The LA Galaxy have sold U.S. men's national team center back Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX club Pachuca for an undisclosed transfer fee, the club announced Tuesday.
Gonzalez won three MLS Cups with the Galaxy and was named to MLS Best XI four times after joining the club out of the University of Maryland in 2009. He also won MLS Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year honors before going on to be on Jurgen Klinsmann's 2014 USA World Cup roster.
Gonzalez was one of three Galaxy Designated Players last season until the league introduced Targeted Allocation Money, which allowed LA to pay down his budget charge and sign Mexico international Giovani Dos Santos as the team's third Designated Player.
Even with the recent increase in TAM by MLS, it was not enough to bring Gonzalez's budget hit below DP level for 2016, which put the Galaxy in position to either sign him to a new contract or sell him, according to the Los Angeles Times.
As a result, Gonzalez has become the second defender from the Western Conference moved from MLS to Liga MX this off-season after the MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers sold left back Jorge Villafaña to Santos Laguna for a fee of just under $1 million. Gonzalez was introduced by Pachuca at a unique press conference Tuesday, revealed from under a Darth Vader mask in a Star Wars-themed event.
Gonzalez wrote an open letter to Galaxy fans after the announcement:
The move is a major one for the Galaxy rearguard, one that follows the club trading for veteran goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to replace Donovan Ricketts.