- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 16, 2002

With star Jaime Moreno sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks, D.C. United coach Ray Hudson needs another forward.
The team has veteran Abdul Thompson Conteh; 17-year-old Santino Quaranta, the youngest player ever named to play in the Major League Soccer All-Star Game; and rookie Mohammed Fahim, who was the 31st pick overall in last week's MLS SuperDraft. But it needs more depth.
Quaranta is a superstar in the making. He knows United's scoring burden will be largely on his shoulders during the early part of the season with Moreno sidelined.
"Last year kind of groomed me to being a forward," said Quaranta, who scored five goals in 16 matches. "Last year was my learning experience, and this year I'm going to come out and do what I have to do. I have to score goals. When you score goals, you get recognized."
Hudson, who coached the defunct Miami Fusion last season, is shocked at how good the Baltimore-bred Quaranta is. Hudson knew about him, but until he saw Quaranta every day in practice he had no idea of his talent.
Moreno is irreplaceable, but Quaranta may be able to carry United's scoring load until he returns. Moreno will miss United's CONCACAF Champions Cup home-and-away games with Guatemalan club Comunicaciones at Guatemala City on March 6 and RFK Stadium on March 13. Moreno also likely will miss United's MLS opener at Los Angeles on March 23.
"Under these circumstances [with Morenos injury], we can't go out and get somebody from the A-League or out of the draft, but Santino is looking tremendous," Hudson said. "Santino Quaranta, for me, is a shining diamond so far. He has absolutely impressed me and [assistant coach] John Trask. … We knew he was a good, decent player, but that kid has got a dimension about him that is awesome. He is one of the brightest young talents that we've seen."
Quaranta, who wore golden boots during the second half of last season, is extremely confident. Last season he split time at striker with ineffective Chris Albright, since traded to the Galaxy, along with Moreno and Conteh. But for now, the teen-ager is United's main man.
"I like having this kind of pressure," Quaranta said. "You have to produce to win. It's good to have that [pressure] on your back. I had a great experience last year, being so young and doing so well. I'm not going to say that I can score 20 goals, but hopefully I can do well and help this team win."
In its search for help, D.C. United with take a look at Musa Shannon, a former Tampa Bay Mutiny and New England Revolution striker, on Monday.
Shannon, has played the past two seasons for Maritimo of the Portuguese first division and is a long shot to make United's roster.
United is approximately $150,000 under MLS' stringent $1.7 million salary cap after the team claimed rugged defender/midfielder Ivan McKinley off waivers Thursday. If Shannon wants to continue his MLS career with United, he will have to play virtually for free.
United is keeping what's left under its salary cap open for Honduran national team right back Milton Reyes that is if MLS agrees to pay Reyes' transfer fee.
Shannon is merely getting a look from United. If the club signs Shannon, it won't be able to afford the more valuable Reyes.
"He's been overseas for awhile, so he must have gotten better," United coach Ray Hudson said of Shannon. "It's an interesting curiosity, but that's all."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide