Impact acquires Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact has acquired Finnish defender Jukka Raitala and Canadian midfielder Raheem Edwards, who were selected by Los Angeles FC during the MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday afternoon, in exchange for defender Laurent Ciman.

“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. “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.”

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

Jukka Raitala, selected by LAFC during the Expansion Draft, played his first MLS season with the Columbus Crew SC in 2017. He played 28 games, 20 of those as a starter, earning two assists in 1,920 minutes played. The 29-year-old has experience in some of the top European leagues with teams like 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, Osasuna in Spain’s La Liga, or SC Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie, among others. The left-back has also earned 39 caps for Finland on the international stage, making his senior debut in February of 2009 in a friendly match against Japan, in Tokyo.

Raheem Edwards, 22, was also picked by LAFC earlier today. He played in 21 games for Toronto FC in 2017, 10 of those as a starter, finishing the campaign with a goal and six assists. He played 41 games with TFC II in 2015 and 2016, scoring eight goals before being promoted to the first team in 2016. On the international stage, he has represented Canada on two different occasions, making his senior debut at Stade Saputo in Montreal, when Canada hosted Curaçao on June 13, 2017.

Laurent Ciman, 32, joined the Impact on January 22, 2015 from Standard de Liège. The centre-back played 85 games in MLS for the Bleu-blanc-noir, all of them as a starter, spending 7,589 minutes on the pitch. He scored two goals and added three assists in three seasons with Montreal.

Transaction: The Montreal Impact acquires defender Jukka Raitala and midfielder Raheem Edwards from LAFC in exchange for defender Laurent Ciman.

JUKKA RAITALA
Position: Defender
Height: 5’11’’
Weight: 174 lb
Birth: September 15, 1988, Kereva, Finlande
Nationality: Finland
Last club: LAFC
Acquired: December 12, 2017

RAHEEM EDWARDS
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’9’’
Weight: 148 lb
Birth: July 15, 1995, Toronto, Ontario
Nationality: Canada
Last club: LAFC
Acquired: December 12, 2017

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