Laurent Ciman celebrates victory-PHI-MTL-8.12.17


LAFC acquired Belgian international center back Laurent Ciman Tuesday from the Montreal Impact in exchange for defenders Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards, whom LAFC had selected hours earlier in the MLS Expansion Draft.

Ciman will join coach Bob Bradley's expansion side after three seasons as the anchor of the Impact's backline, having made 27 or more starts in all three campaigns. He was named the 2015 Defender of the Year and followed that with an appearance in the 2016 MLS All-Star Game. 

Internationally, the 32-year-old appeared in five qualifying matches, including four starts, to help Belgium secure their spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia next summer.

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

LAFC had selected Raitala from Columbus Crew SC and Edwards from Toronto FC earlier Tuesday in the Expansion Draft. Both can play left back.

Raitala, a 29-year-old Finish international, started 20 matches and made 28 appearances for Columbus in his inaugural MLS season after a career that has included stints in Germany's Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga and Holland's Eredivisie. 

Edwards, just 22 years old, played in 21 games for 2017 MLS Cup champions Toronto, including 10 as a starter, finishing the campaign with a goal and six assists. On the international stage, he has represented Canada twice, making his senior debut at Stade Saputo in Montreal vs. Curaçao on June 13, 2017.

“We have evaluated all available players in the Expansion Draft and we acquired a couple of players that will help improve the overall quality of the team,” said Impact technical director Adam Braz in a team statement. “Jukka showed that he is capable of stepping into a new environment and contributing straight away. With Ambroise Oyongo’s probable departure, it was important for us to add an experienced left-back. Raheem is a young, versatile, and exciting Canadian international that will fit in nicely with our group. He is quick and crafty and poses a lot of problems for the opposition in the attacking third of the field. We want to thank Laurent for his efforts and commitment to our club during the last three years. We wish him all the best moving forward.”