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DeLaGarza, Franklin and Gonzalez called into U.S. National Team

CARSON, Calif. - The U.S. national team’s January camp will have an LA Galaxy flavor to it.

Following one of the more impressive regular season in MLS history, three Galaxy players were named to the 24-man roster called up by Bob Bradley on Tuesday. The Galaxy trio of defenders A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez will be in camp starting on January 4. The U.S. will conclude its January camp with a friendly against Chile on the 22nd at The Home Depot Center. BUY TICKETS

The roster as a whole is young, with an average age just over 23. Half of the players have a chance to debut for the national team, and only one player has more than five caps.

“The timing is right to assess many of the younger players and to broaden the player pool as we look forward to the next three years,” Bradley said in a statement. “These extended camps give the coaching staff an opportunity to work with these players closely, and at the same time expose them to what the environment and expectations are like at the international level.”

Of the three Galaxy players called into camp, only Omar Gonzalez has earned a cap for the U.S. He made his international debut on August 10, playing the full 90 minutes in central defense in a 2-0 loss to Brazil at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year and finalist for the 2010 MLS Defender of the Year award, Gonzalez has quickly established himself as one of the top central defenders in MLS. In two years with the Galaxy, Gonzalez has appeared in 58 regular season games, scoring three times and adding one assist. The Galaxy’s 2010 Defender of the Year, Gonzalez has started all seven of the club’s postseason games over the past two years, adding a goal and an assist, while helping LA reach MLS Cup in 2009 and win the Supporters’ Shield in 2010.

The 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year, Sean Franklin is in camp with the U.S. for the third time in his career, though he is still looking to make his first appearance for the Red White and Blue. The 25-year-old was first called into Bob Bradley’s squad in November 2008 ahead of a 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Guatemala in Colorado. Franklin did not play in that game, but he was back in camp with the U.S. in January 2009, only to be forced to leave camp and undergo sports hernia surgery. In three years with the Galaxy, Franklin has appeared in 65 regular season games while helping his team reach the postseason twice. In 2010, Franklin set a career-high with six assists, which were good for third on the club. The fourth oldest field player in the 24-man squad, Franklin was used on the right side of midfield and in central defense this season, in addition to his usual position at right back.

Rounding out the group is A.J. DeLaGarza, who is making his first appearance in a camp with the senior National Team. The Galaxy’s second round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Maryland, DeLaGarza has established himself as one of the most versatile and reliable young defenders in the league. The 23-year-old has been used on the right and left sides of defense, as well as in central defense, where he played for much of the second half of last season. The 23-year-old has appeared in 39 regular season games for the Galaxy in his two years with the club, scoring twice and adding an assist. He was used primarily as at outside back during his rookie season in 2009 when he helped the Galaxy return to MLS Cup for the first time since 2005. In 2010, he started four regular season games and all three of the club’s postseason games in central defense, while also making seven starts at right back and three on the left side of defense.

Recently crowned MLS champions Colorado Rapids and fellow Cup finalists FC Dallas lead the way among the league’s clubs, with four players from each of the two sides. Matt Pickens, Jeff Larentowicz, Anthony Wallace, and Marvell Wynne will come from Colorado, while Brek Shea, Eric Alexander, Zach Loyd, and Ugo Ihemelu.

Interestingly, Shea was named on the roster as a midfielder; however, there is a chance he could see time as a central defender, where he shined on the recent Generation adidas tour in Spain.

The players will gather in Southern California on Jan. 4.


GOALKEEPERS (4): Dominic Cervi (Celtic), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (9): A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles Galaxy), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Ryan Miller (Halmstads BK), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Anthony Wallace (Colorado Rapids), Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Eric Alexander (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Sam Cronin (San Jose Earthquakes), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Dax McCarty (D.C. United), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

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