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Portland Timbers Finalize Move for Center Back Larrys Mabiala

MLS: Portland Timbers at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers have been in search of a new center back since projected starter Gbenga Arokoyo suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in preseason. Now, 18 games later, the Timbers have completed the long-rumored signing of Larrys Mabiala.

Mabiala will not be available to suit up for the Timbers until July 11th when the summer transfer window opens, meaning that the Timbers will be missing his services for their upcoming matches against Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire.

The Timbers’ press release:


Experienced defender joins Portland with over 200 professional appearances in Europe

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has signed central defender Larrys Mabiala, utilizing Targeted Allocation Money. Mabiala is scheduled to join the Timbers roster during Major League Soccer’s summer transfer window in July, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

“We are pleased to acquire a player of Larrys’ quality and experience, and we are excited that he has chosen to join the Portland Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “This has been a positional need since losing Gbenga Arokoyo to an injury and while it took longer than we would have liked, we are delighted to add a proven central defender with the right profile to help the team. We are pleased to welcome Larrys to Portland and look forward to his contributions to the club.”

Mabiala, 29, joins Portland with 201 professional appearances since making his debut in France’s Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain in 2007. A native of Montfermeil, France, Mabiala comes to Portland after spending the past six seasons in the Turkish Super League with first-division clubs Karabükspor and Kayserispor, making 162 appearances (160 starts) in Turkey’s top flight. Additionally, Mabiala has made a combined eight appearances (5 starts) in the UEFA Europa League with Paris Saint-Germain and Karabükspor.

“Larrys Mabiala is a player that will bring a strong, physical presence to our team,” said Caleb Porter, head coach of the Timbers. “His experience and leadership will be key and we expect him to make an immediate impact once he is fully transitioned.”

After spending his first two professional seasons with Paris Saint-Germain (2007-2009), Mabiala signed with OGC Nice ahead of the 2009-2010 Ligue 1 campaign. In three seasons (2009-2012) with Nice, Mabiala made 36 league appearances (36 starts), before transferring to Karabükspor in Turkey.

While playing with Karabükspor from 2011-2015, Mabiala made 104 league appearances (104 starts), while also featuring four times (4 starts) in the UEFA Europa League. Most recently, Mabiala spent two seasons (2015-2017) with Kayserispor in the Turkish first division, compiling 58 appearances (56 starts) in league play.

At the international level, Mabiala has made nine appearances (9 starts) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo National Team, starting in six 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, while also making two appearances (2 starts) in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and a friendly appearance in 2008.

Transaction: Portland Timbers sign defender Larrys Mabiala on June 26, 2017.

Larrys MabialaPronunciation: mah-bee-ah-lah

Position: Defender

Height: 6-2Weight: 185

Born: Oct. 8, 1987, in Montfermeil, France

Last Club: Kayserispor

College: n/a

Citizenship: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Acquired: Signed on June 26, 2017