LAFC have signed Ecuadorian midfielder Sebastian Mendez in a trade with Orlando City worth at least $300k in 2022 General Allocation Money (GAM).

Orlando could receive an extra $225k in GAM over both 2023 and 2024 if Mendez signs a new deal with LAFC on or before the 2023 MLS roster compliance date. The Lions retain a percentage of the player’s future transfer fee should he be sold on.

“We are excited to add a dynamic midfielder with extensive MLS and international experience like Sebastian,” LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington said of Mendez, whose contract was set to expire at the end of the current season.

He added: “Sebastian’s physical and technical qualities will complement our midfield, and we are excited to see the value he will bring to LAFC.”

Now 25, Mendez spent almost four seasons at Exploria Stadium, notching one goal and one assist in 83 appearances across all competitions. Best known for his defensive attributes, Mendez helped Orlando City to consecutive MLS Cup Playoff appearances in 2020 and 2021.

“We want to thank Seba for the effort and dedication he’s shown us throughout his time here in Orlando,” Luiz Muzzi, Orlando’s executive vice president of soccer operations and general manager, said in a club press release. “He’s been an incredibly important player for us these past three-and-a-half years, both on and off the field.

“He joined us as a young player back in 2019, with belief in the project we were building and made the commitment to join us despite having multiple clubs pursuing him. We wish him nothing but the very best and look forward to seeing all he achieves as he moves forward with his career.”

At international level, Mendez is capped 30 times for Ecuador at senior level, making his debut in 2018. He played a part in seven World Cup qualifiers as La Tri sealed an automatic spot at the tournament in Qatar this winter.

Mendez will join compatriots Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios at Banc of California Stadium and further strengthens Supporters’ Shield leaders LAFC following the signings of Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini.

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