- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2002

In an attempt to bolster its thin back line, D.C. United claimed rugged veteran defender/midfielder Ivan McKinley in yesterday's Major League Soccer waiver draft.

McKinley, 32, rejoined United coach Ray Hudson, who coached McKinley the past two seasons with the defunct Miami Fusion.

"Ivan is a stay-at-home defender and is very clinical with his short game," Hudson said. "He was my first-ever signing with the Fusion and one of the biggest catalysts of turning the Fusion around. For me, I thought he should have been an all-star defender."

The South African native is a hard-nosed defender who has a powerful left foot, one Hudson calls "the sweetest left foot in football." McKinley is a green card holder and does not count as one of United's three senior internationals. He has three caps with South Africa's national team.

McKinley and veteran forward Eric Wynalda, who was claimed by the Los Angeles Galaxy, were the only players chosen in yesterday's waiver draft.

An enforcer, McKinley's bruising style of play hasn't gone unnoticed by MLS referees. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound left back is tied as the league's all-time ejections leader with six and is the league's all-time leader in yellow cards with 48.

"It's not all machismo that Ivan brings," Hudson said. "He's regarded as a dirty player. Last week our players were shocked at how skillful a player he is."

Despite his sendoffs and cautions, McKinley's fouls committed are relatively low. In his six-year MLS career, McKinley has committed 214 fouls in 151 games (a 1.4 average).

McKinley's offensive numbers aren't bad for a defender. He has collected 19 goals and 18 assists in 151 games.

McKinley also was a teammate of Hudson's at one time. In 1991, McKinley and Hudson, a crafty playmaker, played together on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the former American Professional Soccer League and were coached by former United head man Thomas Rongen.

The addition of McKinley makes 11 new players United has brought in since coming off last year's disappointing 8-16-2 season.


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