Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman chests the ball as they face the Orlando City FC during second half MLS action Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in Montreal. The Montreal Impact shook up their backline Tuesday, trading star defender Laurent Ciman to expansion Los Angeles FC for Canadian wingback Raheem Edwards and Finnish defender Jukka Raitala. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Montreal Impact trade star defender Laurent Ciman to Los Angeles FC

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact shook up their backline Tuesday, trading star defender Laurent Ciman to expansion Los Angeles FC for Canadian wingback Raheem Edwards and Finnish defender Jukka Raitala.

In acquiring the Belgian international, LAFC added an experienced centre back to anchor its defence.

“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said in a statement. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian national team will be invaluable as we build our club.”

LAFC had taken Raitala and Edwards in the expansion draft held earlier in the day, Raitala from Columbus with the fourth pick and Edwards from Toronto FC with the fifth.

It was a dizzying day for Edwards, who went from Toronto to Los Angeles to Montreal where he now finds himself a member of Toronto’s biggest rival.

Montreal shed salary in the deal, with the 32-year-old Ciman making US$661,666 this season. The 22-year-old Edwards earned $53,000 and the 29-year-old Raitala $161,670.

“The salary cap plays a part in every move that you make within this league,” Impact technical director Adam Braz told a media conference call. “I also think when you look at age, that’s factor as well.

“Raheem Edwards is really young and has a bright future, a lot of upside and potential. (New coach) Remi (Garde) has done really well in his past with young players, helping them come through. And Raitala is an experienced left back that came into the league with Columbus and showed that he can do well in a new environment and helped Columbus have a good season.”

Braz said Raitala would help fill the void left by Ambroise Oyongo’s “probable departure.”

Ciman was MLS defender of the year in 2015. That year, his first in Major League Soccer, the Belgian international was also named to the MLS Best XI and MLS all-star game and was chosen Impact Defensive Player of the Year.

Ciman played 85 MLS games for Montreal, starting 30 matches this season.

Asked if Ciman requested a trade, Braz pointed to past interviews in which the Belgian said he wanted to stay in MLS. He did not elaborate.

Ciman came to Montreal from Belgium’s Standard de Liege. He also played for Brugge, RSC Charleroi and KV Courtai.

Raitala played 28 games, starting 20, in his first season with Columbus this season. He previously played for 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany, Osasuna in Spain and SC Heerenveen in the Netherlands. He has 39 caps for Finland.

Edwards had a breakthrough season with Toronto in 2017, playing 21 games (10 starts) with one goal and six assists. He has two caps for Canada.

“After having analysed the team’s defensive play during the last season, and by relying on internal reports, it seemed important to me to make some adjustments,” Garde said in a statement. “It’s the first change in terms of departures, but other players will get added to the roster in the next few weeks.”

Montreal ranked 16th in the 22-team league this season in goals against, conceding 1.71 goals a game.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ecologist Tony Blake was among several dozen area residents who participated in Tuesday’s public hearing on the future Molly Banister Drive extension. Blake argued for preserving trail connectedness and the wildlife corridor. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Molly Banister road extension stays

A nearly nine-hour public hearing ends with a 5-3 vote for keeping the road alignment

A server wears a mask at a restaurant, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Health officials receive thousands of COVID-related complaints

About 800 to 1,000 people call health officials weekly

Shaun Janse van Rensburg, a Red Deer resident, said he is tired of changing clocks twice a year. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
After COVID, Kenney may consider referendum on daylight savings

Albertans may be divided on several issues today, but there’s a consensus… Continue reading

The COVID-19 death toll in Alberta reached 309, according to numbers posted on the province’s website Tuesday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Another 422 COVID cases reported in Alberta and two more deaths

The Alberta government reported 422 COVID-19 cases Tuesday and two more virus… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
COVID-19 death toll verges on 10,000 as second wave continues to surge

Nearly 10,000 Canadians have died due to COVID-19, a mark of the… Continue reading

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts celebrates after a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning in Game 6 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Best Betts: Dodgers win first World Series title since 1988

Best Betts: Dodgers win first World Series title since 1988

Wade Sira is shown in a handout photo. Sira, the leader of Saskatchewan's pro-independence Buffalo Party, says he's extremely happy with last night's provincial election results, even though no candidates clinched a seat.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Wade Sira MANDATORY CREDIT
Buffalo Party’s strong showing in Saskatchewan vote a warning to Moe: experts

Buffalo Party’s strong showing in Saskatchewan vote a warning to Moe: experts

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2019, file photo, Christian Coleman, of the United States, celebrates after crossing the line to win the gold medal in men's 100 meter final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Nick Didlick)
World champion Coleman banned 2 yrs; to miss Tokyo Olympics

World champion Coleman banned 2 yrs; to miss Tokyo Olympics

Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther returns to the sideline after missing his fourth field goal attempt during second half CFL action against the Edmonton Eskimos, in Regina, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.  It's been a very difficult year for a number of kickers this year in the NFL, but CFL veteran Lauther continues to wait for his opportunity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor
Former Riders kicker Brett Lauther patiently awaiting opportunity to kick in the NFL

Former Riders kicker Brett Lauther patiently awaiting opportunity to kick in the NFL

Nashville SC midfielder Randall Leal, left, is congratulated by Alex Muyl after scoring a goal during the first half of the team's MLS soccer match against the Montreal Impact, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Willis gets MLS-leading 9th shutout, Nashville tops Montreal

Willis gets MLS-leading 9th shutout, Nashville tops Montreal

Kansas City mayor, star quarterback want Raptors to make Missouri temporary home

Kansas City mayor, star quarterback want Raptors to make Missouri temporary home

Djokovic, Thiem advance after slow starts in Vienna openers

Djokovic, Thiem advance after slow starts in Vienna openers

Most Read