- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2004

D.C. United finally gave up on Ronald Cerritos, waiving the struggling, high-priced forward yesterday.

The roster move was not a surprise considering Cerritos’ salary ($162,000) and lack of production. He has three goals and two assists in 20 matches over two seasons.

“We presented several options to Ronald, including potential trades and a restructured contract,” United’s technical director Dave Kasper said in a prepared statement. “In the end, we mutually agreed that this decision was in the best interest of both parties.”

The 29-year-old Cerritos was the fourth-highest paid player on United’s roster. The Salvadoran striker, acquired in a midseason trade last year with the Dallas Burn, never regained the form he exhibited in his first five seasons in MLS, when he scored 55 goals and added 38 assists with the San Jose Earthquakes.

By waiving Cerritos, United left itself more than $200,000 under MLS’ $1.7 million salary cap. That gives United the room it needs to sign some defensive help and a goal-scoring forward — preferably a targetman.

United has interest in longtime Los Angeles Galaxy defender Ezra Hendrickson. Hendrickson, who was released by the Dallas Burn in a cost-cutting move before the season, has scored 18 goals and added 27 assists in his seven-year MLS career.

The 6-foot-3 Hendrickson is dangerous on set pieces, an area in which D.C. United struggles. He also would give coach Peter Nowak the flexibility to play a four-man back.

United also is looking into signing a Costa Rican forward like Froylan Ledezma or Andy Herron. Ledezma plays for Costa Rican club Alajuelense, which won CONCACAF’s prestigious Champions Cup, and started at forward Sunday in Costa Rica’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying tie against Cuba.

Notes — United knows the date but not the opponent or venue when the club opens play in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. If the Division III Cape Cod Crusaders defeat the A-League’s Richmond Kickers, United will play the Crusaders at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown on July 20 at 7:30 p.m. If the Kickers win, United travels to Richmond to play the Kickers at Richmond’s Sports Backers Stadium beginning at 7 p.m. …

United forward Alecko Eskandarian was named MLS player of the week after scoring two goals in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday at RFK Stadium.

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