Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Whitecaps Trade Defender Alain Rochat to D.C. United for Draft Picks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Whitecaps Trade Defender Alain Rochat to D.C. United for Draft Picks

Article excerpt

Whitecaps trade Rochat to United for picks

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VANCOUVER - He was one of those players who was just always there -- and now, suddenly, he's gone.

Alain Rochat rarely missed a game or a practice during two-plus seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps. But in a move that caught both players and observers by surprise, he was traded Thursday to D.C. United for a second-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and a conditional pick in 2016.

"It's a bit of a head-scratcher," Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton said after practice. "Obviously, we came in (Thursday) morning ready to train and he was in (the locker-room). It's just one of those things where it happens in this league. I think it caught a lot of people off guard."

Born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., but raised in Switzerland, Rochat signed with the Whitecaps in August 2010 before spending the remainder of the year on loan with FC Zurich.

In two-plus seasons with Vancouver, the 30-year-old scored five goals and added three assists in 67 regular-season MLS games. He made one MLS Cup playoff appearance and recorded two assists in nine Canadian Championship matches.

In addition to left fullback, he played as a holding midfielder at times, while also providing strong leadership. Calm under pressure, he could move the ball with skill, speed and finesse not often associated with players whose priority is to prevent goals.

The timing of the deal -- for nothing immediate in return -- was curious because the Whitecaps, coming off a rare road win over the New York Red Bulls, have battled injuries on the back line all season while also being unsettled at times in midfield. Vancouver coach Martin Rennie declined to comment on the timing or specific reasons for the deal, but noted the club has plenty of options to fill the void created by Rochat's departure.

"We've got quite a number of players that can play left back and quite a number of players who can play a similar role in midfield," said Rennie. "So when we got the opportunity to make the move, that was why we did it."

The coach said the move resulted from many factors, including salary-cap numbers. According to figures released in May by the MLS Players Union, Rochat is earning a $190,000 guaranteed base salary this season. …

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