Orlando City midfielder Sebas Mendez is headed for the City of Angles to join LAFC, the club announced Tuesday. The Lions will receive $300K of General Allocation Money for the Ecuadorian international midfielder.
Mendez has been a key cog in Orlando's midfield since arriving in 2019, playing a significant role in the club's turnaround under Oscar Pareja. However, with the signing of Cesar Araujo in the offseason, Mendez was a surplus midfielder.
The Ecuadorian international played 71 MLS games across four seasons in Orlando, anchoring the midfield and providing bite in the center of the park. He also became a key role player for his country in their succesful World Cup Qualification campaign.
This move fully cements Araujo as the main man in midfield, which wasn't in any doubt given the fantastic season by the 21 year old Uruguayan destroyer. The extra allocation money will likely play a role in the Gioacchini acquisition or potentially be used in other roster moves, as the whereabouts of GAM remain one of the biggest mysteries in sports.
The maintained sell on clause could also be a sneaky good move for the Lions, as well. At just 25 and playing for the most visible team in MLS with a World Cup on the horizon, Mendez could have a decent sized transfer to either Europe or South America in the near future.
This move also frees up more playing time for Andres Perea for Orlando. The Colombian-American midfielder is a valuable utility piece, but is struggling this season. With the loss of Mendez, Perea becomes the true backup to Araujo in his natural position.
For LAFC, it's yet another talented midfielder to bolster one of the best teams in the league as they look to contend for the Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup double. He joins Ecuadorian teammates Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios for the Black and Gold.