Defender Omar Gonzalez becomes LA Galaxy's third designated player

August 15, 2013

LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year and 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, agreed to a new multi-year contract, becoming the team’s third Designated Player.  Stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are the Galaxy's other two Designated Players.

With his good size and quality skills, Gonzalez was sure to draw interest from overseas clubs had the Galaxy not acted to sign him.

The move was significant because Gonzalez is the second American player this month, along with Seattle's Clint Dempsey, to become an MLS designated player -- perhaps the start of a new trend to bring back top American talent.

“To be the first Galaxy and U.S. defender to be named as a Designated Player is a great honor for me,” said Gonzalez. “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.”

Since Gonzalez joined the Galaxy in 2009, the team's defense, and overall level of play, has improved tremendously.

During Gonzalez's four seasons in LA, the Galaxy has reached the Western Conference Championship all four years, and played in the MLS Cup three times. The Galaxy are 64-23-32 in regular season games in which Gonzalez appears, compared to just 11-16-5 in the games that he misses.

“We are thrilled that Omar has chosen to remain with the Galaxy and Major League Soccer for years to come,” said Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG.  “Omar’s commitment is a clear indication of our continued appeal as a destination for top soccer talent.”

Although Gonzalez is a three-time MLS All-Star, he still had to prove his abilities last year after tearing his ACL in his left while training overseas. Undoubtedly, Gonzalez demonstrated that his knee was indeed healthy, as he earned 2012 MLS Cup MVP honors during the Galaxy's title run.

"In the past five years, he has arguably developed into the top defender in MLS," said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. "I believe he can continue to grow as a player and leader of our team."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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