Austin FC acquire Matt Hedges in trade with Toronto FC | MLSSoccer.com
TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
- ATX receive: Matt Hedges
- TOR receive: Up to $475k in GAM
In exchange for Hedges, TFC will receive up to $475,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) – $375k of which is guaranteed next year and $100k of which is conditional for 2025. Additionally, Hedges has signed a new contract with the Verde & Black through the end of the 2024 MLS season with options for 2025-26.
The move sees the veteran defender return to Texas after spending 2012-22 at FC Dallas. The 2016 MLS Defender of the Year and two-time MLS Best XI selection is the all-time appearance leader at FC Dallas and used to captain Austin’s rival club.
“Austin FC is a growing organization with everything in place to be successful,” Hedges said in a release. “I’m excited to join the team and can’t wait to get started.”
Austin FC impact
Hedges, 33, spent nearly eight months with Toronto after joining as a free agent last December. He’s been limited to 14 games (13 starts) this year while spending some time on the Reds’ lengthy injury report.
For his MLS career, the former US international has 18 goals and four assists in 324 regular-season games (309 starts). That experience should help steady an Austin backline that’s led by Julio Cascante and includes Brandan Craig on loan from the Philadelphia Union. Offseason signing Leo Väisänen remains sidelined with a knee injury amid other comings and goings.
“We’re delighted to welcome Matt and his family to Austin and to Austin FC,” new Austin FC sporting director Rodolfo Borrell said in a release. “He has consistently been one of the league’s best center backs for the last decade, and his talent and experience will be very valuable to the team.”
Toronto FC changes
With Hedges leaving, Toronto turn to Sigurd Rosted, Aimé Mabika and Shane O’Neill as their center-back core. The move also continues the club’s roster turnover in the post-Bob Bradley era and with new general manager Jason Hernandez calling the shots and Terry Dunfield remaining as interim coach.
Forward Ayo Akinola (loan to San Jose Earthquakes) and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye (trade to New England Revolution) both left Toronto in recent weeks, while midfielders Latif Blessing (trade with New England) and Franco Ibarra (loan from Atlanta United) both arrived. More changes could follow before the Secondary Transfer Window closes on Aug. 2.
“We’d like to thank Matt for his efforts during the 2023 season,” Hernandez said in a club statement. “After a comprehensive discussion, Matt felt it was in the best interest of his family to facilitate a move back to the U.S. and we fully supported his decision. We wish Matt and his family the best for the remainder of the 2023 season and beyond.”
Big picture, Austin are mid-table and hoping to recapture their 2022 heights of reaching the Western Conference Final. Meanwhile, Toronto are second-from-last in the Eastern Conference and in danger of missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for a third straight year.