WASHINGTON (December 10, 2017) — D.C. United acquired New York City FC defender Frédéric Brillant in exchange for $75,000 of General Allocation Money and a 2018 international slot and signed him to a two-year contract.
The Frenchman completed his second season in Major League Soccer after helping New York City FC finish second in the Eastern Conference and qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs in two consecutive seasons (starting in all four of the their postseason games). Brillant played a major role in a revitalized NYCFC side and recorded a 26-14-14 record in 54 regular season appearances over two years.
“One of our top priorities this off-season was acquiring an experienced central defender and we are very pleased to complete this transfer," Dave Kasper, United general manager, said. "Frederic is a smart, athletic defender who is a very good passer. His size, speed and presence will strengthen our backline next season and we are excited to welcome him to D.C.”
Prior to moving to New York City, the 32-year-old spent five seasons in the Belgian First Division. He made 111 appearances and scored 12 goals in two stints with the Belgian side Koninklijke Voetbalclub Oostende (2011-2012, 2013-2016) and was with Koninklijke Beerschot Antwerpen Club between 2012-2013. New York City FC signed him on Jan. 28, 2016 in an effort to shore up their backline after conceding a league-high 58 goals in 2015.
Brillant made his MLS debut in a win over Chicago on March 6, 2016 and became a mainstay in the NYCFC backline that season. He started 31 out of 34 regular season games for the Sky Blues and helped lead the franchise to their first ever MLS Cup Playoff berth. The defender recorded eight shutouts in his first season and scored his first career MLS goal on May 29, 2016 in a 2-2 draw with Orlando to earn an MLS Team of the Week selection. His performance in October of that year earned him the Etihad Player of the Month award for NYCFC.
Brillant led the New York City defenders in the following categories in 2016:
- Appearances and starts (33)
- Minutes (2,970)
- Duels won (65.2%)
- Aerial duels (111)
- Total passes (1,702)
- Clearances (205)
- Interceptions (90)
In 2017, Brillant continued to be a key factor in the New York defense, making 23 appearances and scoring one goal. His lone goal that year was as an important game-winner in the 2-1 win against second place Chicago on July 22. His defensive ability helped pave the way for New York City to have the fifth stingiest defense in MLS (third in Eastern Conference) by allowing only 43 goals in 2017.
The Sedan, France native led New York City in the following categories:
- First in headed clearances (71)
- Second in aerial duels won (49)
- Tied for second in headed shots (10)
- Second in clearances (112)
- Second in blocks (12)
- Tied for third in interceptions (43)
New York City FC
United acquired Brillant from New York City FC in exchange for $75,000 of General Allocation Money and a 2018 international slot and sign him to a two-year contract.