The Los Angeles Galaxy poured forward, scoring goal after goal in a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Friday night.
But the conversation in the locker room revolved around defender AJ DeLaGarza, whose week-old son Luca passed away Thursday from a congenital heart defect.
The Galaxy held a moment of silence and wore black armbands in a tribute to Luca and his parents, AJ and Megan DeLaGarza.
[ MATCH STORY: Galaxy 6, Rapids 0 ]
AJ DeLaGarza had spoken openly about the condition well before his son was born, and his team had been positive with “Luca knows heart” tee-shirts and mottos spreading around Twitter.
For his part, the 26-year-old defender was active on Twitter for his son’s too-brief life, posting photos of the newborn, a book he had read the child and inspirational messages from around the country.
“We play a sport for a living that we tend to think it is very important, and people get carried away, I think, with the importance of it,” said Landon Donovan, who converted two penalty kicks and assisted two more goals. “We try to keep it all in perspective, and life is more important. And we’re just heartbroken for a teammate and for our friend Megan and their family. We do our job and get on with it, but that it doesn’t change what happened yesterday.
“So that’s going to be a part of our season going forward. It doesn’t mean that after tonight we forget about it. It’s still a piece of all of us that we feel is lost, and it’s a sad night.”
Said head coach Bruce Arena: “It was emotional, and [A.J. is] a person that we all care about, he’s such a good person, he and his wife. … We feel his pain and we just want to be as supportive as we can, and certainly our thoughts were with them tonight. It certainly was a game we wanted to win for him, no question about it.”
— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) September 5, 2014
Our hearts and thoughts are with the DeLaGarzas, who are going through a time that too many other people understand. Godspeed, Luca.