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Bruce Arena doesn’t want to use Omar Gonzalez as a scapegoat

The center back struggled in his first season in New England.

MLS: New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls

When Bruce Arena brought in Omar Gonzalez, New England Revolution fans were hoping that the veteran center back could be a solid backup who could also be a starter on occasion. That didn’t happen.

Due to injuries, Gonzalez was thrust into the starting XI and showed every bit of his 33 years once he began receiving minutes. Whether it be poor ball movement, poor marking, or simple miscommunications, Gonzalez never found his groove.

Back at the end of May when New England was defeated by the Philadelphia Union at home, a flubbed back pass by Gonzalez led to a Union goal. On Sunday, after being substituted into the game in stoppage time, a miscommunication by Gonzalez and Djordje Petrovic led to the Chicago Fire tying the game.

But after the draw, Arena wasn’t ready to blame the center back.

“Well, I’m not sure that’s a fair statement to make or fair to just use [Omar Gonzalez] as a scapegoat today, so I’m just going to kind of ignore that question,” Arena said when asked about Gonzalez’s repeated mistakes by WPRO’s Tom Quinlan.

After the disappointing performance from Gonzalez in 2022, fans might be hoping that New England will cut ties with the center back. Well, Gonzalez’s contract runs through the 2023 season, meaning it might be quite difficult to set the defender free.

So while 2023 may offer a fresh start for the Revolution, the journey back to the playoffs may include Gonzalez for one more season.