United Reaches Deal to Trade Petke

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 23, 2005

D.C. United has reached an agreement in principle to trade veteran defender Mike Petke to the Colorado Rapids as part of a complicated deal involving a third team, sources close to the negotiations said yesterday.

Pending MLS approval, United would receive a partial allocation, which the club could use toward acquiring a foreign player in the near future. D.C. has been pursuing an unspecified Argentine defender who wouldn't be available until later in the summer because of contractual obligations in South America.

"Ultimately, [United] will end up with something other than a player" in the Petke trade, one source said. "It's then a matter of what [D.C.] does with it."

In MLS, teams have the freedom to identify potential players, but the league must approve contracts.

"We're not prepared to announce anything at this time," United spokesman Doug Hicks said.

Petke, 29, is in his eighth MLS season and third with United (3-3-2). He started a combined 48 games the previous two years and was in the lineup for the first seven games this season. But Saturday night, apparently as a condition for the trade, he was held out of United's 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Wizards at RFK Stadium.

Petke also didn't play in yesterday's reserve game against the Wizards. He had practiced with the team Friday and was not included on the team's injured list.

Petke, who had signed a new contract with United during the offseason, didn't return a phone message seeking comment. His New York-based agent, Ron Waxman, has been out of the country.

The Rapids (2-6-1) are in fifth place out of six teams in the Western Conference and have yielded more goals (15) than anyone else in the league, except for expansion club Chivas USA.

Colorado traded veteran midfielder Mark Chung to San Jose late last week and is preparing to deal longtime midfielder Chris Henderson, who was held out of Saturday's 2-1 loss at Chicago.

United has been desperately short of defenders all season because of injuries, but Brandon Prideaux has reestablished himself as a starter and Bryan Namoff recently returned from a broken rib. Seeking depth, the club has given tryouts in the last few weeks to central defender Carlos Llamosa, a former United standout, as well as free agent outside back John Wilson.

United has also held trade talks involving midfielder Dema Kovalenko this year, but it's unclear whether those discussions have intensified now that Kovalenko has returned from a broken foot.

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