Raheem Edwards brings "energy, pace and determination" in Chicago Fire debut

It won't matter to him without three points in tow, but newly-debuted Chicago Fire midfielder Raheem Edwards put in a Krakus Man of the Match-worthy shift in Saturday night's 2-1 defeat against former side Toronto FC.

"I'm more of a team player," Edwards said, following the result. "I could have a bad game and we win and I'll be the happiest guy alive. It is what it is, obviously a loss is disappointing but thankfully, we play next week against them, so we look forward to that."

Edwards was included among head coach Veljko Paunović's starting XI just four days after being acquired by the club via a trade with the Montreal Impact. In a 90-minute performance, the 23-year-old delivered the assist on the Fire's only goal, redirecting an Aleksandar Katai free kick towards the head of Nemanja Nikolić. Nikolić netted his 10th goal of the season on the play.

Edwards additionally drew the foul that earned the above free kick after a marauding run down the left wing, and contributed another pair of chances created as he settled into his Toyota Park debut.

"(Paunović) wanted me to provoke the back line and try to get into spaces behind, try to drive forward and make them make decisions," Edwards said. "That's what I try to do on the left side and on the right side when I played there a little bit. That was the game plan."

“I think Raheem is going to bring a ton of energy, pace and determination," Paunović added. "He played a great game in his debut. He had an assist and showed a lot of character, soccer acumen and desire. I think this shows us that there's a future here but also a present."

Edwards' addition to the squad brings a new dynamic to the Fire's width in attack, something the Fire will hope can compliment the abilities of the elusive Katai on the opposite wing going forward.

"At times (Katai) wants to play on the left and I want to play on the right, so we just kind of change because we both can play either side of the wing," Edwards said. "It's just us getting the feel of where we wanted to be and play at the time."

Edwards and the Fire will now look to take three points from their immediate rematch with Toronto FC on Saturday, July 28 (6 p.m. CT, ESPN+) at BMO Field.

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