Team America, which has lacked scoring and offensive coordination all season, yesterday acquired Mark Peterson, one of the North American Soccer League's best young forwards, on loan from the Seattle Sounders for the rest of the season.
Peterson will arrive today and may play Wednesday when Team America faces the Cosmos at RFK Stadium.
It also has been learned that Cosmos midfielder Ricky Davis has stated his intention to join Team America next year. Davis and Peterson are considered to be among the best U.S. players.
Meanwhile, Robert Lifton, the principal owner of Team America, said yesterday he wanted a solid commitment from the other teams in the NASL "if they want a Team America next season" but refused to say if he would move or fold the team.
"I'm not stating publicly what my position is, but if they want a Team America next year, then I need commitments from the other teams," Lifton said. Team America also serves as the development squad for the national team.
"I want a solid commitment from the league that (Team America Coach) Alkis (Panagoulias) will get the players he wants," he said. "I will not go through this again."
Team America has lost 10 of 12 games and is last in the Southern Division with 67 points. The team played well early in the season, at times leading its division, but is now in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
"I have met with Mr. Lifton and (NASL President Howard) Samuels, and it is my understanding that if there is a Team America next season, then I will get every player I want," said Panagoulias.
Team America is tied with San Diego for the fewest goals scored, 25. Peterson, the league's eighth-leading scorer with 13 goals and 30 points, is expected to improve the team's offense.
Peterson, 23, was the league's highest-scoring North American last year with 17 goals and 39 points and is joining the team so that Panagoulias may evaluate him in preparation for the 1986 World Cup. Peterson had declined to join Team America's training camp this spring.
Peterson recently lost his starting job in Seattle, but the Sounders' severe financial problems have forced the club to unload Peterson and other stars.
Qualifying for the 1986 World Cup begins next October, and Panagoulias has said most of his national team will be drawn from the Team America roster.
Davis, 24, a national team veteran, made Team America's roster but chose to remain with the Cosmos. Davis could not be reached yesterday for comment, but Samuels said he has asked to join Team America next season.
"Ricky believes that next year is crucial for Team America," said Samuels. "He'd like me to dictate to the players to join the team next year, but I'm amazed at the growing number of players who suddenly realize how important Team America is."