D.C. United might be able to acquire highly regarded Spanish midfielder Mario Rosas, after all.
Two weeks after contract negotiations broke down, the sides are talking again, and Coach Ray Hudson said yesterday that there is a good possibility Rosas will join the club soon.
Rosas, 22, trained with United for a week in Florida this month, and although D.C. officials liked what they saw from the creative central midfielder, talks ended when United and Major League Soccer declined to guarantee his contract beyond this season.
But Hudson said yesterday that Rosas, who returned to Spain, has reconsidered the offer and might be willing to sign. A decision likely will come by early next week.
"He's a good little player and a classy player, no question," Hudson said. "He would certainly add some great depth to this roster."
Rosas came up through the prestigious FC Barcelona system and later played for Alaves and Salamanca in the Spanish league. He trained last month with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, who decided not to pursue him any further.
Meantime, United is interested in two other players: veteran midfielder Matt McKeon, a salary cap casualty at Kansas City this offseason, and Russian forward Yuri Petrov.
McKeon, 28, joined United for practice at George Washington University's Mount Vernon campus yesterday and will remain with the team all week. He has played in MLS since the 1996 inaugural year, making 153 starts in seven seasons, and made his reputation as a sturdy, hard-nosed defensive midfielder.
"He's available and he's very interested in joining us," Hudson said. "He's got good skill, great tenacity and experience. He's a real solid player. It's a bit of a concern that we don't have that real governor in that [defensive midfield] situation. . . . He's always been one of the unsung heroes of the league, a solid soldier and a real good piece to any team."
McKeon also worked out with Dallas recently, and it's unclear how he would be allocated.
Petrov, 28, trained with United for about a week in Florida and has returned to his club in the Netherlands. Hudson said he would like to acquire Petrov, but United will not have a foreign player slot available until Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoitchkov receives his green card. (United wouldn't have that problem with Rosas, who, because of his age, would be exempt from foreign status for at least two years.)
Surgery Likely for Ivanov
Bulgarian defender Galin Ivanov will see a hernia specialist in Milwaukee today, and if his injury is as bad as team officials suspect, he would undergo surgery on Thursday. Ivanov, projected to start in central defense, would need four to six weeks to recover, leaving him unavailable for the season opener April 12 at Kansas City and probably two other matches.
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando (ankle), defender Brandon Prideaux (hamstring) and defender-midfielder Ryan Nelsen (ankle) remain sidelined, but are close to returning.
Midfielder Jose Alegria finally arrived at training camp last Friday after missing six weeks because of visa problems in his native Peru. . . . United will scrimmage the minor league Richmond Kickers on Thursday in Washington. . . . Club officials have talked to David Vanole, an assistant coach for the WUSA's Washington Freedom, about becoming their goalkeepers coach. If an arrangement is reached, he would work for both teams. United has not had a goalies coach since Mark Simpson departed a few months ago. . . . Comcast SportsNet has agreed to show 15 regular season games, including the season opener, the club announced. Dave Johnson and former United coach Thomas Rongen will be the commentators. . . . United forward Earnie Stewart and midfielder Bobby Convey were named to the U.S. national team roster for the March 29 friendly against Japan in Seattle.