- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2003

D.C. United’s Bryan Namoff was outstanding defensively all game. In overtime, his offense took over.

Namoff’s long cross to Hristo Stoitchkov put United on the scoreboard and ended a spirited upset bid by the Virginia Beach Mariners as D.C. defeated the A-League club 1-0 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup last night before 2,870 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds

Meanwhile, a bigger issue is facing United. Midfielder Bobby Convey was held out of last night’s match because Major League Soccer is planning to sell the 20-year-old midfielder to English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

Financial details are unknown, but league sources said Convey’s transfer fee is somewhere between $1million and $3million. If the deal goes through, Convey would be the second MLS player to be sold by the league to an English Premier League team. In early July, MLS sold New York/New Jersey MetroStars goalkeeper Tim Howard to Manchester United for $3.5million.

Convey played well in two exhibitions against the Spurs — last year in England and in May at RFK Stadium. Tottenham was in the market for a left-flank midfielder. The English Premier League begins play in two weeks.

Convey’s transfer is out of United coach Ray Hudson’s control. MLS, which has been hesitant to sell its assets in the past, now appears willing to take the big money that flows in when they sell the league’s top talent. Convey has two goals and four assists in nine games with United this season.

“I’m just hanging out tonight and see what happens,” Convey said last night.

Convey, whom United drafted as a 16-year-old with the 12th overall pick in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft, has played in every game this season for the U.S. team. For most of July, Convey was with the U.S. team for the Confederations Cup in France and the Gold Cup.

“There is something that is imminent, and it is really going to affect us, and I’m not too delighted about it,” Hudson told reporters Tuesday after practice. “I’ll explain when it happens, and you guys will understand.”

With the win, United advances to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup and will play the Wilmington Hammerheads, a USL Pro-Select club, Aug.27 at Legion Sports Complex in Wilmington, N.C.

If it wasn’t for Namoff’s cross, the match might have gone to penalty kicks to break the deadlock.

“It was a buildup, we finally got into the attack with a long ball and we were able to pressure,” Namoff said. “I had a little time with space and the ball so I got the touch in, and I was able to play it to the back post and hope someone was there. Luckily, Hristo made a great run and was able to score.”

Said Hudson: “Bryan was outstanding and this has been his best season. He’s matured, he’s come on, not with just his aggressiveness, but with his poise. He’s come of age.”


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