- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2002

In his first moves with the club, new D.C. United coach Ray Hudson selected two former players goalie Nick Rimando and midfielder Lazo Alavanja at Major League Soccer's allocation and dispersal drafts in New York City yesterday.
In other moves, United traded midfielder Stephen Armstrong to the Kansas City Wizards for defender Brandon Prideaux and sent forward Chris Albright to the Los Angeles Galaxy for picks in next month's SuperDraft. Hudson also hinted that United had a "surprise player coming down the pipeline."
Yesterday's drafts were necessary to disperse 35 players after MLS eliminated Hudson's former club, the Miami Fusion, along with the Tampa Bay Mutiny on Tuesday.
"It was a big challenge dealing with the salary cap issues, but we have to be very pleased that we got a national team goalie," Hudson said. "We would have liked some of the other jewels, but they were out of our price league."
The arrival of Rimando, 22, who was United's lone pick (third overall) in the allocation draft, means the club has a young goalie to replace the retiring Mark Simpson. Rimando will challenge Mike Ammann, 32, for the starting job.
"Nicky is a superlative goalie, second to none in the league," Hudson said. "He was the youngest and smallest goalie in the league last year but had the best record for two-thirds of the season."
Rimando recently was called into the U.S. national team's training camp for this month's Gold Cup. The Montclair, Calif., native is only 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds but is agile and known for his acrobatic saves. He is also good with his feet, which is indispensable for a modern goalie.
Alavanja, United's only pick in the dispersal draft, is a flexible midfielder in his fourth season in MLS.
"Alavanja will be tremendous cover in the middle, keeping Ben Olsen and Bobby Convey on their toes," Hudson said. "When called on, he will play a man's role."
United had to trade Armstrong, a South African, because the club is allowed only three senior internationals. Jaime Moreno (Bolivia), Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand) and Marco Etcheverry (Bolivia), who is close to getting a green card, are the three internationals with the club.
Prideaux, a "tenacious and intelligent" defender, according to Hudson, was a key player in the Wizards' championship season in 2000. He can play either side of the field on the back line and will be essential when Eddie Pope leaves for the World Cup in May.
Albright, a boy wonder in his college days at Virginia, never blossomed with United, managing just four goals in 56 games. The club finally ran out of patience with him.
United's roster is by no means settled.
"We have some big decisions still ahead of us," said Dave Kasper, United's technical director. "The wheeling and dealing is not over."
Hudson made it clear the team was on the verge of getting a big-name player, saying, "We've got a very good cake cooking in the oven, which will help turn this organization around."
The Colorado Rapids, who had the first pick in the allocation draft, selected U.S. national team defender Pablo Mastroeni.
Overall, the New England Revolution benefited most from the day's events, selecting Tampa Bay's former striking duo of Mamadou Diallo (second pick) and Steve Ralston (sixth), along with Miami defender Carlos Llamosa (fifth), in the allocation draft. In the dispersal draft, the club claimed league MVP Alex Pineda Chacon and midfielders Jim Rooney and Shaker Asad.
Diallo led the league is scoring in 2000 with 26 goals in 28 games, while Chacon led the league with 19 goals in 2001.
The New York/New Jersey MetroStars added power to their offensive line, selecting Colombian striker Diego Serna, who was second in goals (15) in 2001 and led the league in assists (15).
In other notable moves, Miami midfielder Preki was picked by the Kansas City Wizards, whom he led to the MLS title in 2000, and Tampa Bay's Devin Barclay, 18, from Annapolis, went to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Fifteen players were not selected and will now go into Thursday's waiver draft.
United begins preseason training Jan. 21, and the season is expected to start March 23.

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