Update: According to John Molinaro of Sportsnet, this is a done deal. Beitashour will join LAFC for 2018.
Can confirm it's a done deal: Beitashour is leaving #TFC and has signed with LAFC.— John Molinaro (@JohnMolinaro) January 11, 2018
As Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times first reported, Toronto FC may be in the market for a new fullback as free agent Steven Beitashour is apparently close to a deal with the expansion side Los Angeles FC.
The 30-year-old defender’s contract ran out after the 2017 season, after he spent two years in Toronto. The Reds acquired him from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a trade in late 2015, and he’s been a stalwart on the right side for them pretty much ever since.
Beitashour was a fixture in the starting eleven down the homestretch of the 2017 season. He’s started every TFC playoff game for the past two years (so, all but one playoff game in TFC history). He’s never had quite the offensive flair of his wingback counterpart, Justin Morrow, but he’s always been steady on both sides of the ball.
In 22 MLS appearances last season, Beitashour had five assists as a decent crossing option on the right flank. If he is indeed leaving, TFC will miss his athleticism and work ethic up the touchline.
Beitashour’s departure would mean that Toronto has lost two players they employed as wingbacks last season, Raheem Edwards being the other. Although this could be a concern if they’re hoping to keep defaulting to the 3-5-2, I’m not so sure they are.
It seems more and more likely that Greg Vanney might tinker with several variations of a 4-4-2 this season. So, the Reds may be in the market for a new out-and-out right back. Fortunately, with all the new Targeted Allocation Money at their disposal, that shouldn’t be too hard.
As Oliver Platt pointed out on Twitter, TFC could quite easily pay any new defender twice the $244,000 salary Beitashour was making, and use TAM to get the cap hit way down.
The new dynamics created by TAM also play into this. TFC could pay someone double what Beitashour earned and buy it down below his cap hit without using that much of their allowance. #TFCLive— Oliver Platt (@plattoli) January 11, 2018
There have also been rumours that Eriq Zavaleta, whose contract is also up, may be on the way out as well. If there’s anything to those German Conti reports, that could be why TFC defenders are looking for more regular starting jobs elsewhere.