The L.A. Galaxy posted one of the worst defensive units in 2020, but made a key addition to hopefully change that in 2021.
Jorge Villafana was acquired by the Galaxy on Tuesday in a trade with the Portland Timbers. In addition, the teams swapped first round draft picks in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, which sees the Galaxy move to No. 16 overall and the Timbers move up to No. 8.
“Jorge is a talented veteran defender with extensive experience playing at a high level in Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese. “We are confident in his ability to contribute to our club on the field, in our locker room and in our community. We are excited to welcome Jorge home and have him join our club.”
The 31-year-old defender joins the Galaxy after having made 188 career appearances in MLS for Chivas USA and the Timbers, scoring 10 goals and adding 24 assists.
Villafana has also earned 21 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team and is sure to play a major role in Greg Vanney’s plans.
LAFC acquires South Korean defender Moon
LAFC made it two days in a row with an acquisition, this time bolstering its backline for 2021.
South Korean international Kim Moon-Hwan joined the Western Conference club from K League side Busan IPark on Tuesday. Moon, who will occupy an international roster spot, was acquired using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).
“Moon is a dynamic, exciting player who also brings top international experience to our team,” said LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington. “He is an intelligent and versatile defender in the prime of his career, and our Club and our supporters are incredibly excited he chose LAFC for the next phase of his career.”
The 25-year-old spent the past four years playing for Busan IPark, tallying nine goals and seven assists in 120 games across all competitions in Korea. Moon played in 19 first division matches during the 2020 season, scoring one goal back in June.
Moon has appeared 11 times for the South Korean National Team.
Timbers re-sign veteran defender Mabiala
The Portland Timbers retained a key piece of its backline on Tuesday, signing defender Larrys Mabiala to a multi-year extension.
“Larrys is a leader in the locker room who provides valuable experience and knowledge of the league,” said Timbers GM and President of Soccer Gavin Wilkinson. “We are thrilled that Larrys and his family will continue to call Portland home.”
Since joining the Timbers in 2017 from Turkish club Kayserispor, Mabiala has recorded nine goals and two assists in 99 appearances. The 33-year-old is a veteran presence in Giovanni Savarese’s squad and will be keen to help the club get back to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2021.
In 2020, Mabiala featured in 22 games across all competitions, recording two goals and one assist. Mabiala played in six of the Timbers seven matches at the inaugural MLS is Back Tournament and was one of four Timbers players named to the MLS is Back Tournament Best XI.
Impact adds Nigerian forward Ibrahim
The Montreal Impact added a young international forward to the mix ahead of the 2021 season.
18-year-old Nigerian striker Sunusi Ibrahim, joined the Eastern Conference club from 36 Lion FC. Ibrahim signed a three-year contract with the Impact on Tuesday, with an option year for 2024.
“The Club is very happy to have completed the transfer of this young player, who is already part of his country’s U23 squad despite his young age,” said Impact sporting director Olivier Renard. “It’s a great addition to the squad, especially considering several European clubs were very interested in him as well. Sunusi Ibrahim is a fast and powerful striker who can also play on the wings.”
In 2019, with Nasarawa United, Ibrahim was the leading scorer in the first division of the Nigerian professional league, with 10 goals in 22 games. He is also a Nigerian international, who played in three qualifying matches for the Under-23 team at the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.
RSL signs academy goalkeeper Dewsnup to homegrown deal
Real Salt Lake continued its Homegrown development Tuesday with the signing of goalkeeper Jeff Dewsnup.
The 16-year-old goalkeeper signed a Homegrown Player contract ahead of the 2021 season. He is the youngest player signed to the RSL roster in club history and the 24th RSL Academy Product to earn a contract with Real Salt Lake.
“He’s a very talented goalkeeper and we had a specific plan for him,” RSL head coach Freddy Juarez said. “We will continue to work with him to make sure he continues on that path to the first team. I want to thank all of the academy coaches that have helped Jeff’s development. That’s critical. He’s gotten a high degree of coaching.”
A Herriman, Utah native, Dewsnup has 12 appearances for the RSL Academy at the U-16/17 level. Dewsnup has also been selected to the Real Monarchs matchday squad as a backup goalkeeper, as well as having trained heavily in 2020 with RSL’s first team squad.
Internationally, he has been called up for the U.S. at the Under-15 and Under-17 levels and will join fellow youngster David Ochoa among the current Homegrown products in the first team fold.