LA Galaxy waive Sega Coulibaly; Portland Timbers strengthen backline

Though Major League Soccer’s Secondary Transfer Window officially kicks off on July 5, several teams have begun making changes to their roster.

In the West, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps have strengthened their roster while LA Galaxy continues to dig themselves into a whole. Greg Vanney’s side is already facing transfer sanctions and injuries, but decided to waive Sega Coulibaly as well.

Here’s all the MLS transfers you missed…

Emmanuel Iwe

Emmanuel Iwe joins Minnesota United. / Jeremy Olson/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Minnesota United have signed midfielder Emmanuel Iwe from their MLS NEXT Pro team MNUFC2. 

He joins through the 2023 Major League Soccer season, with additional club options for 2024, 2025 and 2026. It’s the first time the Western Conference team tap into their MLS NEXT Pro side for senior team signing. 

“The first time that we saw [Emmanuel] Iwe, the first thing that stood out was his pace – he’s incredibly athletic, he’s really quick,” Loons head coach Adrian Heath said in a release.

“I think we always recognized that there was a lot of potential there and I think he started to realize some of that potential. We feel as though now he’s put himself in a spot where he’s deserved this opportunity to have an MLS contract, come onto the roster, and now let’s go from here. This is just the beginning.”

Levonte Johnson

Levonte Johnson joins Vancouver’s senior team. / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Vancouver Whitecamps have promoted Levonte Johnson to the senior team from their MLS NEXT Pro side, signing the forward on a one year contract with options for 2024 and 2025. 

He joins after recording six goals and one assist in 12 games for the Whitecaps FC 2. Johnson previously signed for MLS short-term contracts with the Western Conference side prior to this recent deal. 

“In February, we discussed with Levonte our plan for him and we offered an individual development program to help make him ready for MLS. Levonte has totally bought into it, has shown consistent growth, and is now ready to make the next step in his career,” Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director, said in a release.

“He has been one of the most exciting players in MLS NEXT Pro this season and has put in valuable performances when playing with the first team, including helping us win the Canadian Championship for the second consecutive season. Levonte’s profile provides us with another option in attack, while giving us the opportunity to continue to help him develop. We’re happy to officially welcome Levonte to the first team.”

Miguel Araujo

Miguel Araujo joins MLS. / BSR Agency/GettyImages

The Portland Timbers have signed center back Miguel Araujo from Dutch side FC Emmen through the 2025 MLS season, with a club option for 2026. 

He will be eligible to debut once the league’s Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 5.

“We are pleased to welcome Miguel to the Portland Timbers,” general manager Ned Grabavoy said in a release. “We believe Miguel provides us another solid option in defense, and his experience playing in various leagues and competitions throughout his career will be invaluable.”

He arrives after spending five seasons with FC Emmen, recording 12 goals and four assists in 118 appearances across all competitions. Internationally, Araujo has made 28 appearances for Peru throughout the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the 2019/2021 editions of Copa America. 

It’s a much needed signing for head coach Giovanni Savarese, as his side currently struggles in the Western Confernece. The team currently sits in 10th place with 22 points in 20 games and a 5W-8L-7D record. 

“We feel Araujo’s experience, coming from a competitive league like the Dutch league, will make that position a very competitive one,” head coach Giovanni Savarese said in a release.

Sega Coulibaly

Los Angeles Galaxy waive Sega Coulibaly / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

LA Galaxy’s struggles continue. 

The team have waived center back Sega Coulibaly, just one week after defender Martín Cáceres was ruled out for three to five months after suffering a knee injury. He departs with one goal in 49 appearances across three seasons after joining in 2021.

But he’ll be difficult to replace, as the Western Conference team currently deal with transfer sanctions for violating salary budget and roster guidelines during the 2019 season. LA Galaxy cannot sign any players from abroad during the Secondary Transfer Window, but can target free agents and domestic players.

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