Toronto FC sure weren’t given much time to celebrate winning MLS Cup.
Three days after hoisting the trophy it is back to business, and Raheem Edwards is on his way to LAFC. The 22-year-old was selected with the final pick of the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft.
Edwards put together a strong first Major League Soccer season this year with a goal and six assists in 21 regular season games played. He mostly featured as a left wing-back, although played up the line as a winger late in games.
His success in Toronto also opened the door internationally: Edwards made his Canada debut in a friendly against Curacao. He was also on the roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but did not feature.
Despite his strong play, Edwards played only sparingly down the stretch by Toronto. He found himself caught behind Justin Morrow, one of the league’s best full-backs who finished second in Defender of the Year voting this season.
In that sense the move could be a positive one for Edwards, who may be in line for more minutes with LAFC. Toronto didn’t really play with a left winger, which happens to be Edwards’ more traditional position.
Whether or not the move is permanent remains to be seen. Tim Bezbatchenko has twice re-acquired Toronto players selected in expansion drafts, including last season with goalkeeper Clint Irwin. However, reports suggest there is no deal currently in place to make that happen.
For LAFC, Edwards was an obvious expansion draft choice. He is a young player who does not appear to require an international slot and is proven in MLS. Whether they use him as an asset to further build their team or want to keep him for themselves, he is valuable.
The loss of Edwards would certainly be a tough one for Toronto, as he was one of their most promising young players. It also might require a move to strengthen the left side of defence.
Here are all the picks that LAFC made in the five round expansion draft: