- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

D.C. United traded midfieder Mark Lisi and defender Craig Ziadie to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars yesterday for defender Orlando Perez and midfielder Petter Villegas. The deal came one day after the club released ineffective forward Abdul Thompson Conteh.

Perez, 24, is a left-side player who gives United depth in the back and is also a good cover player. Villegas is a speedy, right-side flank who can fill in during the absence of star midfielder Ben Olsen.

"This was a good, sound trade," United coach Ray Hudson said. "Both players are jubilant about coming to the club. On the tactical side, both are tricky and creative with the ball, especially behind defenses."

Apparently, United (2-5) is serious about salvaging the season. Only midfielders Bobby Convey, Jose "Chino" Alegria, Bryan Namoff and defender Ryan Nelsen remain from the three-year Thomas Rongen era.

Hudson refused to say whether the new players would start Sunday against the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium.

With Perez, who can also play the midfield, it appears that Convey's starting days are numbered; Convey, 18, has just one assist in six starts (492 minutes). United needs wing play, and Convey hasn't provided it.

"We added some real elements on the team that weren't there," Hudson said. "We see this as a definite push into the playoffs. We were not getting it done as it was."

Lisi, 24 and United's third overall selection in the 2001 draft, had been on the trading block for at least a month. Ziadie, 23, was a third-round selection (28th overall) in the same draft.

Nicknamed "Flaco" (skinny), Perez trained for three weeks with Mexican club Tecos in 1999 but was unable to agree on a transfer fee with the A-League's Orange County Zodiac. Perez was taken by the MetroStars in the fourth round (48th overall pick) of the 2000 MLS draft.

With the MetroStars last year, the 6-foot-2 Perez played a career-high 24 games, including 21 starts, while logging 1,948 minutes.

Villegas, 26, had started all seven matches for the MetroStars this season, and had three assists. He was the fourth overall pick of the MetroStars in the 1999 supplemental draft. During his four-year MLS career, Villegas has 13 goals and 21 assists in 91 appearances (68 starts).

"We pulled off a real coup," Hudson said. "We still have money left for another quality player."


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