A.J. DeLaGarza hails “important” first wins for Guam in World Cup Qualifying

CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza has returned to the LA Galaxy fresh off making history with the Guam National Team after the defender led the island to their first ever World Cup qualifying victories.

DeLaGarza started both matches for the Matao in central defense as they defeated Turkmenistan 1-0 and then dispatched India, 2-1 later in the week.

The victories earned Guam plaudits on the island and abroad as the plucky team with the fight song written by a brother of recording legend Elvis Costello garnered global headlines. Despite the full squad having never played together prior to the match against Turkmenistan, DeLaGarza believes that Guam has shown that they’ll be a force in World Cup qualifying.

“It’s a small island and it was just the beginning of what we can do. It was the first time that we had our team together. We’d been integrating players for the last couple of years but everyone has always been scattered, and this was the first time we’ve really played,” DeLaGarza told LA Galaxy Insider. “I think for the most part, we did decent and handled the games well. We got two very important wins for the country… and now we’re looking like we could – and should— advance.”

Not only did DeLaGarza help Guam pick up two big wins but the defender returned from the two matches unscathed showing no signs of the lingering groin injury that he recovered from just prior to departing on international duty.

“I felt a little tired; it was high 90s, humid and turf. It was Orlando all over again,” the defender joked. “But playing center back is a little easier on the body than playing outside back so I feel okay.”

Galaxy boss Bruce Arena gave DeLaGarza’s fitness level his own seal of approval on Thursday, stating that the defender looked “alright” after returning from international duty and the 27-year-old could make his return to the lineup in Saturday’s match against the Philadelphia Union.

And if DeLaGarza is declared ready to go, the defender is eager to get back on the field.

“I can give some of the guys a little bit of rest,” DeLaGarza said. “We’ve had guys who have been working their tails off due to injuries, and now hopefully I can get back and give some guys some rest.”

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