- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 12, 2002

D.C. United's trade last week with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars for midfielder Petter Villegas means the club is unsure whether star midfielder Ben Olsen will return to the starting lineup this season or ever.
When Olsen broke his right ankle while on loan to Nottingham Forest of the English First Division two years ago, it may have been a career-ending injury. Olsen sat out last season and has suffered numerous relapses preventing him from rejoining United in the near future. Understandably, United is worried.
"It's been two seasons, and he has been out a long, long time," United coach Ray Hudson said. "He's had bone damage, ligament damage. Benny thought it was a great trade, and everybody does. This is really going to help us long term."
In the deal, United traded underachieving midfielder Mark Lisi and defender Craig Ziadie to the MetroStars for defender Orlando Perez and Villegas. Villegas, 26, who is originally from Ecuador, was not at training yesterday and will not play today against the Columbus Crew (2-4) at RFK Stadium. Perez, a left-sided player, might see some minutes.
Perez, 24, should push Bobby Convey on the left flank, something the 18-year-old has needed. Convey, considered a rising star in American soccer circles, has nothing to show for his extended playing time this season with one assist in six starts (492 minutes) in his third year in the league.
Perez played extensively at left back with the MetroStars in coach Octavio Zambrano's 3-5-2 formation and some left-flank midfield.
"Last year, we played more of a 3-5-2, and I was a marking back," the 6-foot-2 Perez said. "I can play either way as a marking back or as an outside midfielder."
On the right, United (2-5) will have a change. With defender Milton Reyes sitting out because of an accumulation of yellow cards, second-year man Bryan Namoff will make his first start of the season at right back in Hudson's 4-4-2 alignment.
Last season Namoff, a holding midfielder, led all Major League Soccer rookies with seven assists. Namoff, 22, admits right back is not his forte. However, with defensive midfielders Lazo Alavanja and Richie Williams on hand this season, there's not much chance of Namoff playing defensive midfield.
"This is good because it shows that I can be versatile," Namoff said. "If an opportunity like this presents itself and I do well, then I'm a more experienced player, and then I can play in two positions. I'm ready to play."
Note The Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown is the front-runner to play host to CONCACAF's under-20 qualifying for the World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. team is coached by former United coach Thomas Rongen and features current United players Convey, Santino Quaranta and Justin Mapp. Qualifying is in late October or early November.


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