Changes afoot at the back for Galaxy
After four years at centre-half, LA Galaxy have taken the decision that AJ DeLaGarza is more of a full back than a centre-back.
The defender was switched to his new position during August’s International Champions Cup.
A total of eight teams competed in the tournament,Galaxy lost to Real Madrid and AC Milan, but beat Juventus, coming fourth overall.
Since the tournament DeLaGarza has been playing through the middle of Galaxy’s defence.
It’s an unusual decision for a club to take, but one that according to Galaxy management that has been on the cards for a while.
Speaking to MLS soccer.com Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan said: “We always felt that that was probably his best position at this level. I think he’s getting more comfortable going forward, which is a big part of it.
“The defensive part of it usually is not ever an issue with A.J. He sniffs things out. He was born to defend. I think it’s his ability now to recognize space and getting forward and being dangerous, and I think as he develops into that position, that becomes more confidence for him as well.”
The 25-year-old’s move right, has enabled Galaxy to add height in their defence, allowing 6ft 2in Leonardo and 6ft 5in Omar Gonzalez to strike up a partnership.
DeLaGarza admits that he is still getting used to his new position: “I still have some tendencies of being a central defender, “Where if the ball’s in the box for us and it pops out, I’m usually caught in the back, just watching, because as a center back you don’t follow up those plays, but as a right back, you have to get up there and get any loose balls.”