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Toronto sign USMNT veteran Omar Gonzalez from Atlas

2:31 AM GMT+8 04/06/2019
Omar Gonzalez Atlas
The center-back makes the move back to Major League Soccer after four seasons in Mexico as he joins a TFC hoping to make it back to the playoffs

Toronto FC has signed United States international defender Omar Gonzalez from Liga MX club Atlas, the Major League Soccer side has announced.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed though Toronto revealed it used Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to complete the deal.

Gonzalez, pending a medical, will be eligible to be added to Toronto’s squad on July 9 when the MLS secondary transfer window opens.

“Omar has won numerous championships and has played on the biggest stage in world football,” Toronto FC general manager Ali Curtis said in a statement. “He is an experienced defender with over 200 appearances in MLS, including 25 playoff matches where he won five trophies in seven years.

“His experience as a player but equally as important, who he is as a person will be a welcomed addition to our group here in Toronto.”

The 30-year-old Gonzalez returns to MLS after spending four years in Mexico, first with Pachuca, then with Atlas.

The No.3 pick in the 2009 MLS Superdraft, Gonzalez became a mainstay in Bruce Arena’s LA Galaxy backline, starring at the club for seven seasons and winning three MLS Cups.

Gonzalez’s time with the Galaxy could have been shorter, but while on loan at Nurnberg in 2012, Gonzalez suffered a severe injury in training and never made an appearance with the Bundesliga side.

He returned to win the latter two of his three MLS Cups with the Galaxy before signing with Pachuca after the 2015 season.

At Pachuca he was a regular starter for two seasons and captured the Concacaf Champions League crown with the club during the 2016-17 campaign, as well as a Clausura title in 2015-16.

After seeing his role at the club decrease, Gonzalez moved to Atlas last season where he played in 28 games for the club, though he was unable to help them to the Liga MX playoffs.

As the Galaxy sold him to Pachuca, Gonzalez was subject to the MLS allocation order, in which Toronto had the first selection.

Owner of 49 caps for the United States national team, Gonzalez had been a mainstay in sides coached by Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena, and was a member of the 2014 World Cup squad.

However, Gonzalez was a starter in the USMNT’s shock 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in October 2017 which saw the nation eliminated from the 2018 World Cup on the final day of qualification, and had endured an exile from the squad.

But the hire of former Galaxy assistant Gregg Berhalter has seen a path open for Gonzalez to return to the national team, which he did in a March 1-1 friendly draw against Chile.

Gonzalez has since been named to the USMNT preliminary roster for the 2019 Gold Cup, which he will hope to win for a third time.

He joins a Toronto side looking to make it back to the postseason after missing in 2018, but sits in the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference on 18 points.