For the second straight expansion draft, Toronto FC has lost a player only to see him return shortly thereafter. Goalkeeper Clint Irwin has been re-acquired after Atlanta United selected him with the fifth pick in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft.
Shortly after Irwin was selected, reports surfaced that he was not yet done with Toronto. As they did after losing Daniel Lovitz to New York City FC in the 2014 draft, the Reds made a deal to bring Irwin back.
However, Toronto will still be losing a player today, as 29-year-old full-back Mark Bloom was part of the price for reclaiming Irwin. Toronto also sent general allocation money to Atlanta, who will play their first season in MLS next year.
Bloom has been with Toronto FC since 2013, when he was acquired from the Atlanta Silverbacks on loan. He impressed during his six-game audition in 2013, and Toronto retained him for the 2014 campaign. He was one of the club’s best players during that disappointing ‘Bloody Big Deal’ season.
Since then, however, a slew of injuries have cost Bloom his starting spot. He has only played seven matches since 2014, starting five. His absence for the 2015 season sparked disaster for Toronto at right-back and forced them to acquire veteran Steven Beitashour this past offseason.
He spent this season behind Beitashour, who started 29 matches and was rarely unavailable. Many of Bloom’s appearances this season came as a midfielder when Toronto were looking to hold a lead.
Bloom was one of Toronto’s longest-serving players, as the squad has seen a big overhaul since Tim Bezbatchenko took over as general manager. A native of Marietta, Georgia, Bloom will be returning to his home state as a result of this move.
Irwin, meanwhile, was the biggest surprise on Toronto’s unprotected list. Some had taken it as an indication that Toronto was going to hand over the keys to young keeper Alex Bono, who impressed in limited minutes this season.
Toronto had only just acquired Irwin this past summer from the Colorado Rapids and, despite some injury issues at the midway point of the season, he was solid in his first year with the club. At 27, he is capable of continuing as a No.1 in MLS for many years to come.