- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

The Ray Hudson era officially begins tonight for D.C. United under less-than ideal circumstances.
Hudson will not have United's four best offensive players midfielders Marco Etcheverry, Ben Olsen, Bobby Convey or forward Jaime Moreno for the CONCACAF Champions Cup match against Guatemalan club Comunicaciones at Mateo Flores Stadium in Guatemala City.
"Our experience and class will be absent and can be a big difference in games a lot of times," Hudson said of his injured regulars. "Out of adversity, comes the man."
Hudson is hoping that man will be forward Abdul Thompson Conteh. Conteh, who was tied for third in Major League Soccer scoring last season with 14 goals, has an opportunity to cement his status as one of United's everyday strikers while Moreno is recuperating from arthroscopic knee surgery.
"He misses as many as he scores," Hudson said.
For tonight's match, Hudson plans to use Conteh alone up top with teen-ager Santino Quaranta playing a more withdrawn position to help out in the midfield with Etcheverry out. The plan is to sit back and counter Comunicaciones and hope Conteh can use his blinding speed to get behind their defense.
"This is a good game for Abdul," midfielder Richie Williams said. "He showed last year that he can score goals."
Williams, along with central defender Eddie Pope, have the most international experience of the new-look United. Intangibles can always affect the outcome in games like these.
"You never know what to expect," Williams said. "The field could be bad and you never know about the refs. A lot of different things are going on."
Comunicaciones, or "Las Cremas" as they are affectionally known, will have their full side intact with the exception of central defender Marcelo Saraiva, of Brazil, who has been out the past few months with an unspecified injury.
Honduran forward Milton "Tyson" Nunez, who has played in England and Uruguay, and Uruguayan forward Horacio Torlacoff are a dangerous goal-scoring tandem. Both strikers sit atop the Guatemalan league with three goals in three matches. Comunicaciones midfielder Fredy Garcia orchestrates the attack.
"They are really sharp up front," Hudson said. "Garcia pulls the strings for them in the middle."
Comunicaciones is expected to test United's defense. United's four-man backline of Brandon Prideaux, Pope, Ryan Nelsen and tough-man Ivan McKinley should give goalkeeper Nick Rimando plenty of support, especially if Williams can shut down Garcia.
With Etcheverry out, Hudson is going to start Chino Alegria as his central playmaker. Alegria, who looked good in that role two weeks ago in a 2-2 draw against Virginia in a scrimmage, will be supported by Williams in the middle when United goes forward. Lazo Alavanja will start at left-flank midfield and Mark Lisi will be on the right.
"With Santino withdrawn, we can help Chino in an advanced position," Hudson said. "Richie and Chino will be the focal point. This should be a good challenge for us. It really allows us to take a serious look at some of these guys."

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