- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Honduran national team defender Milton Reyes might not be able to net four goals by himself, but D.C. United is certainly going to let him try.

Coach Ray Hudson said yesterday he will start Reyes at right-flank midfield when Reyes makes his United debut tonight in the return leg of CONCACAF's Champions Cup against Guatemalan club Comunicaciones at RFK Stadium.

United lost to Comunicaciones 4-0 last Wednesday in Guatemala City and needs to beat Comunicaciones by at least four goals to force a tiebreaker. The winner of the tiebreaker would advance to the competition's quarterfinals on cumulative goals and face Costa Rican club LD Alajuelense.

Putting Reyes on the wing, is part of Hudson's all-out game plan to overcome the four-goal deficit. Fans will get their money's worth watching United attack in waves tonight to try to get back the goals.

"In football, anything can happen," Reyes said through translator and assistant coach Curt Onalfo. "We are going to try our best. It's up to us as players and individuals to come together and do whatever we can to get the best result for the team."

United is putting Reyes, 27, in the midfield so it can use its best available players in an attacking formation. Hudson will use a 3-5-2 alignment with Brandon Prideaux, Eddie Pope and Ivan McKinley manning his three-player back line.

Reyes, signed from Honduran club Motagua, trained for the first time with his United teammates Monday and was officially unveiled at a news conference yesterday.

Hudson cautioned that Reyes is not the club's savior, "just a piece of the jigsaw puzzle."

"We're looking to exploit his incredible athleticism," Hudson added. "He's a neat, tidy, quick footballer. We don't want to use him as an out-and-out defender because that would be like caging a lion. He's a very adventuresome footballer. He'll take chances; he'll get forward."

United will not have midfielder Richie Williams and center back Ryan Nelsen because of red cards issued in last Wednesday's match. Costa Rican referee Rodrigo Badia sent both players off in the first half of a scoreless game.

To compensate for Williams' absence, Hudson said he probably will use Lazo Alavanja as his defensive midfielder. Playmaker Marco Etcheverry, who missed the first leg because of a strained calf, will start but Hudson doesn't know how long "El Diablo" will last.

Midfielder Bobby Convey's availability will be a game-time decision. Convey, who trained this week, may be held out as a precaution so he doesn't aggravate abdominal scar tissue that flared up last week. Convey underwent abdominal surgery last July and experienced pain after playing 28 minutes in the U.S. team's 4-0 exhibition win over Honduras on March2.

Note United traded its third-round pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft to the Dallas Burn in exchange for former Tampa Bay Mutiny forward Ali Curtis. Curtis will likely be available to play tonight.


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