MLS news: Deplagne joins FC Cincinnati from France’s Ligue 2

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May 29, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Major League Soccer commissioner Don Barber (left) poses with FC Cincinnati team owner Carl Lindner III after announcing the team’s acceptance to the league at Rhinegeist Brewery in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. FC Cincinnati was announced as the newest expansion team to join Major League Soccer. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

Many of FC Cincinnati’s first roster moves as a Major League Soccer franchise have been related to defense.

The club traded for a pair of MLS all-stars in left back Greg Garza and centerback Kendall Waston. It acquired players with UEFA Champions League experience in goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tytoń and defensive midfielder Leonardo Bertone. In its move from USL to MLS, Cincinnati also retained the services of Forrest Lasso, the USL’s 2018 Defender of the Year.

And on Wednesday, the expansion side’s defense got even stronger — on paper, anyway.

FC Cincinnati announced the signing of Mathieu Deplagne on a transfer from Troyes AC, a club in France’s Ligue 2. A native of France, Deplange will occupy an international roster spot for Cincinnati upon the receipt of his P-1 Visa and international transfer certificate.

“It is an awesome opportunity for me and for my career at the age of 27,” Deplagne said in a statement. “I have played my entire professional career in France and I wanted to discover something new. It is really the perfect timing for me. I hope to stay here for a long time.”

While Deplange comes to MLS after playing in France’s second division, much of his career was spent in his native country’s top tier. Troyes AC was relegated to Ligue 2 on May 20.

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Before joining Troyes AC in 2017, Deplange played with Montpellier HSC, a Ligue 1 side from 2010 through 2017. He also came up in Montpellier’s youth academy. In eight of his seasons as a professional, seven have been played in France’s Ligue 1. In the 2011-12 season, he helped Montpellier win the Ligue 1 title.

Deplange has experience playing right back and centerback and has appeared in 148 professional games in his career, scoring one goal and adding five assists over that time.

“We look forward to adding a player of Mathieu’s caliber to our organization,” FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch said. “He has played in matches against some of the best clubs in the world and has a history of success on the pitch. We are excited to see him embrace a new challenge here in Cincinnati.”

Deplange is the 21st player FC Cincinnati has signed ahead of its inaugural MLS campaign, which will begin in March.

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