The New England Revolution have announced the signing of defender Florian Lechner on a free transfer from German 2. Bundesliga club Karlsruher SC. He agreed to terms and was revealed this morning, and will join the roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa. Obviously, contract details were not disclosed.
Lechner trialed with the team during the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup and acquitted himself well both at right-back and in central defense. At age 31, his experience should prove invaluable for a back line that features no one else over the age of 26 (Chris Tierney).
"We believe Flo will be a solid addition to our defensive corps and he adds versatility and depth to that group," General Manager Michael Burns said. "We were pleased with how Flo adapted to MLS' style of play and how he interacted with our players when we was with us in Tucson during preseason."
Lechner began his career in the Stuttgart youth system, working his way into the reserve team and making a number of appearances there before making a permanent move to FC St. Pauli in 2004. While there, Lechner played alongside American Ian Joy and became a bit of a legend at the club, making over 100 appearances and helping the club to repeated promotions from the German 4th division all he way to the 1. Bundesliga for the 2010-2011 season.
After leaving St. Pauli, Lechner caught on at 2. Bundesliga club Karslruher SC, where he made 14 appearances in the second half of 2011 before seeking greener pastures.
This signing could not have come at a better time. A training injury to Darrius Barnes before the San Jose match exposed the lack of depth in the Revolution defense, forcing Stephen McCarthy into his first start at center-back and shifting A.J. Soares out wide to the left-back position. McCarthy did well, but Soares never looked comfortable on the flank. What's more, both John Lozano and A.J. Soares are in doubt for this weekend's clash with SKC, leaving some gaping holes in the back line.
"Flo" will also help provide competition for Kevin Alston, who has had an unchallenged stranglehold on the right-back spot for several seasons. However, his lack of attacking polish has been a cause for frustration at times for many fans; perhaps the specter of the wily veteran Lechner nipping at his heels will spur Alston out of career stagnation.
What do you think of the signing? Is this a good move? Are you excited to see what Lechner can do? Leave comments below!