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Galaxy's A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez named to U.S. team

December 22, 2011 | 12:13 pm

Galaxy defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez were named Thursday to the 20-man roster Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has summoned to training camp ahead of the U.S. national team's friendlies against Venezuela and Panama next month.

Gonzalez, a former Major League Soccer rookie of the year, was named the league's top defender this year after helping the Galaxy tie an MLS record with 17 regular-season shutouts. DeLaGarza, a teammate at the University of Maryland, played beside Gonzalez in central defense for the Galaxy, starting 30 of the team's 34 regular-season matches.

Gonzalez has been called up to the national team before, making his debut in August 2010 against Brazil, then playing in January's draw with Chile at the Home Depot Center. However, this invitation to training camp marks his first appearance with the national team since Klinsmann took over as coach.

DeLaGarza, meanwhile, is looking for his first international cap. More than half the players called up Thursday have appeared in two or fewer matches for the U.S.

"This is a very important opportunity for these players," Klinsmann said. "We will spend the next few weeks introducing them to our ideas on how we want to play and what it means to be a part of the national team.

"I'm very curious and excited to see this group."

The U.S. team, a largely domestic-based group, will begin training Jan. 3 in Arizona before relocating to the Home Depot Center for a week beginning Jan. 13. Its match with Venezuela is scheduled for Jan. 21 in Phoenix and the team plays Panama four days later in Panama City.

The full roster (by position):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (7): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), A.J. DeLaGarza (Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy), George John (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)


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— Kevin Baxter

Photo: A.J. DeLaGarza, right, heads the ball away from Angel Guirado of the Philippine national team. Credit: Rolex Dela Pena / EPA