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D.C. United close to deal to reacquire Yamil Asad

Yamil Asad, right, in possession against Toronto FC last fall. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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D.C. United is deep in negotiations to reacquire midfielder Yamil Asad, a midfielder who started most of the 2018 season before being recalled by his Argentine club, and hopes to finalize an agreement before the MLS roster freeze Friday.

According to people familiar with the talks, the organization has grown increasingly confident in striking a deal for the free-agent attacker, 25, who posted nine goals and eight assists in 30 regular season matches (27 starts) last year. He scored the first goal in Audi Field history.

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Asad was also weighing an offer from a Greek club, those sources said.

Per team policy, United officials said they would not comment on any potential signings.

Most summer transactions in MLS were completed early this month before the transfer and trade deadline. However, teams are able to sign domestic and international free agents until the end of this week. United retained Asad’s MLS rights.

Asad played two years in MLS — one with Atlanta, one with D.C. — while on loan from Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield. After returning last winter, however, Asad appeared in just one match (19 minutes). United’s efforts to reacquire him — or trade his rights — were unsuccessful.

This summer, Velez released him. United and others in MLS (via trade) expressed interest in signing Asad, but aside from what one source called “difficult” contract negotiations, there were concerns about his lack of playing time and whether his fitness and form were good enough to contribute this year.

With just five matches left in the regular season, United’s move for Asad now is seen as an investment for the 2020 season — and without the complications that came with the previous loan agreement.

The club would certainly accept whatever Asad is able to contribute, but given his match inactivity since last fall, he might end up playing more often for second-division Loudoun United this season in order to begin rebuilding fitness and form. Loudoun, a first-year team based in Leesburg and owned by the D.C. operation, has 11 games left.

If a deal is consummated, Asad would become the fourth Argentine on the roster. Midfielders Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez and defender Leonardo Jara are the others.

United’s other summer acquisitions were striker Ola Kamara, defensive midfielder Felipe Martins, winger Emmanuel Boateng and attacker Gordon Wild.

After staying near the top of the Eastern Conference much of the year, United (10-10-9) is in a 1-5-1 rut and in danger of missing the playoffs. Montreal’s 2-1 victory over Vancouver on Wednesday further tightened the race ahead of United’s match against the Impact (11-14-4) on Saturday at Stade Saputo.

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