Brazilian Forward Emilio Is Ready to Sign With D.C.

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

D.C. United has finalized a deal to acquire Luciano Emilio, a Brazilian forward who has been playing for Honduran club Olimpia, sources close to the negotiations said yesterday.

The team has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon at RFK Stadium to introduce Emilio -- the first of two or three South American players expected to join the club this winter following United's decision to trade several veterans, including midfielder-forward Freddy Adu and striker Alecko Eskandarian, last month.

Club officials declined to comment until today's announcement.

Emilio, 28, became one of the top scorers in Honduras after beginning his international career in Germany. His potential move to United first surfaced in the Honduran media last week. D.C. Coach Tom Soehn told The Post on Friday that Emilio "is on our radar."

United also had been pursuing Brazilian midfielder Ruy, from Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro, but talks stalled last week. The team continues to weigh its options for other players from Brazil as well as Argentina.

Emilio's first game for United will be against Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions' Cup. The teams are scheduled to face each other in the first leg of a two-game quarterfinal series Feb. 20-22 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Game 2 will be a week later in Washington.

Scheduling Conflict at RFK

United has been chosen to participate in a tournament involving MLS and Mexican teams this summer and has been awarded three home games in the first round. One problem: RFK is available for only two of those matches.

United will face Mexican clubs Morelia and Club America on July 25 and 28, respectively, at RFK in Group B of SuperLiga, an eight-team, inaugural event that will reward the champion $1 million. During the formal announcement in Los Angeles this past weekend, organizers also said that D.C. would play its first-round finale against the MLS champion Houston Dynamo on Aug. 1 at RFK.

However, the Washington Nationals are scheduled to play the second game of a three-game series with Cincinnati that evening.

Despite the scheduling issue, United officials said the team will remain the host for the Houston match and that they are exploring other potential sites. "It will be somewhere nearby," senior vice president Stephen Zack said, listing Philadelphia, Baltimore and Richmond as possible candidates.

Maryland SoccerPlex, a Montgomery County facility with a 3,200-seat stadium that has hosted some United nonleague games in the past, is too small for this event. FedEx Field in Landover is considered too large. A decision is not expected for several months.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, likely with David Beckham, will play in Group A with FC Dallas and Mexican clubs Pachuca and Chivas. All games will be played at U.S. venues, including the Aug. 29 final at a site to be determined.

Early to Camp

United and the MLS Players Union have reached a compromise that will allow D.C. players to report to training camp Jan. 26, eight days earlier than permitted under the collective bargaining agreement. As compensation, United will have to provide the players eight days off (not consecutively) before the April 7 regular season opener, according to Bob Foose, the union's executive director.

United requested the early start to begin preparing for its Champions' Cup opener against Olimpia. Houston, also playing in that tournament, arranged a similar deal with the union. . . .

United technical director Dave Kasper said he expects to successfully complete contract talks this week with midfielder Brian Carroll, a four-year United veteran who became a free agent after the season and had been exploring European opportunities.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company