HOUSTON – Shocked. That was A.J. DeLaGarza’s reaction when learning that his club of the past eight years, the LA Galaxy, had traded him to the Houston Dynamo.
The deal went down on MLS Draft Day and it entailed the Dynamo sending $125,000 in General Allocation Money and $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. The trade stunned DeLaGarza, who a couple weeks before the draft had been told he wouldn’t be traded.
But DeLaGarza began to feel better about his move a couple days after the trade dust settled.
“My wife and I started getting excited about starting a new chapter in a great city with another historic club in MLS,” DeLaGarza said after the club’s first training session Wednesday. “They’ve won two MLS Cups and been to a quite a few others, so we’re excited and looking forward to it.”
"I’ll probably play forward,” DeLaGarza said before cracking a smile. "Yeah no, probably outside back. If I’m needed in the middle, I’ll play in the middle. I think he (head coach Wilmer Cabrera) knows how versatile I am; I have played any of the back four positions.”
The 29-year-old veteran MLSer, who won three MLS Cups with the Galaxy, said training in Houston, and not Southern California, is a major change.
“For the last eight years, having the same coach and having the same drills, and doing that over, and over, and over, you get used to that,” said DeLaGarza. “Wilmer (Cabrera) brings in a little bit of a different mentality and new drills, so, I’m looking forward to it.”
The MLS season is still weeks away and DeLaGarza admitted that the team is “going 100 miles per hour.” He admitted touches and passes weren’t the “cleanest” at training, but the ultimate goal is to return the club to its glory days. “
"This is a new opportunity for the coaches and players like myself who are new to the team, but also guys who have been here for a couple years,” DeLaGarza said. “Just a new opportunity for everyone to help this organization get back to where it was in 2012, in an MLS Cup final.
"So there’s are a lot of hungry players [here].”