United Acquires Argentine Niell On a 1-Year Loan

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In the first of likely several foreign signings, D.C. United announced yesterday that it has acquired forward Franco Niell on a one-year loan from Argentinos Juniors, a first-division club in Buenos Aires.

Niell, 24, will join a United frontline corps that includes 2007 MLS scoring champion Luciano Emilio and the league's all-time leader in goals, Jaime Moreno.

At 5 feet 4, 145 pounds, Niell "has an incredible work rate and is difficult to defend," General Manager Dave Kasper said. "He's always moving and is a good fit for the way we want to play."

Meantime, Peruvian goalkeeper Jos¿ Carvallo told reporters in his native country that he is scheduled to arrive in Washington today and join United for the start of training camp this weekend.

Carvallo has a green card -- his mother lives in Northern Virginia -- and will not count against United's foreign player limit. He is expected to back up Zach Wells, who was acquired via trade last month from Houston.

Also, Colombian defender Gonzalo Mart¿nez is planning to arrive this weekend, a source close to the situation said. United has been linked with Argentina's Gonzalo Peralta (defender) and Marcelo Gallardo (midfielder), as well.

Gallardo, a former Argentine national team star most recently with French club Paris Saint-Germain, would likely replace Christian Gomez if Gomez does not re-sign with United or is traded. Negotiations are continuing with Gomez's representatives, Kasper said.

Kasper declined to comment on potential signings.

El Salvador to Play at RFK

El Salvador will play a 2010 World Cup qualifying match at RFK Stadium because its first-round opponent, Anguilla, does not have a facility that meets FIFA standards.

The first leg of the total-goals series will be Feb. 6 in San Salvador and the finale March 26 in Washington. The Salvadorans are heavily favored to beat Anguilla -- a Caribbean island nation with about 13,500 residents that considers sailing its national sport -- and advance to play Panama in June.

The Washington area has a large Salvadoran community and has been the site of national team and club matches. Houston and Los Angeles were also considered.

Egypt Wins

Defending champion Egypt began its quest for a record sixth Africa Cup of Nations title with a 4-2 victory over Cameroon in Kumasi, Ghana. . . .

Because of security concerns, Iraq will play its World Cup qualifying home matches against China, Australia and Qatar in Dubai.

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