It is a nightmare scenario for Toronto FC supporters. Hours after fan favourite Raheem Edwards was selected by LAFC in the 2017 expansion draft, he is on the move again.
The destination? Toronto’s biggest rival, the Montreal Impact. Edwards and fellow expansion draft pick Jukka Raitala have been traded to Montreal in exchange for Belgium international Laurent Ciman.
LIRE | #IMFC fait l'acquisition de Jukka Raitala et Raheem Edwards du #LAFC en échange de Laurent Ciman >> https://t.co/4tH74dl7MZ— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) December 12, 2017
READ | Impact acquires Raitala and Edwards from @LAFC in exchange for Laurent Ciman >> https://t.co/BI4vWNoLDT pic.twitter.com/GPMglABYhM
Ciman was the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year and will join recently acquired centre-back Walker Zimmerman at the heart of the LAFC backline. He is a possible member of Belgium’s World Cup squad in Russia this summer.
In Edwards, the Impact are acquiring a versatile 22-year-old left-sided player who fits perfectly into their rebuild under Remi Garde. The trade will also bring them some salary-cap relief - almost $400,000 - giving Garde the opportunity to bring in some reinforcements.
With Ambroise Oyongo on his way out, both Edwards and Raitala could step into his role as an attacking left-back. Edwards could also move further up the field, especially will all the questions surrounding the future of Impact winger Ballou Tabla.
Seeing as Edwards was no longer Toronto property, this was the perfect opportunity for the Impact to acquire him. Pulling on a blue shirt next season will certainly add a wrinkle to the 401 Derby. He has now followed in the footsteps of other TFC to Impact converts including Daniel Lovitz and Dominic Oduro.
While he had no say in the matter, it could end up being a positive step in his career. Edwards wasn’t likely to get a whole lot of minutes next season in Toronto behind Justin Morrow. In Montreal he will also have a chance to work with Garde, who has a solid reputation for developing talented young players.
Toronto were always going to lose players after a historic season, but losing Edwards will certainly hurt. He was the team’s most promising young player in 2017, and leaves a hole in terms of depth at left-back.
His move might open the door for Ashtone Morgan to once again get minutes at that position. Don’t be surprised, however, if a new defender becomes a priority for Tim Bezbatchenko over the winter window.