Omar Gonzalez seeks to add to MLS trophy case in Toronto

Omar Gonzalez, winner of three MLS Cup titles and two Supporters' Shields, wants to win more trophies, this time with Toronto FC.

He will join the Reds on July 9 when the summer transfer window opens. The move comes after he spent the last three and a half seasons in Mexico at Pachuca and Atlas.

His seven seasons with the LA Galaxy coincided with its best run in its history. His individual and team honors included:

-- 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year;
-- 2011 MLS Defender of the Year;
-- 2011, 2012, 2014 MLS Best XI pick;
-- 2010, 2011 MLS Supporters' Shield champion;
-- 2011, 2012, 2014 MLS champion.

Gonzalez, 30, won Liga MX's Torneo Clausura in his first season in Mexico with Pachuca and the Concacaf Champions League title a year later. He started 28 games in 2018-19 with Atlas after making only 12 appearances for Pachuca in 2017-18.

His transfer to TFC almost happened before the end of the primary transfer window in May, but it was held up as Atlas was in the process of being sold. (The sale to the Grupo Orlegi -- which owns Santos and Tampico Madero -- was finalized two weeks ago at Liga MX's annual meetings.)

"This deal could have got done a while ago," said Gonzalez in a conference call in Monday, "but it fell through. I'm really happy we were able to finalize a deal this time around."

The move to sign Gonzalez with TAM marked the second time in six months Toronto FC used the first spot in Allocation Ranking to bring back a player to MLS. Laurent Ciman, another former MLS Defender of the Year, was signed in December.

Toronto FC needs help in the back. Despite the presence of fellow Texan Drew Moor and Chris Mavinga, his partner at center back when the Reds won MLS Cup 2017, and Ciman, the Reds have struggled, ranking 17th out of 24 teams with 23 goals allowed in 14 games (1.64 goals-per game).

They began the season with a 5-2-1 record but are winless in their last six games and dropped to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, above the red line over Orlando City and Chicago thanks to tiebreakers.

The Reds see Gonzalez, who scored 12 goals in seven seasons with the Galaxy, as someone who can also contribute in attack, where he is a threat on corner kicks.

"Adding Omar will improve our team," GM Ali Curtis said in a statement. "He is a great competitor that will approach every training session and match with a high level of intensity. He'll also be able to add a greater presence in the air for us, both offensively and defensively."

Gonzalez is currently in the U.S. national team camp in Annapolis, where it is preparing for the 2019 Gold Cup. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter, a teammate at the Galaxy and mentor throughout his career, brought Gonzalez back for the March friendlies, starting him in the 1-1 tie with Chile.

Gonzalez is one of five center backs likely competing for four spots. The Gold Cup roster will be announced on Thursday.

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1 comment about "Omar Gonzalez seeks to add to MLS trophy case in Toronto".
  1. Richard Broad, June 4, 2019 at 6:07 p.m.

    Glad to see Omar with another opportunity. He has had a fine career which. It would be nice for him to go out on top.

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