Galaxy Insider Player Ratings: A.J. DeLaGarza

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano reviews the season for the center back

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Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora/LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy season may be over, but LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will spend the next few weeks offering an evaluation of each member of the squad. VIEW CALENDAR

The LA Galaxy Player Ratings will begin with players who appeared in the least number of games this season starting with goalkeeper Brian Rowe and concluding with Sean Franklin who played in all 34 of the club’s regular season games. There will also be an evaluation of head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and his moves at the conclusion of the list.

We will have two to three evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well, what they need to improve on ahead of next season as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and a rating from myself out of four stars.

A.J. DELAGARZA

AGE: 25

POSITION: Defender

APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS:  GP: 33 [3 in CONCACAF Champions League], MIN: 2914, G: 0, A: 0

RESERVE LEAGUE APPEARANCES: None

HIGHLIGHTS: A.J. DeLaGarza came into his own as a center back during 2012 as he started all but one match from March until his season-ending injury in September.  During that time, DeLaGarza saw time with five different players playing beside him in central defense, but had his greatest success following the return of Omar Gonzalez in July, though the duo were not paired together in central defense until early August. Due to his stable presence in the back line, DeLaGarza was awarded the club’s Defender of the Year award at the end of the season. But that wasn’t his only meaningful accomplishment as on Dec. 1 as he was able to battle back from a knee injury to earn a spot in LA’s 18-man squad for MLS Cup.

LOWLIGHTS: The lowest moment of DeLaGarza’s season came in the 30th minute of LA’s Sept. 30 match against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. As he jostled for the ball with Omar Cummings, DeLaGarza knocked knees with the Jamaican forward deep in LA’s end causing him to suffer a sprained ligament in his left knee. Due to his injury, DeLaGarza was unable to go a full 90 minute in a match that he started for the first time since July 4, 2011. The injury prevented DeLaGarza from appearing in LA’s final three regular season games and LA’s entire postseason slate.

HIS THOUGHTS:  “I had my ups and downs. There were so many goals that I could have prevented that I wasn’t happy with, but there were some where I made the plays that I’m used to where I saved balls off the line. I think that this is the first year where I came in as a starter and that was my role, if it’s the same thing next year then I need to take more on my shoulders especially early in the season. When we were down, I was the main guy in the middle who was there day in and day out, so I need to take more ownership.”

RATING: FOUR STARS
Prior to his injury in late September, DeLaGarza provided the Galaxy with a stable presence in the back four during a time of great change and difficulty. However, his untimely injury reduced him to a spectator role for the remainder of the season. After developing into a top tier center back in 2012, DeLaGarza faces a stiff test during the 2013 preseason as he must attempt to win the starting position which was occupied by rookie Tommy Meyer during LA’s run to the MLS Cup title. Expect DeLaGarza to be up to the task in the preseason as his cerebral play and ball skills make him a valuable asset in the backline.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com