While the rumour mill continues to stir, it appears Toronto FC have made their first concrete move of the MLS offseason. Ahead of tomorrow's MLS Re-Entry draft, the club has improved the right side of its defense by acquiring Vancouver Whitecaps defender Steven Beitashour.
At the time of publishing the terms of the deal had not yet released, but it is not expected to be significant. Toronto FC would have had an opportunity to pick up Beitashour in the re-entry draft, but with the club picking 9th overall it would have been difficult to guarantee an acquisition.
Multiple sources have confirmed to me that Toronto FC have acquired right back Steven Beitashour from the Vancouver Whitecaps #tfc— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) December 10, 2015
At 28 years of age, the Iranian international brings six seasons of MLS experience, having split his time in the league between the San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps. In that time he has played in 140 games scoring 2 goals and adding 24 assists.
During this time he has become one of the most reliable and consistent fullbacks in the league. It was a weak year for rightbacks in Major League Soccer, but at the end of the day he was one of the best.
Beitashour also represents Iran internationally, for whom he has earned six caps. He made their World Cup team in 2014, but was an unused substitute in all three of their games. He has not represented the national team since then, however.
His time in San Jose saw him spend time on a very successful backline with recently resigned Toronto FC left back Justin Morrow. That bit of chemistry alone is just the start of why he is an excellent fit on the Toronto FC backline.
Reuniting the pair certainly goes a long way towards Toronto FC turning their league worst backline around for the next MLS season. While help is still needed in the middle, this will give the club a balance in the back that was missing last season.
At their ages, both are 28, they could be the fullback pairing for Toronto FC for a long time. For a club that has never really had much luck with wide defenders this means a sizeable step in the right direction.
Even better, Beitashour comes at an incredibly affordable price. He made just $197,166 in guaranteed compensation last season which is certainly a deal for a top MLS fullback. This leaves Toronto with available funds to go after other offseason targets.
It's a good sign to start the offseason, Toronto FC had a massive hole at right back for most of last season and this move directly addresses that with a known commodity.
Whether or not this means they are out when it comes to the re-entry draft tomorrow remains to be seen, but this would make them significantly less likely to pick up someone with their ninth overall pick.