Categorized | MLS, News

Galaxy make Omar Gonzalez Third Designated Player

Posted on 16 August 2013 by iyeo

The Los Angeles Galaxy took another big step not only for its franchise, but also for Major League Soccer when it announced it had signed Center Back Omar Gonzalez to a multi-year extension that will keep Gonzalez in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

The 6-5 Gonzalez’s salary makes him the Galaxy’s third designated player behind Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, occupying the third DP slot that was vacated by David Beckham when he left the Galaxy after last season. Gonzalez is also the second defensive player to receive a DP contract since Rafa Marquez signed with the New York Red Bulls back in 2010.

“To be the first Galaxy and U.S. defender to be named as a Designated Player is a great honor for me,” Gonzalez said in a press release. “The Galaxy are the premier club in MLS and I’m looking forward to growing as a professional in LA while working towards winning a third consecutive MLS Cup.”

Gonzalez was drafted third overall out of the University of Maryland by the Galaxy in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and immediately asserted himself as a presence on the Galaxy backline. Gonzalez started every game and won MLS rookie of the year that season. His presence on defense along with that of college teammate A.J. DeLaGarza was key for Los Angeles that season, as the Galaxy went from a team that had surrendered in inane amount of goals the previous season to a stingy defensive unit that made it all the way to the MLS Cup final that season.

Gonzalez continued his stellar defensive play the next two seasons and in 2011, won MLS Defensive Player of the Year honors as the Galaxy won the MLS Cup that year. Gonzalez’s 2011 season earned him a trial with German Bundesliga club FC Nuremburg, but Gonzalez injured a knee ligament during a collision with Timothy Chanlder, an injury that forced him to miss the first half of the 2012 season. Gonzalez’s absence was certainly felt during the early part of last season, as the Galaxy stumbled off to a 3-8-2 start. Gonzalez returned to the LA lineup in July and slowly but surely, the Galaxy got back on track, becoming one of the hottest teams in the second half of the season. LA then held off the Vancouver Whitecaps in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs before upsetting the Supporters Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes in the semifinals. LA then beat Seattle in the Conference finals to reach the MLS Cup final, where Gonzalez turned the game into his personal showcase, as he scored the tying goal in the match and asserted his presence on defense as the Galaxy won its second straight MLS Cup. His performance that day made him the first defensive player to win Man of the Match.

“We are pleased to that Omar will remain with the Galaxy,” LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena stated. “In the past five years, he has arguably developed in to the top defender in MLS. I believe he can continue to grow as a player and leader of our team.”

Gonzalez has also began to feature regularly on the U.S. National team. Gonzalez made his first appearance for the U.S. came in a friendly against Brazil back in August of 2010 and since then, he has started to become a regular on the U.S. backline.

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