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The <i>Other</i> Football: Omar Gonzalez is alive and well and enjoying Liga MX

Omar Gonzalez. (Photo: Courtesy Fútbol Club de Pachuca)

Omar Gonzalez. (Photo: Courtesy Fútbol Club de Pachuca)

Life must be good right now for Omar Gonzalez, the U.S. international defender, who left the L.A. Galaxy last month to join Pachuca in Mexico’s Liga MX.

Saturday’s 4-1 win over Club América at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City assured Los Tuzos (as the team is known) an unbeaten run (two wins and a draw) going into next week’s fourth round of games in the Clausura.

Los Tuzos sit in third place behind first place León and second place Monterrey. Gonzalez had a hand in two of his team’s goals.

He granted Fox News Latino’s "The Other Football" his first English language interview since signing in December just ahead of the Club América game.

Fox News Latino: How are you settling in?

Omar Gonzalez:  “Everything has been super easy; the transition of life has been amazing. I mean, I have not missed L.A. at all. I'm enjoying myself here in Mexico. My family just arrived, so it just keeps on getting better, and the soccer is amazing.

I'm loving my team, my teammates are great, the coaching staff is great, the training day-in, day-out is awesome, so there's not much more that I can ask for. Everything is good off the field, and on the field is great, so life here is good.”

FNL: Was leaving the L.A. Galaxy easy?

OG: No, it's never an easy decision. It was never just me making the decision. There were plenty of people. I reached out to former players, current players, my parents, my family, my wife, and coaches.

FNL: Did you seek guidance from U.S. national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann?

OG: When I sat down and talked with Jürgen, [moving to] Mexico was still a long shot and, being in MLS was more what I was going to do. So it was after the talk with Jürgen that this offer came in. But, sure, I talked with Jürgen … It was good input.

FNL: Does the Mexican game differ from the MLS game?

OG: The game is a little bit slower [in Mexico]. You have more of the ball, and you have to pick the times you want to go forward and you want to attack. Both leagues are very competitive. People get the wrong idea that MLS is easy. That’s not the case. So I'd say that Liga MX is just as hard or even harder. There are a lot of quality players here – a lot of teams that want to win the championship.

FNL: Would you encourage other American’s to play here?

OG: I would definitely encourage more Americans to try out this league. From my experience so far, it's been top-class here at Pachuca. I don't know how other clubs are run, but I can tell you … from what I'm experiencing here at Pachuca, it’s been top-class.

FNL: What’s it like playing in front of such intense fans?

OG: So far in my first two games, the atmosphere has been great. But, to be honest, I don't really notice it too much when I'm focused in on the game. I do notice it when there are stoppages in the game due to injury or something like that, and I get a chance to catch my breath and look up and see all the fans going crazy. So that's been pretty awesome.

FNL: Can Pachuca win the Clausura [the “closing” half of the Liga MX season]?

OG: That's thinking too far ahead. I think we just have to take it week by week. As far as talking about championships, it's still too early, and we just need to focus on what we can control right now. I think we have the quality, but there's still too much time, and a lot of things can happen. We just need to worry about who's next.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the Mexican league is something new to me, and so far I'm enjoying it as much as Gonzalez seems to.

Video of the week

Charlie Austin came on in the 79th minute for his Southampton debut against Manchester United on Saturday. Eight minutes later, he scored, leading his new team to a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.  

 

Nice one, Charlie!

From the wires

The L.A. Galaxy have acquired defender Jelle Van Damme from Belgian club Standard Liege.

The MLS club announced the move Tuesday.

Van Damme has been Standard Liege's captain since 2011, making 205 appearances with 22 goals and 27 assists. The 32-year-old defender has played professionally in Belgium, England, Germany and the Netherlands, making 22 appearances with Ajax early in his career.

Van Damme also has made 30 appearances for the Belgian national team since 2003.

The Galaxy began training camp last week without completing their long-anticipated signing of former England defender Ashley Cole, who left Roma earlier this month. The Galaxy also are interested in Nigel de Jong, the AC Milan midfielder and Dutch international.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.