Transfer Tracker

Vancouver Whitecaps sign Uruguayan defender Mathías Laborda

Mathías Laborda to VAN


Vancouver Whitecaps FC have added a second center back ahead of the 2023 MLS season, announcing Monday they’ve signed Uruguayan defender Mathías Laborda on a free transfer using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

The 23-year-old had exclusively played for Nacional in his home country, and now inks a three-year guaranteed deal through 2025 with an option for 2026.

While at Nacional, Laborda had six goals and one assist across 101 games (82 starts). The former Uruguay youth international won three Primera División titles at his boyhood club, plus the Uruguayan Supercopa in 2021.

“Mathías is a player we’ve been scouting for over a year,” Vancouver sporting director Axel Schuster said in a release.

“He’s a young, intelligent, and tenacious defender. Mathías is comfortable on the ball and brings a mix of experience as well as a potential for growth. We’re happy to welcome Mathías to Vancouver.”

Laborda joins Karifa Yao as reinforcement in central defense for the Whitecaps; the latter was acquired via the MLS Re-Entry Draft as he left CF Montréal. They join first-choice defenders Tristan Blackmon and Ranko Veselinović, while Jamaican international Javain Brown is another option.

Vancouver are entering their second full season under head coach Vanni Sartini, with their 57 goals against the second-most in the Western Conference last season. They missed the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, though qualified for the 2023 Concacaf Champions League as Canadian Championship winners.

The Whitecaps will begin their new campaign on Feb. 25 when hosting Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).