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Struggling LAFC acquires New York City FC defender Sebastien Ibeagha

New York City FC defender Sebastien Ibeagha (5) dribbles the ball.
LAFC acquired New York City FC defender Sebastien Ibeagha to help fill a hole on the roster.
(Gary McCullough / Associated Press)

Days after losing center back Eddie Segura to season-ending knee surgery, LAFC took a big step toward plugging that hole by acquiring Nigerian American defender Sebastien Ibeagha from New York City FC for $150,000 in general allocation money.

New York will get an additional $50,000 in allocation money for LAFC if certain incentives are met.

Ibeagha, 29, was the USL defender of the year for San Antonio in 2017, then spent the last 3½ seasons in New York, playing in 64 games. Ibeagha, who was born in Nigeria and moved to the U.S. when he was 9, has also played in Denmark and Iceland and made seven appearances for the U.S. U-20 team.

LAFC parts with one of the last original players from the first season so it can bring on forward Cristian Arango from Colombia’s Millonarios.

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A solid defender who rarely makes mistakes, Ibeagha played in the Houston Dynamos youth academy and trained with the first team before going to play college soccer at Duke. At 6-foot-2, he gives the LAFC back line both depth and a big body, which it lacks. Tristan Blackmon, at 6-foot-1, is currently the tallest outfield starter on the team.

The team recently acquired $1.75 million in general allocation money from trades that sent Mark-Anthony Kaye to Colorado and Corey Baird to Houston. Ibeagha will make $177,125 this season, according to figures provided by the MLS Players Assn.

“Seb has been a really valuable member of our squad since joining in 2018 and he played a vital role both on and off the pitch for our organization and he will be sincerely missed,” NYCFC sporting director David Lee said in a statement. “He’s been a dependable presence in our defense and his influence in the locker room and throughout the community embodied the values we want our players to have. We wish him all the best at LAFC and throughout the rest of his career.”

Ibeagha does not require an international roster spot. He is expected to be available for selection this weekend when LAFC (6-6-5), winless in its last four games, plays at San Jose on Sunday.


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