- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2001

The injury bug has hit D.C. United.

Right back Scott Vermillion and midfielder Mark Lisi are out of tonight's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against the A-League's Richmond Kickers at RFK Stadium.

Vermillion and Lisi are just the latest additions to an injured list that includes midfielders Ben Olsen (ankle) and Bobby Convey (stomach). Plus, defender/midfielder Brian Kamler has a strained groin and may not play tonight.

"In this league with multiple games and travel, that's [injuries] part of life," said United coach Thomas Rongen. "That's why you have quality depth and have people that can come in and do the job."

Lisi has a strained hamstring and Vermillion an abdominal strain. Injury aside, Vermillion is ineligible to play in tonight's match because he appeared in a first round U.S. Open Cup match with the Colorado Rapids before he was traded to United on June 28.

Kamler is the wild card concerning Rongen's lineup for the Kickers. If Kamler plays, Rongen may go with a four-man backline with rookie Craig Ziadie on the right, Eddie Pope and Ryan Nelson in the middle, and Kamler on the left.

Kamler sat out of Saturday's 2-1 loss at the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

"If Kamler can't play, then I've got to put Stephen Armstrong in as the left fullback," Rongen said.

United will find out more about its injury situation today when Convey, Kamler and Olsen visit team physician William Hazel. Olsen, who has not been cleared to run after re-injuring his right ankle while on loan to the A-League's Hershey Wildcats earlier in the month, appears to be sidelined for at least another couple of weeks.

Convey, who underwent surgery Friday to remove an abdominal hernia, may miss the remainder of United's season. Both Convey and Olsen were voted to start in Saturday's All-Star game in a fan ballot, but will not play. Convey and Olsen will attend festivities surrounding MLS' midseason showcase.

Pope will also not play in the All-Star game because of a serious illness to a family member. Rongen said no other United players will be named as reserves when East coach Ray Hudson finalizes his roster today. Marco Etcheverry and 16-year-old phenom Santino Quaranta will play.

"I wish we didn't have a lot of guys going to the All-Star game because travel alone sometimes kills you," Rongen said. "It's not necessarily the games. Bobby and Ben are going just to be part of the festivities. The league would like them to be there."

United is a prohibitive favorite tonight over the Kickers, their closest A-League affiliate. A few of the Kickers have something to prove to United. Midfielder Mike Burke was drafted by United in the fourth round of last year's SuperDraft and released at the end of the season. Kickers defender Ray Goodlett was on United's roster at the beginning of the season and waived on May 4.

"They have a lot to play for in terms of national recognition by beating an MLS team, but also being an affiliate, there are some players there would sure like to play on this level and maybe for us," Rongen said.

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