LAFC Roster Beginning to Take Shape After Expansion Draft

In the heart of Los Angeles, Banc of California Stadium isn’t the only thing coming together for Los Angeles Football Club ahead of the 2018 season. As a result of Tuesday’s Expansion Draft and following trades, LAFC acquired a total of four players, bringing the new total to seven spots filled in their roster.

The five players selected in the Expansion Draft were:

  1. Tyler Miller -- goalkeeper from the Seattle Sounders FC
  2. Latif Blessing -- forward from Sporting Kansas City
  3. Marco Urena -- forward from the San Jose Earthquakes
  4. Jukka Raitala -- defender from Columbus Crew
  5. Raheem Edwards -- defender/midfielder from Toronto FC 

LAFC supporters were out in full force and chanted while marching into the seating area just before the Expansion Draft began. While MLS live streamed the event, LAFC General Manager John Thorrington and Head Coach Bob Bradley announced the first two picks in the draft. Continuing with the theme of community involvement, LAFC had a fan announce the third pick of the draft. Shortly after Thorrington and Bradley announced the fourth and fifth round picks, both were available for media interviews, as lunch was made available for the fans.

“Look where we’re playing. Look at the connection we have with the city,”  head coach Bob Bradley commented. “If you go around the world, for me, the most exciting clubs are so entwined with the identity of the city and that is our opportunity here in LA.”

Only a couple hours after the draft had ended, LAFC already struck a trade deal with Impact Montreal for defender Laurent Ciman in exchange for the fourth and fifth picks, Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards. 

The players acquired today—Ciman, Miller, Blessing and Urena—join previously announced Mexican international midfielder Carlos Vela, Egyptian international defender/midfielder Omar Gaber and defender Walker Zimmerman, who recently acquired from FC Dallas in exchange for $500k allocation money and the top spot in the allocation order, to make up LAFC’s current seven-man roster.

Immediately following the conclusion of the Expansion Draft, the league opened its free agency window opened, allowing teams to sign or trade players who are eligible for free agency (out of contract or players over the age of 28 who had their options were declined and have at least eight years of MLS service).

LAFC look to continue to build their roster through upcoming announcements of international players, as well as picking up MLS based players through trades and drafts. The Waiver Draft is scheduled for December 13th at 3:30pm ET, and the 2 stages of the Re-Entry Draft are scheduled for December 15th and 21st, respectively.