LAFC acquires Belgium international Ciman for Edwards and Raitala

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The defender will head west, with the Montreal Impact receiving two players LAFC selected in the expansion draft earlier Tuesday

Los Angeles FC appears to have locked down its first-choice center back pairing for the club's debut season.

The expansion side announced Tuesday it has acquired Laurent Ciman from the Montreal Impact in exchange for Raheem Edwards and Jukka Raitala, who were selected in the MLS expansion draft earlier in the day.

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

Ciman joined the Impact before the 2015 season and played 93 MLS games over three years, scoring three goals and adding four assists over that time. He was a part of two Impact playoff runs, including a trip to the Eastern Conference final in 2016.

The 32-year-old center back remains in Belgium's setup, having been called in for November's friendlies against Mexico and Japan, going the full 90 in the 3-3 draw with El Tri.

Prior to landing Ciman, LAFC traded for center back Walker Zimmerman from FC Dallas — meaning the franchise appears to have secured its two starters at the position.

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Edwards played his first full season for Toronto FC this season after appearing in one match in 2016. He managed a goal and six assists for the MLS Cup champions, though the 22-year-old midfielder’s role diminished as the season went along.

Raitala joined the Columbus Crew ahead of the 2017 season, appearing in 28 games (20 starts) and contributing two assists. The fullback also played in two of the Crew's playoff contests this season, starting one.

In addition to Ciman and Zimmerman, LAFC has secured Carlos Vela and Omar Gaber for its debut season while also picking up Tyler Miller, Latif Blessing and Marco Urena in Tuesday’s expansion draft.

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