LOS ANGELES (AP) — Veteran central defender Aaron Long agreed to a two-year contract with Major League Soccer champion Los Angeles FC on Friday.
The 30-year-old Long spent the past seven seasons with the New York Red Bulls, earning two All-Star selections. He was named the 2018 MLS Defender of the Year.
Long is returning to his native Southern California with his move to LAFC, which won its first MLS Cup title last fall. Long is a native of the high desert northeast of Los Angeles, and he played four years at UC Riverside before Portland drafted him in the second round in 2014.
Long also has appeared in 29 games for the U.S. national team, scoring three goals. He was on the U.S. roster for the World Cup in Qatar, but didn’t play.
“Aaron is among the top central defenders in MLS and the U.S. national team pool, and we are incredibly excited he has chosen to come to LAFC,” general manager John Thorrington said. “We are confident that Aaron’s ability and experience will prove to be an important part of our continued success as a club.”
Long will be a welcome addition in central defense for LAFC alongside Giorgio Chiellini, who is under contract through 2023 after arriving midway through last season. LAFC also added Honduran defender Denil Maldonado on loan from CD Motagua late last month.
LAFC occasionally lacked quality depth in defense last season, and it beat Philadelphia in the MLS Cup final with Sebastien Ibeagha and Jesús David Murillo as its starting center back combination. Ibeagha signed with FC Dallas last month.
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