- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2002

D.C. United is interested in midfielder/defender Ivan McKinley and might select the rugged veteran tomorrow in Major League Soccer's waiver draft.

The draft is mostly for leftover Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny players two clubs MLS eliminated who were not claimed in the league's dispersal draft.

These players have restructured their contracts meaning they will play at a lower salary to fit under the league's tight $1.7million per team salary cap.

McKinley, who played for United coach Ray Hudson last season with the Fusion, is one of those players. McKinley, 32, trained with United two weeks ago in South Florida and impressed Hudson and his staff.

United has the second pick in the waiver draft and undoubtedly will sign a veteran defender to shore up its thin backline. United is approximately $200,000 under the salary cap and could fit in McKinley.

With quality veterans willing to play at a lower wage, United may be able to sign a proven defender and another forward, especially since Jaime Moreno underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday. Moreno, United's all-time leading goal scorer and points producer, will be out four to six weeks.

"He showed very well, [McKinley] is a guy we're interested in," said United assistant coach Curt Onalfo. "It's hard to say who we will pick up, but he is a guy we are interested in."

Hudson, who was in South Florida yesterday attending to personal matters, was unavailable for comment.

United needs help in the back. If the season started tomorrow and Hudson opted for a 4-4-2 alignment, he would have star Eddie Pope and second-year man Ryan Nelsen playing centrally, Brandon Prideaux on the left, and second-year player Craig Ziadie on the right without any experienced backups, or for that matter, two other proven starters besides Pope and Prideaux.

McKinley, who was born in South Africa, has a green card and would not count as a senior international against United's roster.

Other notable players in the waiver draft include, midfielder/defender John Harkes, Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoitchkov, forward Eric Wynalda, English midfielder Ian Bishop, midfielder Danny Pena, defender Steve Trittschuh, midfielder Johhny Torres and defender Chad McCarty.

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