Sources: Galaxy in talks for Portland’s Villafana

The LA Galaxy are in discussions to acquire left-back Jorge Villafana from the Portland Timbers, sources have told ESPN.

One proposal has the two teams swapping selections in the first round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, with the Timbers getting the Galaxy’s first round pick — No. 8 overall — while LA will obtain Portland’s selection, which is the 17th overall pick.

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Any deal would be contingent on Villafana signing a new contract.

The deal, if completed, would satisfy 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. Portland is expected to formally announce the arrival of full-back Claudio Nicolas Bravo later this month, which likely would cut into Villafana’s playing time.

Villafana, 31, 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.

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