Chivas USA sign Romanian defender Zotinca

The 33-year-old veteran is expected to reinforce the weak defense

Zotinca practices with the team in New York

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Chivas USA

Chivas USA added some much-needed defensive reinforcements to its roster on Friday, welcoming veteran defender Alex Zotinca back to the Red-and-White.

The Romanian native returns to the Goats after having previously been a part of the club in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

“I’m happy to be with the team,” Zotinca told MLSsoccer.com. “Since the first day that Chivas [USA] contacted me to come back and train, it’s been a pleasure. What can I say? I just love being there every day now."

Zotinca, who was as a crucial part of the 2007 Chivas USA side that won the Western Conference and narrowly missed winning the Supporters’ Shield by just two points, had been playing with the team as a trialist for the majority of 2010, sharpening his game and working on his fitness.

At 33 years of age, the defender adds veteran leadership to a very youthful Chivas USA side. He brings 15 years of professional experience to the Goats, including stints with the Kansas City Wizards and Romanian powerhouse Steaua Bucuresti, with whom he competed in the 1999 UEFA Cup.

The defender was waived by Chivas USA in 2008 and took 2009 off.

“The team is pretty young, and it’s always better to have a mix between young players and old,” said Zotinca. “I can bring some experience to the team’s players.”

Zotinca joins a Chivas USA defensive corps that has been struggling to keep balls out of the net. The Red-and-White currently own the highest goals-against mark in the Western Conference and have notched just two shutouts in eleven games.

“The team lost the last few games, but they’ve been a little unlucky to not get a result here or there,” said Zotinca of the Goats’ ailing defense. “But I trust the team and I trust the coaching staff. It won’t be too long until we turn things around.”

Zotinca has joined Chivas USA in New York and will be eligible to play against the Red Bulls on Saturday. And while some might say that alarm bells should be ringing for the Goats after four consecutive losses, Zotinca remains calm about this weekend’s showdown.

“This game doesn’t feel any different than any other,” Zotinca said. “We always set out to win the game. We just have to concentrate for 90 minutes and we’ll see what happens. Every week is a new week for us. We learn from our mistakes and we move forward.”

Zotinca He was waived by the Red-and-White at the end of the 2008 season.