Grasshoppers, Switzerland's most prestigious soccer club, has expressed interest in acquiring D.C. United veteran defender Jeff Agoos, his agent said yesterday.

Agoos is under contract with Major League Soccer, but Grasshoppers probably would attempt to get him on loan during United's current offseason, then have the option to purchase his rights.

"It's very preliminary and we haven't seen any numbers yet," Agoos's agent, Richard Motzkin, said from Los Angeles. "We're just waiting to see what the timing is and if it is doable. If it is, we'll explore it, for sure. It would be a great experience for Jeff, even if he just goes over on loan and comes back."

Grasshoppers, coached by former Swiss World Cup coach Roy Hodgson, is in the market for a left back--a position that Agoos plays for United and the U.S. national team. The 113-year-old Zurich club, currently in third place in the Swiss League, is looking to acquire someone before the second half of its season begins in early February.

Agoos, 31, played for Hodgson on a FIFA world all-star team in an exhibition in South Africa a few months ago. Motzkin, who was contacted by Hodgson recently, said he plans to speak soon with United and MLS officials about a possible offer.

MLS Vice President Ivan Gazidis, who oversees personnel issues, said he was not aware of Grasshoppers' interest in Agoos.

Agoos, who couldn't be reached to comment, is coming off perhaps his best year for both United and the national team. He was a finalist for MLS defender of the year and was named to the all-league team as United won its third league title in four years.

Playing for Bruce Arena, United's former coach, on the national squad, Agoos helped the United States finish third at the Confederations Cup in Mexico and contributed to upsets over Germany and Argentina.

Agoos was born in Switzerland, but grew up in the Dallas area and attended the University of Virginia. He played in Germany's lower divisions before joining United for MLS's inaugural season in 1996.

Grasshoppers also is interested in W.T. Woodson High School senior forward Abe Thompson, a key reserve on the U.S. under-17 national team that recently finished fourth at the world championships in New Zealand. Thompson's college choice is Maryland.

United Notes: Asked if there was any chance D.C. defender Diego Sonora would re-sign with the league, Gazidis said: "I think that's done with. I don't think he'll be back." He also said that he is optimistic the league would re-sign United forward A.J. Wood, whose contract expires on Dec. 31.