How Acquired: Selected by the Galaxy in the second round (19th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft
One of the most versatile defenders in MLS, A.J. DeLaGarza has played a pivotal role in the club’s recent success.
2016: DeLaGarza, the Galaxy’s longest tenured player on the roster in 2016, made it six straight seasons of 20+ appearances. In total, DeLaGarza appeared in 24 games with 23 starts playing a large role in galvanizing the ranks of what proved to be one of the league’s best defenses.
2015: In his seventh year in MLS with the LA Galaxy, DeLaGarza further cemented his professional identity as a mainstay piece of the Galaxy backline. With 22 starts in 24 appearances, he was one of five defenders to make 20 starts for Galaxy in 2015. DeLaGarza helped the Galaxy to its third straight MLS Playoffs appearance. He started in the team’s 3-2 loss to Seattle Sounders in the Knockout Round.
2014: DeLaGarza played in every position for a Galaxy backline that allowed an MLS-low 35 goals en route to winning their fifth MLS Cup. For his season, DeLaGarza was named LA Galaxy Defender of the Year honors, the second time he has been recognized as such (2012, 2014). In total, the defender played in 29 MLS matches during the regular season and started in four of the Galaxy’s five MLS Cup Playoff matches, including the 2-1 MLS Cup victory over New England. DeLaGarza was also named MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year.
2013: In total, DeLaGarza made 28 MLS appearances and five CONCACAF Champions League appearances, all of which were starts. In the Champions League Semifinals against CF Monterrey (Apr. 3), DeLaGarza scored his debut goal in the tournament after burying an assist from Mike McGee in the 28th minute with a right-footed strike. After missing time due to injury, he came off of the bench as a substitute in Galaxy’s Champions League finale against Isidro Metapán and the Western Conference Semifinal Series against Real Salt Lake.
2012: DeLaGarza secured his position as one of the top tier center backs on the LA Galaxy squad as he started in all of his 30 league appearances. Pairing with Omar Gonzalez following his return in July, DeLaGarza helped the squad go undefeated for seven straight games, from August 25th to September 31th. In a game against Colorado Rapids (Sept. 30), DeLaGarza left the game early for the first time since July 4, 2011 due to a torn his ligament in his left knee, which kept him out of the selection for the remainder of the season. Despite his injury, DeLaGarza’s stable presence in the back line was recognized by the club as he was honored LA Galaxy’s Defender of the Year award at the end of the season.
2011: Set new career-highs by starting in and appearing in 30 regular season games and playing 2,627 minutes, which were the second most on the team. An important figure in the Galaxy’s success all season long, DeLaGarza appeared in 42 games in all competitions, with LA keeping a clean sheet in 20 of those matches. In addition to his 30 regular season appearances, DeLaGarza also started all four of the club’s postseason games, six CONCACAF Champions League games and both games in the U.S. Open Cup. He had one assist in those 42 games, setting up Adam Cristman’s goal in the 2-0 win vs. Motagua on 8/16. He was forced to leave the 0-0 draw with Seattle on 7/4 with a head injury and missed the 2-1 win vs. Chicago five days late, but was back on the field for the U.S. Open Cup loss at Seattle on 7/13. He was used primarily in central defense during the season, though he did see some time at right back. 2010: One of the most versatile defenders on the squad, DeLaGarza appeared in 17 games during his second season in MLS, starting at left back, right back and in central defense. The Galaxy were 11-2-1 in the 14 games that he started, keeping a clean sheet in half of those games. He scored his first goal of the season in the 3-1 win vs. Philadelphia on 5/1, tallying just 51 seconds into that win. That goal was the fourth fastest goal in club history and also broke Edson Buddle’s streak of having scored the club’s first seven goals of the year. Over the final month of the regular season and into the postseason, DeLaGarza was used in central defense alongside Omar Gonzalez in place of the injured Gregg Berhalter. He started all three of the club’s playoff games, while also playing in three Open Cup and Champions League games. 2009: The Galaxy’s second round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, DeLaGarza made an immediate impact during his rookie season, appearing in 22 games at both right back and left back. He made his debut in the season opening 2-2 draw vs. D.C. United on 3/22, playing the full 90 minutes at left back. In late May he became the club’s starting right back following an injury to Sean Franklin and went on to start 16 consecutive games for the club at that position before suffering an injury himself vs. FC Dallas on 9/12. Before going off injured in that game, DeLaGarza scored the first goal of his MLS career, sliding home a rebound to tie the score at 2-2 just before halftime. The 22-year old recorded the first assist of his career two months earlier, crossing for Edson Buddle to head in the only goal of LA’s 1-0 win at Chivas USA on 7/11. He was one of two Galaxy players to play the full 90 minutes against both AC Milan and Barcelona in the club’s summer friendlies. In the postseason, he replaced the injured Todd Dunivant for the Western Conference Championship vs. Houston, playing the full 120 minutes as the Galaxy won 2-0 in extra time. In MLS Cup, he came on for the injured Omar Gonzalez late in regulation and played all of extra time at right back.
A two-time National Champion at the University of Maryland, DeLaGarza appeared in 88 games during his college career, making 81 starts and recording two assists. He helped the Terrapins reach the NCAA Tournament in all four of his years in College Park, while also claiming the ACC Championship in 2008. The Terps’ Co-Most Valuable Defensive Player award along with Omar González as a senior in 2008, DeLaGarza was also named to the College Cup All-Tournament Team and was Second Team All-ACC that season when he helped his team keep 15 clean sheets in 26 games, including seven in eight ACC and NCAA Tournament games. In the 2005 NCAA Tournament, he replaced the injured Kenny Bertz in the second half of the quarterfinal win over Akron and then started in the NCAA Semifinal and Final as Maryland won their first National Championship since 1968. Both of his assists at Maryland set up goals for fellow MLS players. His first assist came during his sophomore year in 2006 when he set up Jeremy Hall (now with Toronto FC) for a goal in a 2-0 win over Mt. St. Mary’s. Then as a senior in 2008, he set up Graham Zusi (now with Sporting Kansas City) for the game-winning goal in the regular season finale against North Carolina.
DeLaGarza collected the first two caps of his international career in January 2012, playing the full 90 minutes at right back in a pair of 1-0 wins, beating Venezuela at home and also winning in Panama. This was the second straight season that DeLaGarza had been called in to the U.S. team for their annual January camp, though he did not play for the team against Chile in January 2011.
In 2016, DeLaGarza started in both of Guam’s EAFF East Asian Cup matches against Chinese Taipei and Korea DPR. He also started in the team’s 1-0 WCQ loss to Oman.