A.J. DeLaGarza teaming up with D.C. United to raise money for Ronald McDonald House and American Heart Association

The LA Galaxy and D.C. United may be traditional rivals in MLS, but prior to Saturday’s clash at RFK Stadium, Galaxy defender and Maryland native A.J. DeLaGarza will team up with United for a donation drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, D.C. and the American Heart Association.

To honor the memory of DeLaGarza’s late son Luca, who passed away last year after a fight with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, the DeLaGarza family and United are asking fans to donate items to the Ronald McDonald House. During Luca’s brief yet courageous life, A.J., his wife Megan and their family lived in the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“When Luca was born, we stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in L.A. and we knew how important it was and how beneficial it was, and how much they helped us out,” DeLaGarza said prior to the team’s trip to D.C. “The Ronald McDonald House is all donation based so we think that it’s big for families. You can stay right by your children for only 25 dollars a night. That’s incredible. It’s important for us to help out our hometown as well.”

Fans attending Saturday’s game can donate items, including household, kitchen and pantry items, as well as gift cards, and other various items (a complete list can be found here) at RFK Stadium’s Lot 8 where the DeLaGarza family will tailgate prior to the match. In addition to donating items, fans can also purchase Pura Vida bracelets that will benefit the American Heart Associations. Bracelets will be on sale for both $15 dollars and $20 dollars.

DeLaGarza, who grew up in Bryans Road, Maryland, is expected to have over 250 friends and family attend the game.

“It’s been two years since I played in D.C.,” DeLaGarza said. “It’ll be exciting to play in front of my friends and family.”

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