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With A.J. DeLaGarza healthy, Bruce Arena must choose

Nov 28, 2012, 10:18 AM EST

A.J. DeLaGarza

L.A. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has a decision to make at center back.

A.J. DeLaGarza has been back at practice nearly two weeks now, more or less 100 percent recovered from that late September knee injury.

If healthy, confident and sharp, there’s no question that DeLaGarza would be preferred as Omar Gonzalez’s central partner along the Galaxy back line. Rookie Tommy Meyer, who has started nine matches (regular season and post-season) in replacement duty, has held his own, a few positional or awareness wobbles notwithstanding.

But DeLaGarza surely has the edge in big-game experience, with last year’s MLS Cup and NCAA Championship games already tucked safely into the resume. Then again, he hasn’t played in two months.

What the former University of Maryland man said after Tuesday’s practice at the Home Depot Center:

It’s good, almost 100 [percent]. I’m not limited whatsoever. So no reason I can’t play if I’m needed. … I’m confident. Just getting my rhythm back. This last week has really helped my confidence.”

Arena does also have the option of using DeLaGarza at right back, although Sean Franklin has been solid in that position.

Best guess: Assuming DeLaGarza gets through the week without issue, Arena will opt for his experience and get his veteran center back on the field.

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