FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution defender Omar Gonzalez says he feels ‘honored’ to be back in the Revs’ starting XI, and delighted to have contributed to Wednesday night’s win over the New York Red Bulls.
The 34-year-old celebrated his 250th career start in MLS with three points and a crucial shutout in his second full game in a matter of days, deputizing for Andrew Farrell, as Giacomo Vrioni’s ninth goal in all competitions clinched victory at Gillette Stadium.
Producing a fine individual display which saw the center back record a team-high four interceptions and four clearances, Gonzalez earned plenty of acclaim from assistant coach Richie Williams and the Revolution fans for his efforts.
Reflecting on the hard-fought win, the defender declared he was thrilled to have made such a positive impact, revealing he prides himself on clean sheet performances.
“It was really nice to be out there in Montréal, and to get the start again tonight was a pleasure and an honor to wear the jersey again,” he stated.
“To get the shutout is all I play for. That makes me the happiest when I'm playing a game and we're able to get the shutout and get the three points.
“I think defensively it's been a good couple of games. I thought we did a good job defensively as a whole unit in Montréal, but lacked a little bit going forward, and tonight we put the whole package together.
“In the back we were solid, the two in front of us were helping out a lot, and then when we had the chances, we went forward and were very dangerous with the combinations up top.
“I think we caused a lot of problems for New York. We were unlucky not to score a couple more, but I thought it was a great team performance and I’m just super happy for the guys.
“It’s just an amazing feeling, and we go again on Saturday [against Austin FC].”
Gonzalez lined up at center back alongside Dave Romney, who has played every minute of MLS and Leagues Cup action for New England this season.
An experienced head and consistent anchor in the Revs backline this term, the 30-year-old also starred against the Red Bulls, notching six clearances to add to his team-leading tally, and winning eight of his nine duels.
However, Romney’s influential display came as no surprise to Gonzalez, who was full of praise for his teammate, asserting the pair share a solid partnership.
“It's funny, he just mentioned that his first start in his career was with me back at [LA] Galaxy,” Gonzalez continued. “So, to be playing with him again is awesome.
“He's been incredible back there for us this entire season. He’s been there every single game, and for me, I'm an experienced player.
“It doesn't matter who I'm playing with, and it's really easy to play with Dave.”
Gonzalez was also proud of the Revolution’s togetherness across the board, with the squad demonstrating their battling qualities and team ethic in a feisty encounter in Foxborough to grind out the three points.
The defender believes the victory signaled a strong statement of the team’s spirit, and hopes the triumph will prove to be a springboard to further success, as New England look to mount a strong playoff push, starting with Saturday’s visit of Austin.
“I felt that,” he said of the physicality of the game. “When Carles [Gil] got fouled out there, the pushing, guys ran from everywhere to come support him, and that's what you need: a team that's together that fights for each other.
“It's in those moments where you really feel that camaraderie, that chemistry. And anyone else comes at us again, we're all going to be ready.”