FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps spent nearly two weeks getting a close look at German defender Florian Lechner during the preseason. He apparently liked what he saw.
The former Karlsruher SC defender joined the Revolution on a free transfer on Wednesday morning after reaching an agreement to terminate his contract with the 2.Bundesliga side. The 31-year-old right back gives the Revs a seasoned, versatile presence in defense, according to Heaps.
“We were trying to hammer out the details in the last week or so and now it's finalized,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com after Wednesday's training session. “We're excited to have him because he adds a veteran presence that we need.”
Ex-St. Pauli man Lechner also provides desperately needed cover in the rear guard, particularly at right back. Kevin Alston played much of last season without a natural replacement, but Lechner's arrival ensures that Heaps can point to a like-for-like substitute if required. Lechner – much like fellow defender Darrius Barnes – could also be called upon to plug gaps in the middle or on the left as well.
Lechner's services would have proven helpful this week given the currently tattered state of the Revolution defense. Barnes (left calf strain) won't make the trip to Sporting Kansas City this weekend, while John Lozano (right hip flexor strain) is listed as doubtful for the contest. While A.J. Soares' apparent recovery from a right knee sprain will aid the cause, Lechner's availability would provide much needed depth to a group stretched pretty thin at the moment.
Unfortunately for the Revs, the German fullback isn't expected to link up with his new teammates for a couple of weeks as he waits for the paperwork required to complete his move.
“It's not going to be this week,” Heaps said. “It's like anything. We just hope for the best and that it's a speedy turnaround for the P1 [work visa] and the [international transfer certificate].”