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With the exits of strikers Hamdi Salihi, Maicon Santos and Long Tan, there are minutes for the taking up top. While veteran Lionard Pajoy and recently signed Brazilian striker Rafael figure to vie for the starting spot, the acquisition of Townsend adds another wrinkle to that competition.

“Everyone wants a chance to play,” Townsend said. “I just want to contribute in whatever way I can. If that’s starting, that’d be great. If I’m not starting, I’ll come out in practice and try to help make everyone else better.”

NOTE: United on Thursday departed the District for Orlando, Fla., where they will train until Feb. 24 while competing in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. The club opens the MLS season March 2 at the Houston Dynamo.