LA Galaxy sign Nacional defender Diego Polenta using targeted allocation money

Uruguayan defender Diego Polenta has signed with the LA Galaxy, the club announced on Thursday.

Polenta, 27, is a left-footed center-back who has spent the past four seasons with Nacional in Uruguay's top division, appearing in 136 matches.

Polenta could be an important addition to the Galaxy's back line, which struggled mightily last season and appeared to lack quality depth heading into this season. The Galaxy acquired Polenta with targeted allocation money (TAM).

"Diego is a strong and gifted defender in his prime that we believe can become a top defender in Major League Soccer," said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese.

"He has experience playing at a very high level in Uruguay and he will contribute to an area of need in our defense. We are excited to add him to our roster and look forward to integrating him into our team as we prepare for the upcoming season."

Polenta has competed in Uruguay's Primera Division, the Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Torneo Intermedia and Campeonato Uruguayo Especial during his time at Nacional and has featured for his country's youth teams at every stage of his career.

The five-time MLS champion Galaxy's first preseason match is Feb. 9 against Toronto and the team kicks off the MLS regular season on March 2 at home against the Chicago Fire.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.