Dec 22, 2011 – LA Galaxy defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez have been named to the U.S. National Team’s 20-man roster ahead of the upcoming training camp, which runs from January 3-26. The camp, which will open in Phoenix, Ariz. before moving to The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on January 13, concludes with friendlies against Venezuela, in Glendale, Ariz. on Friday, January 21 and against Panama in Panama City on Tuesday, January 25. This is the first international callup for each player since Jurgen Klinsmann was named the U.S. National Team head coach in August.
The 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, Gonzalez has collected two caps so far in his international career, making his U.S. debut against Brazil in August 2010 while also starting in the 1-1 draw with Chile at The Home Depot Center in January 2011. Named to the MLS All-Star First XI and MLS Best XI for the second straight season, the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year appeared in and started 40 games for the Galaxy in all competitions last season, scoring four times from set pieces while adding two assists. Named to the U.S. roster for the third consecutive January camp, Gonzalez is a central figure in the Galaxy defense that tied an MLS record with 17 regular season shutouts and allowed just 38 goals in 46 games in all competitions, with the team going just 2-3-1 in the six games that he missed during the year.
Gonzalez’s partner in central defense for much of the 2011 season, DeLaGarza will be looking to earn his first cap against either Venezuela or Panama. One of five uncapped players in the squad, DeLaGarza was a part of the U.S. camp at The Home Depot Center in January 2011 and was included in the 18-man squad for the friendly against Chile but was an unused substitute for the match. In his three seasons with the Galaxy, the Maryland native has appeared in 69 regular season games and nine postseason games, helping LA reach MLS Cup twice, including last year when the Galaxy won their third championship. A versatile defender that can play anywhere along the backline, DeLaGarza appeared in and started 42 of the 46 games that the Galaxy played in all competitions, tallying one assist. He started 30 of the Galaxy’s 34 regular season games as the team allowed just 28 goals in the season, which were the fewest in MLS on the year and eight less than any other team in the league.
Both DeLaGarza and Gonzalez will join the Galaxy in their preseason camp following the two friendlies. The Galaxy will return to action on Wednesday, March 7 when they take on Toronto FC in the first leg of their 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, which will be played at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They will open the 2012 MLS season will three days later on Saturday, March 10 at The Home Depot Center in MLS First Kick 2012, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. The time, opponent and broadcast information for this game will be included in the entire regular season schedule, which will be announced soon. For more information about this game or to purchase tickets, please visit the club’s official website at www.lagalaxy.com.