Dip in form sees Rochat off to DC UnitedJune 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2013 | 2 Comments
Alain Rochat, who signed on with the Whitecaps in 2010 prior to the their first season in Major League Soccer, has left the club. He has been traded to DC United for a second round pick in the 2015 MLS Superdraft and another pick in 2016. It seems like a paltry amount for a player who was one of the strongest players of the Whitecaps MLS era.
In my mind Rochat will always be associated with two other departed fellows, all of whom hailed from the Swiss league: Davide Chiumiento and Eric Hassili. The three of them formed the footballing soul of the early MLS Whitecaps of 2011 and early 2012. When these other two were dealt away midway through the 2012 season, I thought Rochat would go too, but he hung around a year longer.
A superb left-footed full back, Rochat did it all for us: he defended well, he passed the ball well and scored a few beautiful goals to boot. He is the complete left fullback. He is a superb athlete, whom I always likened to a Mercedes Sedan cruising down the Autobahn. He had class, composure, intelligence, and was great to watch. He was faster and stronger than he appeared. Rochat was versatile and filled in at centre back and in midfield when needed. He was less effective in those positions than in his natural position, but still high quality nonetheless.
The truth be known, Rochat has dipped in form a bit this season. Whether he was unhappy, or just getting older, Rochat did not look as good as he did in 2011 and 2012. He no longer made those surging runs down the left side, and his passing game, which was so good before, was suddenly off. He no longer seemed to be enjoying himself as much, though he always was a quiet sort of guy. Even with the dip in form, he was still steady and reliable in defence, but the offensive side of his game disappeared almost completely (With the exception of a close header against Montreal when he was playing midfield). Recently he tended to give the ball away because his passes were not so accurate. He just did not seem to be playing like a happy footballer.
It is sad to see him go, because I had thought that having Rochat and Lee playing at the back corners of the team was a real benefit to the Whitecaps. Lee has continued to provide quality, whereas Rochat has gone off the boil. He needed a change, and I hope a move to DC United reignites his passion for football, which he seems to have lost this year.
Rochat takes with him a great deal of the pure footballing skill in our squad. While Jordan Harvey, who will now take on the role of left back, is playing well, he simply does not have the same pure footballing talent as Rochat. Harvey’s recent goal against the New York Red Bulls will give him confidence going forward, however, so lets hope he steps up.
It is another sad day, but at least we will be able to see Rochat when he plays against us. It was a pleasure having him on the squad, and he was a real benefit to our team. He was one of the guys who was most worth watching on the Vancouver Whitecaps over the last three years.
Thanks for the memories, Alain! It was great to have you playing in a Whitecaps jersey.