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LAFC acquire defender Franco Escobar from Atlanta United

Black-and-gold bring in experienced defender.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC made a significant addition on Sunday, announcing the acquisition of defender Franco Escobar in a trade with Atlanta United. In exchange for Escobar, LAFC will send Atlanta “up to $600,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM), which includes $250,000 in GAM in 2022. Atlanta could receive up to $350,000 in GAM in 2023 if certain performance metrics are met, as well as a percentage of a future transfer if Escobar is moved outside of MLS.”

Escobar, 26, joined Atlanta for the 2018 season, winning MLS Cup that year, as well as the U.S. Open Cup the following season. A center back who has also played at right back from time to time, Escobar made 81 appearances across all competitions in his time with Atlanta United.

This year, Escobar went on loan to Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys, his hometown club and the team with which he first turned pro, in 2015. A foot injury shortened his contributions on the field back in Rosario, however, and he only made six appearances.

“Franco is a talented, proven MLS player who has made an impact in our league,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in a team statment. “His ability to play multiple positions and his international experience will make him a great fit in L.A.”

Escobar is a good player at MLS level, although he can blow his top on occasion, something that opponents have exploited at times in the past. In the right mind, however, he can be a steady starter, and he’ll likely slot in alongside Jesus David Murillo until Eddie Segura is ready to return from a torn ACL in 2022, and from there, it will likely be a competition to see who’s the best option.

So this is an intriguing addition. Assuming he wants to stay in MLS (I certainly hope LAFC wouldn’t make this deal if he doesn’t want to play in MLS), he should bolster the defense, something needed with LAFC coming off their worst season to date. We’ll see what additional moves emerge to add to the roster.

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