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LAFC pick up Mohamed El-Munir from Orlando City in trade for Joao Moutinho

Club moves first-ever draft pick for another left-sided defender.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Football Club have acquired defender Mohamed El-Munir in a trade with Orlando City SC, in exchange for defender Joao Moutinho.

El-Munir, 26, is a left-sided defender and midfielder who played the 2018 season for Orlando. As the team crashed to a second-to-last place finish in MLS this year, El-Munir played 26 games in league play for the Lions, starting 23, while picking up two assists.

A Libyan international, prior to joining Orlando City he played in his native country, with two spells at Al-Ittihad Tripoli, and in Europe, playing in Serbia for FK Jagodina and Partizan Belgrade, and in Belarus for Dynamo Minsk. He’s won two Serbian domestic cups and a league title there.

From the outside, my impression of El-Munir was that he was an attacking fullback, someone who was good on the dribble and helped push up into attack, but was pretty poor as a defender. I recall he was moved up to play wide midfield at a few points in the season.

However, our friends at The Mane Land, SB Nation’s Orlando City site, thought El-Munir was one of Orlando’s best defenders. On a team that allowed the most goals in MLS history, that might be faint praise. I was told that he was solid overall in defense, maybe not quite as bad as I perceived, but he was liable to offer a moment of switching off or making a big mistake, and those errors were best remembered in his first season.

On the other side, Moutinho, LAFC’s first-ever MLS draft pick, heads out the door after one season. It would appear LAFC believe El-Munir is an upgrade right now, that Moutinho needs more time to develop into an MLS starter, and with this being a like-for-like move, most likely LAFC are rolling the dice that El-Munir can help them find success right away.

This is also the first LAFC player to have played for the black-and-gold to be traded to another MLS team. Put that in your trivia folder.

Best of luck to Joao, and welcome to Mohamed. We’ll let you know about other offseason news as it emerges.

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