The LA Galaxy have traded MLS veteran defender, AJ DeLaGarza to the Houston Dynamo for General and Targeted Allocation Money. LA will receive $125,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). The announcement comes on the same day as the MLS Superdraft, although it is expected that this deal may have come to fruition before ever convening in the Los Angeles Convention Center.
DeLaGarza was originally drafted by Bruce Arena in 2009 out of the University of Maryland. During his time with the Galaxy, he amassed over 17,000 regular season minutes, played in 204 games and was a starter 196 times.
He leaves the club with three MLS Cup Championships (2011, 2012, and 2014) and a Supporters’ Shield (2011).
DeLaGarza is a versatile defender. He is able to play every position along the back line and he always improves the game of the person next to him. He reads the game better than almost any defender in the league and was, in most cases, able to use his speed and angles to neutralize most threats.
Recently, under Bruce Arena, DeLaGarza was left on the bench when the backline of Robbie Rogers, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, and Ashley Cole came together. But with Rogers’ injuries, there was still enough time to get 24 games in and over 2,000 minutes.
“These things are extremely difficult. Especially when you’re talking about someone like AJ DeLaGarza,” LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas said to reporters at the MLS SuperDraft. “AJ will remain a part of our club for many years to come. But at this time we have to make these difficult decisions in order to become flexible and make some additions to our roster.”
AJ DeLaGarza also holds the record for most appearances on our podcast, Corner of the Galaxy. Always willing to talk about the LA Galaxy, in good times and bad, he was honest and open about the struggles he faced both on and off the field.
But probably most importantly, AJ DeLaGarza is an LA Galaxy fan-favorite. A guy who represented the club honorably, and was always willing to pause for an autograph, talk to fans or respond with something snappy on twitter.
No other player defines the Bruce Arena era, and who the Galaxy was under his reign, better than AJ DeLaGarza — consistent, hardworking, focused, passionate, and genuinely loved what he did.
The LA Galaxy will now prepare for a season without AJ DeLaGarza for the first time in eight years.