The reason for Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez's seemingly abrupt withdrawal from the U.S. national team's camp? He's in Germany.
FC Nuremberg announced on its website Thursday that the towering Texan has been acquired on loan and trained with its first team for the first time Thursday at its winter camp in Belek, Turkey.
Sounds like Der Club has grander plans.
“We are delighted that Omar has traveled to join us in training camp,” club chairman Martin Bader said in the club's release. “We were planning on signing him this summer, but now the opportunity has arisen, and we'll borrow Omar at least until the start of the MLS in mid-February.
“After Philipp Wollscheid's transfer [to Bayer Leverkusen], we needed to consider a way to strengthen our central defense for the coming season. And Omar is an interesting candidate, a young, talented player who could represent FC Nürnberg well.”
Major League Soccer play begins March 10, and the Galaxy play the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against FC Toronto three days earlier. L.A. opens training camp later this month.
The Galaxy confirmed the agreement and planned to release a statement later Thursday. No date has been given for Gonzalez's return, and an L.A. spokesman said he was seeking confirmation of a date.
German-born U.S. national-team right back Timmy Chandler plays for Nuremberg, which resumes Bundesliga play on Jan. 21.
Captain Landon Donovan is on loan in England to Everton -- he played 90 minutes in the Toffees' 2-1 loss Wednesday to Bolton -- and Aston Villa is reportedly pursuing Irish forward Robbie Keane for a short-term deal.
British wire service The Press Association reported that Villa is optimistic it will complete a loan agreement for Keane before its next Premier League game, on Jan. 14. against Everton. The deal would be for nearly $775,000.
Gonzalez, 23, was MLS's Defender of the Year last year after winning the league's Rookie of the Year honor in 2009 and a Best XI award in 2010. There is ample interest in the 6-foot-5 defender's services, from Mexico's Club America and teams in England and elsewhere in Europe.
U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday that Gonzalez and FC Dallas defender George John, who holds a Greek passport and has attracted European interest, had withdrawn from the U.S. camp in Phoenix because of "club-related matters."
UPDATE (5:45 p.m.): Not a good first day for Gonzalez at Nuremberg. He knocked knees with with Chandler during training Thursday in Turkey, sat out the rest of the session and is to undergo an MRI test Friday, according to the club's website.
Nuremberg plays Bundesliga rival Borussia Mönchengladbach in a friendly Saturday.