- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 5, 2003

Soccer-wise, it will be like old times at RFK Stadium today.

Forward Jamie Moreno will be battling tough defender Mike Petke. Moreno, 29, will try to dance his way into the penalty area in search of a goal, while Petke will be looking to rob the classy Bolivian star. Now how many times have we seen this scenario through the years at RFK?

Ah, but there’s a new look to this matchup. Long-time D.C. United star Moreno now plays for the MetroStars of New York and New Jersey while the once-hated Petke is United’s lovable tough guy on the backline.

When the rivals meet in the 4 p.m. game, it will be Moreno’s first visit to RFK since he was traded to the MetroStars in December, along with fellow United icons Eddie Pope and Richie Williams, for Petke, a draft pick and an allocation.

“It’s always nice to go back to the place where I had many great years and great memories,” Moreno said this week, “but I’m going to be taking care of business once I step on the field.”

Williams also returns, but Pope is out for another two weeks with a fracture in his left knee that he suffered May31.

Moreno has had a tough time since leaving United, where he scored 79 goals in 171 games during a seven-year period. In late April, he suffered a herniated disc in his lower back and missed the MetroStars’ next seven matches. He returned to the lineup as a substitute June21 and is expected to start today in place of Clint Mathis, the team’s leading goal scorer (seven), who is with the U.S. team that plays Paraguay tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio.

“I’m not a hundred percent,” Moreno said. “I have to start playing in order to get fit and get my confidence back. It was a long preseason, and then all of a sudden I had this injury and it knocked my confidence. The last three years, I’ve been injured many times and I’ve been desperate , but I have to be patient.”

Moreno also will face his countryman and former United partner, Marco Etcheverry, for the first time in a Major League Soccer game.

“He is my old friend, but I will do my job professionally, and I hope he does, too,” Moreno said.

So far this season the 5-foot-10, 175-pound forward has scored one goal in three starts and six games. Moreno, whose family still lives in Virginia, shares an apartment in New Jersey with MetroStars assistant coach Mo Johnston.

United (3-4-6, 15 points) will be missing midfielders Bobby Convey and Earnie Stewart, who are with the U.S. team for the Paraguay game (3:55 p.m. ESPN2). Both also were named this week to U.S. coach Bruce Arena’s 18-man roster for the Gold Cup .

Moreno and Williams will not be the only United alumni returning to RFK today. Midfielder Mark Lisi (five assists) and defender Craig Ziadie are both key starters for the MetroStars (6-4-3, 21 points). United coach Ray Hudson traded Lisi and Ziadie in May 2002 for midfielder Petter Villegas and defender Orlando Perez.

The MetroStars arrive in Washington after a 4-4 tie at home with the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.

Brandon out — It could only happen in MLS, where the refereeing at times is, well, bizarre.

In United’s 3-1 win Wednesday at Dallas, United defender Brandon Prideaux picked up two yellow cards yet remained on the field instead of being ejected. Apparently, the referee mistakenly thought he had given the first caution in the 63rd minute to United defender Brian Namoff. Even the fourth official later tried to correct the referee.

Dallas should have played with a man advantage after tying the game 1-1 on a penalty kick in the 77th minute after Prideaux earned his second caution. Instead, he remained on the field and United went on to score two more goals, coming away with its first victory in Texas since 1998.

Yesterday the league caught up with United, and slapped Prideaux with a one-game suspension and $250 fine, which means the key defender will miss today’s match.

“I’m not commenting, I’m not saying anything,” said Hudson.

Corner kicks — English First Division striker Jamie Cureton, who recently tried out with D.C. United, is seriously considering a move to South Korean club Busan Icons, which is coached by former Chelsea boss Ian Porterfield. … Washington Freedom defender Emmy Barr blew out her left knee in Thursday’s 1-1 tie at the Boston Breakers and will miss the rest of the season. …

Manchester City has joined Blackburn Rovers in the hunt to sign American midfielder Claudio Reyna, who plays for Sunderland. After nearly nine months out following a damaged cruciate ligament, Reyna is set to make his comeback as the U.S. team plays Paraguay tomorrow. … Manchester United coach Kevin Keegan is looking for a player to replace Cameroon midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe, who died after collapsing in a game at the Confederations Cup.

Correction: The date of the AC Milan vs. Barcelona game at RFK Stadium on July 30 was incorrectly listed.

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