. The Galaxy, after all, swept FCD away during the regular season.
While Gonzalez said he does not expect to give LA any sort of psychological advantage, he said he expects Dallas to be fired up because of it. Still, Gonzalez said he is ready for whatever challenge FC Dallas poses.
“They probably want one back,” he said. “We beat them twice already. They think they’re going to want to come here and take us down, but we’re not going to give up easily. We never have this whole year."
"We’ve shown that we’re the top team, we haven’t been in second place and we’re definitely not going to just bend over and take it. We’re going to go for the win.”