D.C. United’s upper management interviewed Columbus Crew assistant Ezra Hendrickson and former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas this week as part of its search for a head coach, multiple people familiar with the situation said.

Hendrickson, a member of United’s 2004 championship squad, and Armas, a longtime MLS midfielder who was fired by the Red Bulls in September, had second interviews Monday, two people said.

General Manager Dave Kasper headed the initial outreach to potential candidates in recent weeks. Co-chairmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan and others in the front office joined for the second round of interviews.

It’s unclear how many other candidates United’s executives are interviewing this week and next.

Two additional MLS assistants who played in the league have emerged in the search: Philadelphia’s Pat Noonan and Seattle’s Gonzalo Pineda, people close to the process said.

Noonan, 40, was an assistant with the Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. men’s national team, both under Bruce Arena, before joining the Union in 2018. Philadelphia enters the playoffs this weekend with the most regular season points.

Pineda, 38, is in his fourth year with the defending champion Sounders. United’s interest in Pineda was first reported by the Athletic.

Noonan and Pineda join a list that has included, among others, former U.S. women’s coach Jill Ellis, D.C. interim coach Chad Ashton and former U.S. World Cup defender Steve Cherundolo, who is coaching in Germany.

From the start of the process, United said it would conduct a wide-ranging search to replace Ben Olsen, who was fired Oct. 8 after 10 years in charge.

D.C. officials have contacted more than 20 potential candidates, two people said. The team has said all along it will not comment on specifics of the search.

Meanwhile, D.C. assistant Nolan Sheldon is taking a similar position with Austin FC, a 2021 expansion team, four people said. He will reunite with former United players Josh Wolff (head coach) and Davy Arnaud (assistant).

Sheldon, 36, did not return a message, and both United and Austin FC said they did not have a comment. He joined United in 2010 and worked his way through the youth academy to Olsen’s staff in 2017.

International duty

Following the Nov. 8 season finale, four United players — and one from second-division Loudoun United — joined their respective national teams for competition during the FIFA match window.

In South America’s World Cup qualifying, Venezuelan midfielder Júnior Moreno played 90 minutes in both a 2-1 upset victory over Chile and a 1-0 defeat at unbeaten Brazil.

Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores logged 60 minutes in a 2-0 defeat at Chile and 71 in a 2-0 defeat to Argentina.

Through four of 18 rounds for four automatic berths in the 2022 World Cup, Venezuela (three points) is eighth and Peru (one) is ninth out of 10 teams. The next qualifiers are in March.

In the European Nations League, forward Erik Sorga played 35 minutes in Estonia’s 2-1 defeat at North Macedonia and did not play in a 0-0 draw at Georgia. The Estonians face a relegation playoff after going 0-3-3 in their third-tier group.

In a friendly, Jamaican defender Oniel Fisher played 90 minutes in a 2-1 victory at Saudi Arabia.

Kairou Amoustapha, a 19-year-old forward for second-tier Loudoun United, debuted with Niger’s national team, entering in the 88th minute of a 1-0 victory over Ethiopia in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

D.C. is planning to re-sign Amoustapha to a Loudoun contract but with the opportunity to earn an MLS deal.

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