Just about a week ago we were discussing the decision made by Omar Gonzalez to snub the US Men's National Team annual January camp in search of "greener pastures," aka a loan opportunity in Europe. Well, Omar found what he was looking for, but unfortunately for him and US fans alike, things haven't worked out quite the way he planned.
After suffering an ACL tear during his first training session with Nurnberg, apparently caused by a tackle from fellow USMNTer Timmy Chandler, debates have hit the soccer world by storm as to whether or not the idea of an off-season loan is truly worth the "risk." Gonzalez will be sidelined anywhere from 4 to 6 months, but the latter is the more likely diagnosis when you are dealing with an injury as serious as an ACL tear.
The phrase, "hinsidight is 20/20", has been thrown around by members of the media and fans after this devastating event, implying that Gonzo should have never taken the loan deal and instead stayed in camp with the National Team. In all honesty, does anyone actually think Gonzalez is to blame for this unfortunate injury?
I empathize with the Galaxy and fellow US supporters who are angered by Gonzo's decision and his subsequent injury, but who is to say that Gonzalez wouldn't have gotten hurt at Klinsmann's camp. Injuries occur all the time, whether it's in training, during a match, or even during the course of everyday life. What do you want Gonzalez to do? Not play soccer? An opportunity to play in one of Europe's top leagues does not present itself every day and any true competitor will undoubtedly want to test themselves at the highest level. With that being said, Jurgen Klinsmann also made it known that it was "totally cool" with him that Omar went to Germany. As we all know, Jurgen is the main proponent when it comes to the idea of MLSers testing themselves overseas during their off season.
For those US fans who are disappointed that we will not see Omar suit up for the red, white, and blue in January friendlies against Venezuela and Panama, well I certainly feel your pain, as I was one those fans eager to see Omar don the star & stripes again. In all fairness to Gonzalez's decision, Klinsmann has preached that he will reward players who are excelling at the club level, especially those who are doing so in major leagues. Omar was just listening to his commander's orders if you ask me an by no means do I think this move would have hurt Gonzo's chances with the National Team. In fact, if he was able to excel, then it would have created an even better case for him to be a prominent part of the US backline moving forward.
At the end of the day, I don't see this one instance swaying the minds' of players and management from making similar moves. Well, MLS management groups may begin to ask for some sort of insurance clause, but that's about it. If you ask just about any player they will chalk this injury up to a fluke, an extremely unlucky situation, and essentially a part of the game, because let's face it, soccer or football is a contact sport and injuries do occur.
So, can we all take one giant step back, relax, and realize that yes this was an unfortunate break for Gonzalez and everyone involved but it shouldn't deter our talented youth from striving to be the best at their profession, end of story.
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