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Williams selected by Columbus Crew in MLS Re-Entry Draft

The defender heads back to Ohio after his Toronto FC contract expired.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

More money was wiped from Toronto FC’s books on Thursday when the Columbus Crew selected Josh Williams in stage two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

In the second round of the process, teams picking up out-of-contract players are able to negotiate new deals with those they select. In the first stage, which took place last week, they are forced to offer them at least their 2016 salary.

Williams earned $131,250 last season, which Columbus will attempt to bring down in order to sign a player they know well. The Akron-born 28-year-old played 71 games in MLS with the Crew between 2010 and 2014.

MLS: Toronto FC at Houston Dynamo Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

He was never likely to return to Toronto after falling behind Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta among the club’s centre-backs. We suspected general manager Tim Bezbatchenko would be in the market for another player in that position this winter and Williams’ departure all but confirms a new arrival is coming.

The Reds have now dropped nearly $700,000 out of their salary cap equation for next season between Williams, Mark Bloom, Chris Mannella and Will Johnson, who looks set to sign for Orlando City. Clement Simonin, Benoit Cheyrou, Quillan Roberts and Daniel Lovitz are also out of contract without confirmed offers and Toronto will feel the full benefit of the midseason release of Damien Perquis.

Add in an extra $400,000 in targeted allocation money and Bezbatchenko has plenty of cash to play with as well as a fair bit of work to do. An interesting couple of months lie ahead.