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United Trying to Sign Forward to Bolster Attack

Tuesday, September 28, 2004; Page D02

Seeking to bolster its attacking depth for the stretch run of the MLS season, D.C. United is pursuing veteran forward Dante Washington.

Washington, 33, scored 35 goals in the past two seasons for the Virginia Beach Mariners of the A-League, the top minor league circuit under MLS. He led the A-League in points with 40 this past season with 17 goals and six assists, and was among three finalists for league most valuable player honors.

Washington practiced yesterday with United, which has one roster spot and an unspecified amount of salary cap space available. He would have to reach a contract agreement with MLS before joining United. "We've had him on our radar screen for a while and he's coming off two great years with the Mariners," said Dave Kasper, the club's technical director. "He would provide great cover for us heading into the stretch."

A Howard County native who starred at Radford University and now lives in Northern Virginia, Washington played for the Washington Warthogs indoor team in the early 1990s before spending seven seasons in MLS. He had 52 goals and 29 assists with Dallas and Columbus.

United, which is 8-10-9 and has three regular season games remaining, has been short-handed on the attack all year because of long-term injuries to Thiago Martins, Santino Quaranta and Eliseo Quintanilla. The team's problems intensified this past Saturday when points leader Jaime Moreno injured his left hamstring and top goal scorer Alecko Eskandarian received a yellow card, putting him over the penalty limit and forcing him to sit out this Saturday's match at New York/New Jersey.

Moreno was not expected to practice early this week or play in tomorrow night's exhibition against Guatemalan club Municipal at RFK Stadium, but could be available Saturday, club officials said.

-- Steven Goff


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