Raheem Edwards is among the players Toronto FC have left unprotected for Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft.
Nicolas Hasler, Tosaint Ricketts and Clint Irwin - as well as free agents Drew Moor and Steven Beitashour - also feature among the 13 players that could be selected by LAFC.
TFC were allowed to protect 11 players and their choices essentially reflect their lineup for Saturday’s MLS Cup final, with Moor and Beitashour swapped out for Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund due to their contract status.
Five other players - Ben Spencer, Jay Chapman, Ashtone Morgan, Jordan Hamilton and Sergio Camargo - did not require protection as they hold homegrown status and are not on the senior roster.
Moor, Beitashour and Jason Hernandez are unlikely to be selected by LAFC as they will have the freedom to consider offers from around the league in free agency. It is highly probable that Moor will re-sign in Toronto.
That meant the most difficult choice for general manager Tim Bezbatchenko to make may have been between two Canadians: Edwards, who enjoyed an impressive first full season in MLS and is only 22, and Jonathan Osorio, who found minutes difficult to come by for much of the year but bounced back in the playoffs.
Osorio’s excellent recent form was enough to get him the nod.
Edwards, Hasler and Ricketts, in particular, could all be of interest to LAFC but the draft process is rarely as simple as the expansion club picking the players they like the most.
If recent drafts are anything to go by, LAFC may well forego the chance to fill out their roster and instead either ask for assets such as allocation money in return for leaving clubs alone or immediately trade the players they select elsewhere.
Toronto struck a deal of the former type last year, when Atlanta United picked Irwin only to send him back to the Reds for defender Mark Bloom and general allocation money.
With that being the case, it makes sense for Bob Bradley’s club to target the asset they believe Toronto will value the most - which is probably Edwards.
The full list of unprotected TFC players is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Clint Irwin, Mark Pais
Defenders: Drew Moor, Jason Hernandez, Brandon Aubrey, Steven Beitashour, Oyvind Alseth
Midfielders: Raheem Edwards, Nicolas Hasler, Benoit Cheyrou, Armando Cooper, Tsubasa Endoh
Forwards: Tosaint Ricketts
A full list of unprotected players from around the league can be found on MLS’ website.