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LA Galaxy sign defender Chris Mavinga

Experienced center back reunites with Greg Vanney.

MLS: Toronto FC at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Galaxy have made their first addition of the 2023 season, announcing on Wednesday the signing of defender Chris Mavinga. The free-agent defender signed a two-year contract through the end of the 2024 MLS season. Mavinga will be added to the Galaxy roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Mavinga, 31, joins after spending the last six seasons at Toronto FC, where he won the domestic treble in 2017 with current Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney. “Chris brings experience, quality and more championship pedigree to our back line,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney in a statement. “We are pleased to add him to our group and look forward to him being an important contributor.

Mavinga, born and raised in France, spent time in Paris Saint-Germain’s youth system before turning pro with Liverpool FC in 2009. He never made a first team appearance for them, however, making his professional bow while on loan at Belgian club Genk in 2011. From there, he went to French outfit Rennes, then moved to Russian side Rubin Kazan, going on loan back to France with Reims and Troyes while under contract to Rubin. In 2017, he moved to TFC, and arguably was one of the pieces that put them over the top to win the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and the Canadian Championship that year, the best season to date for any MLS club. An international player for Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mavinga has five caps at senior level.

Mavinga has made 124 regular season appearances (116 starts) to date in MLS in his career, and has 10 playoff appearances.

This is an intriguing addition to the Galaxy roster, though not one without risk. At his best, Mavinga has been one of the best center backs in MLS. But he has shown inconsistent runs, and when he is out of form, he’s been badly out of form. He can provide experience and leadership, but at best this is more of a stopgap measure for a year or two, not the anchor of the defense the Galaxy have been looking for since Omar Gonzalez’s departure.

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