- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 20, 2001

Jeff Agoos of the San Jose Earthquakes was named Major League Soccer's Defender of the Year this week, beating out two others for the award, including Miami Fusion star Carlos Llamosa. Tomorrow Agoos will lead San Jose to face the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup at Columbus, Ohio.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, Agoos, 33, and Llamosa, 32, were an integral part of D.C. United's roster before being shown the door in February along with five other veterans in a massive housecleaning.
At the time, United general manager Kevin Payne said he wanted to build a new team around Marco Etcheverry, Jaime Moreno and Eddie Pope, while United coach Thomas Rongen was eager for a cadre of youngsters to work with. Agoos and Llamosa, both U.S. team stars, were considered too old and too costly.
In retrospect, the trades were a fiasco for United. Agoos has had a career year, while Llamosa is still considered the best one-on-one defender in America. Both were key to getting their teams to MLS Cup semifinals.
"Jeff's experience is huge for us," San Jose coach Frank Yallop said. "I feel that his calm and influence spreads throughout the team."
In trading Agoos and Llamosa, United gutted its defense and traded away valuable wisdom on the field. This season the club had the fourth-worst defense in the league, giving up 50 goals.
After this disastrous season, Rongen is out of a job while Payne seems on his way to a promotion. Recent reports have him set to become head of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which runs four MLS teams including United.
As for Agoos, he will become the only player to have competed in five MLS Cups when he steps on the field tomorrow. With United, Agoos won MLS Cup '96, '97 and '99. He also played for United in its 1999 loss to Chicago.
Meanwhile, Yallop, who was Rongen's assistant with United last season, was named MLS Coach of the Year this week after turning around the league's worst team. San Jose went from 7-17-8 to 13-7-6 and its first playoff spot since 1996. In his first head coaching job ever, Yallop is now just one game away from bringing home a title.
MLS notes More than two years ago, Troy Dayak thought his playing career was over after he suffered an injury that left him wearing a metal neck brace for months. Doctors used a piece of his pelvis to fuse a bone in his neck and told him to forget soccer. But Dayak wasn't about to hang up his cleats just yet.
On Wednesday night, Dayak the MLS Comeback Player of the Year scored the lone goal on a header as San Jose defeated Miami 1-0 and gained the title game. …
Paul Caligiuri, whose famous 1989 goal against Trinidad and Tobago sent the U.S. team to its first World Cup in 40 years, will play his final MLS game tomorrow. The Los Angeles Galaxy defender, who has played 110 national team games, is leaving MLS to become a college coach. At 37, he will be the oldest player in an MLS Cup. …
MLS Cup 2001 will mark the third trip to the championship game for the Galaxy and its third attempt to win after loses to D.C. United in 1996 and 1999. …
Miami's Alex Pineda Chacon beat out teammate Diego Serna and Jeff Agoos to win the MLS MVP Award yesterday. The Honduran striker led MLS in scoring (19 goals) and points (47). Chacon, 31, also won the MLS Individual Fair Play Award. He did not pick up a yellow or a red card despite being one of the most fouled players in the league. …
Clint Mathis of the New York-New Jersey MetroStars won the Goal of the Year Award for his 60-yard dash through the Dallas Burn defense in a game at Giants Stadium on April 28. Teammates Rodrigo Faria (Rookie of the Year after scoring eight goals in 21 games) and Tim Howard (Goalie of the Year) also were honored.
United update D.C. United goalie Mike Ammann underwent successful surgery on his right elbow this week. Ammann, who missed the last three games of last season, had surgery on his left elbow in August. He is expected to be back in training in January. …
The MetroStars have invited Miles Joseph (Dallas), Jim Rooney (Miami), Zach Thornton (Chicago) and Tony Meola (Kansas City) to play as guest players in the benefit games against United at Giants Stadium on Oct. 28, and RFK Stadium on Nov. 3. The players are all former MetroStars. …
United announced its ticket prices for next season this week. Full season tickets range from $234 to $1,000 and game day tickets from $16 to $36.
International notes - Former Howard University goalie Shaka Hislop had the misfortune of giving up seven goals last week as the Blackburn Rovers hammered West Ham United 7-1. American goalie Brad Friedel was in the nets for Blackburn. … London glamour club Chelsea, which paid $133 million for the 23 foreign players on its current roster, has long-term debts of $140 million and lost more than $16 million last season.

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