- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003

D.C. United yesterday traded forward Ali Curtis and two draft picks to the last-place Dallas Burn for Salvadoran forward Ronald Cerritos.

With one-third of the season left, United is firmly in third place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and in playoff position for the first time in four years. However, United is seventh in the 10-team league in attendance at 14,921 a game. The arrival of Cerritos could help the team at the gate, considering the District’s large Salvadoran community.

This is the third straight season United’s attendance has dropped. The average gate figure includes two doubleheaders with the WUSA’s Washington Freedom.

Since Curtis, popular with his teammates, was inserted in United’s starting lineup on June7 against the Chicago Fire, the club has gone 6-3-2. United coach Ray Hudson has praised Curtis for his hustle and energy and said the team fed off it.

Meanwhile, Cerritos, 28, has been coming off the Burn’s bench and appears on the downside of his career. Cerritos, who scored 40 goals in his first three MLS seasons, hasn’t been the same since a 2000 knee injury. Over the past 31/2 seasons, Cerritos has scored 22 goals.

“He is a dangerous forward who has proven that he can both create and score goals in MLS,” United technical director Dave Kasper said in a prepared statement.

Cerritos has three goals and one assist this season while Curtis has one goal and four assists.

Note — D.C. United forward Hristo Stoitchkov will be out two to three weeks after minor knee surgery. Stoitchkov, who tore his left meniscus in Saturday’s 3-1 loss at the Chicago Fire, is United’s second-leading scorer with three goals and five assists…. The club also announced two broadcast changes. Comcast will cover United’s Oct.4 game at the Columbus Crew, but will not air United’s Sept.6 match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK Stadium. The Galaxy game will be carried by Fox Sports World.

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