The LA Galaxy have acquired full-back Jorge Villafana in a trade with the Portland Timbers, the teams announced on Tuesday.
In addition to the 31-year-old, the Galaxy will receive the 16th pick in the draft from Portland while the Timbers will get the No. 8 pick from the Galaxy. Portland will also receive Allocation money for performance-based achievements with LA.
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“Jorge is a talented veteran defender with extensive experience playing at a high level in Major League Soccer,” LA Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said in a team statement. “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 deal satisfies objectives for both teams. For the Galaxy, it would give them an established full-back to bolster a defense that was the second-worst in MLS in 2020 at 1.95 goals allowed per game. Portland meanwhile would create space within their salary budget. While the MLS Players Association didn’t provide salary data in 2020, information from 2019 revealed that Villafana made $600,000 in base salary and $617,500 in guaranteed compensation.
There is something in it for the player as well. Villafana is a native of Anaheim, California, and the move is an opportunity to play closer to home.
“Jorge has been a model professional for the club and I would like to thank him and his family for their commitment and contributions to the Timbers,” Timbers Gavin GM said of Villafana. “His performances and success for this club will leave a lasting memory and we wish him and his family all the best.”
Villafana broke into the professional ranks in 2007 with now-defunct MLS side Chivas USA, this after winning a reality television contest called “Sueno MLS” (MLS Dream). But Villafana eventually proved his worth, making 99 league, cup and playoff appearances over seven seasons, while scoring seven goals.
Villafana was traded to Portland following the 2013 campaign, and was part of the side that claimed the 2015 MLS Cup, making 64 league, playoff and cup appearances while scoring two goals.
The title celebrations had barely concluded when Villafana was sold to Liga MX side Santos Laguna for a transfer fee of just under $1 million. The versatile defender was a steady contributor for Los Guerreros, making 76 appearances, and helping the side to the 2018 Clausura title.
The Timbers acquired Villafana in August of 2018 where he resumed his role as the team’s left-back. He made 63 more league, playoff and cup appearances, scoring twice. He was part of the side that reached the 2019 MLS Cup final in which the Timbers fell to Atlanta United 2-0.
At international level, Villafana has represented the U.S. at U20, U23 and senior level. He has made 21 appearances with the full national team, the last of which came in 2018.
Information from ESPN FC correspondent Jeff Carlisle was used in this report.