Toronto FC sign ex-Montreal, LAFC captain Laurent Ciman

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Laurent Ciman is back in MLS, after a four-month stint with Ligue 1 side Dijon, after a six-month stint with expansion side Los Angeles FC, after an unwanted trade away from Montreal Impact last December.

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The 2015 MLS Defender of the Year — and three-time All-Star — signed with Toronto FC, where he’ll be expected to shore up the Reds’ greatest weakness — and reason they missed the playoffs in 2018 — on Thursday. Ciman’s contract with Dijon was terminated earlier this week.

The 2017 MLS Cup winners moved up to the top spot in the allocation order, via trade (in exchange for the no. 2 spot in the allocation order and a second-round SuperDraft pick) with 2019 expansion side Cincinnati FC, to land the 33-year-old Belgian center back.

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“This is a player who has been a captain of two MLS teams, an All-Star and the Defender of the Year,” TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a press release. “He is an excellent passer, an organizer in the back and a passionate, fiery competitor. We look forward to him joining our club immediately and becoming an important part of our group.”

Not only will Ciman be an instant upgrade to TFC’s defensive ranks, but it’s his ability to pass the ball out of the back that will impact multiple facets of play in 2019. For all of TFC’s struggles in 2018 — and there were plenty of them — Ciman is the perfect answer to a number of them.