D.C. United has a new coach in Wayne Rooney, and the club may have a new goalie as well.
D.C. United on Thursday acquired goaltender David Ochoa in a trade with Real Salt Lake. The deal, which is expected to send allocation money to Salt Lake, has yet to be finalized or approved by Major League Soccer.
The Washington Post first reported United’s deal for the young goalie, and Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni confirmed Thursday afternoon that a deal between the two clubs was “in the works.”
“I don’t know if it’s finalized, but I know it’s in the works,” Mastroeni said, according to KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah. “I think it’s a great situation for David to continue progressing his career, and I think it’s a win-win for everyone. He wasn’t getting any playing time here and the fact that he‘s going to D.C. with a real opportunity to play, I think is a great situation for David.”
Ochoa, 21, has yet to appear in an MLS match with Salt Lake this season due to a dispute with the organization. Ochoa, considered a talented goalkeeper with high potential, is in the final year of his contract with Salt Lake. The team had reportedly made multiple contract offers to Ochoa, but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.
He last played in an MLS game in last season’s playoffs when Salt Lake lost in the Western Conference Final.
Ochoa may compete with D.C. United starter Rafael Romo for the starting goalie job. Romo replaced veteran Bill Hamid, who injured his hand in June and had surgery.
He could decide to sign an extension with D.C. United, but he could also choose to play overseas after his time in the District ends.
Ochoa, a dual national of the United States and Mexico, was named to the U.S. national team for the 2021 CONCACAF Nationals League as a backup goaltender. But a few months later, FIFA gave him the approval to switch to Mexico’s team. He was called up to the senior squad in April.
The trade Thursday comes one day after United acquired defensive midfielder Victor Palsson from Schalke in Bundesliga. Palsson, 31, has played for the Icelandic national team since 2014.
“His leadership qualities and ability both on and off the ball will bolster the spine of our squad and improve those around him,” D.C. United President of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said in a statement. “He’s an exciting signing for the club and will play an important role for how we expect to play moving forward under head coach Wayne Rooney.”