D.C. United announced yesterday it has released English midfielder Steve Guppy, a move that clears roster and salary cap space for the club to acquire another foreign player.

"We have a couple players in mind," United technical director Dave Kasper said, adding that the team is looking for a wide midfielder or a forward.

United is close to acquiring Argentine defender Facundo Erpen, who would essentially fill the spot vacated by Mike Petke. Petke was traded to Colorado early this summer.

International acquisitions cannot be officially completed until the transfer window opens Aug. 15.

Guppy's possible departure was first reported in The Post last week. He had not practiced with the team since then and was not included on the roster for last Thursday's 2-1 exhibition loss to defending English champion Chelsea at FedEx Field.

Guppy, who was not picked up off waivers by any of the other 11 MLS teams following his release, didn't return messages seeking comment.

The 36-year-old left-side player joined United in March after 16 years of professional service in England and Scotland. He made a good initial impression in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and started the first four matches of the regular season, but Achilles' tendinitis in both legs sidelined him for about 10 weeks.

He returned recently for a late-game appearance against San Jose and played in an exhibition against minor league Rochester.

-- Steven Goff