Timbers trade Villafana, retain Mabiala
On the day the Timbers announced one defensive mainstay will return, the club parted ways with another.
The Major League Soccer Club on Tuesday, Jan. 12, announced a contract extension for central defender Larrys Mabiala. The club also announced it traded left back Jorge Villafana to the L.A. Galaxy.
In the Villafana deal, the Timbers and Galaxy are swapping first-round picks in the Jan. 21 MLS SuperDraft, with Portland now owning the No. 8 selection. Los Angeles will pick in the No. 16 spot that Portland held.
Pending further offseason moves, the Timbers currently have only six defenders — and two natural outside backs — on their roster.
An Anaheim, California, native, this move takes Villafana closer to his family. Over two stints with the club, the 31-year-old has played a significant role in the Timbers greatest successes as a MLS club. He was a starter for Portland's 2015 MLS Cup championship team, for the 2018 MLS Cup final team and for the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament champions.
"My family and I have built amazing memories with my teammates and friends in Portland," Villafana said in the club's trade announcement. "I also want to thank the Timbers Army and all the fans that have supported me through the good times and the bad. I'm forever grateful."
Portland has now sent two left backs to Los Angeles this offseason. Earlier, the club traded Gresham native Marco Farfan to Los Angeles FC.
Trading Villafana leaves Portland with only recently-acquired Argentine Claudio Bravo as the lone natural left back on the roster. Pablo Bonilla, a rookie last season, is the only natural right back on the roster as it stands.
Villafana scored four goals and 19 assists in 127 Timbers appearances in all competitions. Two of those goals came in the final two games of the 2020 season.
Given the lack of depth on defense on the current roster, retaining Mabiala was an offseason priority for the club. When healthy, Mabiala has been a consistent starter since arriving in Portland in the middle of the 2017 season.
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