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Galaxy selects defender Omar Gonzalez in MLS draft

January 15, 2009 | 11:37 am

Maryland forward Graham Zusi, left, and defender Omar Gonzalez celebrate.

The Galaxy has selected defender Omar Gonzalez from NCAA champion University of Maryland as its first pick in the Major League Soccer draft, making the 6-foot-5, 210-pound player from Dallas the third pick overall.

Coach Bruce Arena had been expected to select Wake Forest midfielder Sam Cronin, but Cronin was nabbed by Toronto FC, which had the second pick in the league's 14th annual draft.

Gonzalez earned All-American honors at Maryland, where he played 69 games over three seasons, scoring seven goals and assisting on five others.

The Galaxy also has four lower-round picks in the draft. The players will report for physicals on Monday at the Home Depot Center and begin training on Wednesday for the season that begins in March.

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Maryland forward Graham Zusi, left, and defender Omar Gonzalez celebrate after Zusi scored the game-winning goal during an NCAA men's College Cup national semifinal soccer match against St. John's on Dec. 12. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press