Trades are now permitted in MLS in preparing for the 2021 season, and a report Wednesday claims the LA Galaxy could be getting close to sealing the deal on one.
Jorge Villafaña could be moving to the Galaxy, in a trade with the Portland Timbers, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. The report says the deal, “in discussions” as of Wednesday morning, would be for LA to acquire Villafaña and the Timbers’ 1st round MLS SuperDraft pick (No. 17 overall) in exchange for the Galaxy’s 1st round pick (No. 8 overall). I would imagine allocation money would also go to the Timbers.
Villafaña, 31, is a left back with tons of experience in MLS. He’s played for Portland from 2018-20 and 2014-15, with a stint at Liga MX side Santos Laguna sandwiched in the middle. He’s won an MLS Cup, the MLS is Back Tournament with Portland, as well as a Liga MX title with Santos.
He’s a familiar face to some Galaxy folks, previously playing with Sacha Kljestan at Chivas USA, when he was known as Jorge Flores (he changed his last name in 2011 to honor his mother), and where he played from 2007-13. Dennis te Kloese was Chivas USA GM for part of Villafaña’s time at the club.
Villafaña began his career as a winger, but with Portland he retrained as a left back and has become a very good one over time. He has good footwork and has worked on his endurance to become a 90-minute player, but he’s very much a defense-first fullback, chipping in with an occasional goal.
If a deal is completed, it would seem to draw a curtain on Emiliano Insua’s tenure with the Galaxy. Insua’s contract option was declined this offseason, but when the Galaxy announced their initial roster moves, they said they were in negotiations with Insua, among others, on a possible return for 2021. However, if they trade for Villafaña, it makes little sense to have two 31-year-old left backs on the roster, especially with both likely to make a pretty sizable amount of money. Add to that, if LA get Villafaña and move on from Insua, they will have an international roster slot freed, with Villafaña a native of Anaheim and U.S. international.
So we’ll see what happens. This isn’t done but Carlisle’s reporting is consistently accurate. He did not say a deal was done, however, so there is still some wiggle room. But don’t be shocked if this deal becomes reality in the near future.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.