United picks up veteran defender Alain Rochat

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Sports,D.C. United,Craig Stouffer

Trade second-rounder for veteran defenseman

D.C. United strengthened its beleaguered defense Thursday by acquiring veteran defender Alain Rochat from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional pick in 2016.

Rochat, 30, has made 65 starts in MLS the last three seasons -- with three goals and five assists during that span -- including 11 of 12 games this year for the Whitecaps (4-4-4, 16 points). He will earn $170,000 this season, according to MLS Players Union records.

Born in Canada, Rochat was raised in Switzerland, where he spent the entirety of his playing career, aside from one season in French Ligue 1, before moving to MLS. He won a pair of Swiss Super League titles in 2007 and 2009 with FC Zurich and played in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2010.

Up next
D.C. United at Revolution
When » Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Where » Gillette Stadium,
Foxborough, Mass.
TV » CSN
World Cup qualifying
U.S. at Jamaica
When » Friday, 9:30 p.m.
Where » National Stadium,
Kingston, Jamaica
TV » beIN Sport

D.C. United (1-10-2, 5 points) remains in the midst of a franchise-record 11 straight matches without a victory. Daniel Woolard and James Riley have shared duties at left back for most of the season, but United hasn't been able to reproduce the attacking presence out of the back that was important to last season's playoff run.

"Alain will provide us with immediate help with his experience and leadership," United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement.

Rochat can also play in the midfield, where United has struggled because of injuries to Marcelo Saragosa and John Thorrington. The latter could make his first start since March when D.C. visits New England on Saturday. Rochat needs a U.S. work visa and won't be available against Revolution (5-4-4) but should be next week when D.C. hosts Philadelphia in U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday, June 12, at Maryland SoccerPlex and Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on Saturday, June 15.

U.S. seeks to keep momentum vs. Jamaica
All the thrills of the U.S. men's national team's wild 4-3 win over Germany at RFK Stadium will be for naught if it can't capitalize on the momentum in coach Jurgen Klinsmann's second visit to Jamaica while in charge.

The most disappointing loss of Klinsmann's tenure came last September in Kingston at "The Office," where the U.S. was toppled 2-1. Jamaica used that victory to help cruise through the semifinal round of qualification, but the Reggae Boyz now have their backs against the wall, falling into last place (0-2-2) in the CONCACAF standings after losing to Mexico 1-0 on Tuesday.

Jamaica's need to score goals and play for a victory should open space for the U.S. (1-1-1), which is in fourth place and can all but lock up a place in Brazil in 2014 with a solid showing over the next two weeks. Following Friday's game, the U.S. will host Panama (1-0-2) in Seattle on June 11 and Honduras (1-1-1) at altitude in Salt Lake City on June 18.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Author:

Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner