- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2003

With D.C. United still seeking its first victory of the season, coach Ray Hudson will give forward Ali Curtis his first start of the year tonight against the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium.

“The guys love his reckless abandon,” Hudson said. “Ali is not a precision player but the quintessential handful, and we need to try something different.”

Curtis has played just 29 minutes in four games this season. Last year the former Duke star started six games and scored five goals in 20 appearances. Against the Fire (3-1-3, 12 points), Curtis will team with Salvadoran forward Eliseo Quintanilla on the front line.

United (0-3-4, four points) has managed just six goals in seven games, and only one — by Santino Quaranta in the season opener against the Kansas City Wizards — has come from a forward. Midfielders Bobby Convey and Marco Etcheverry lead the team with two goals apiece.

Convey, who has been in training all week with the U.S. team for tomorrow’s game against New Zealand in Richmond, returns to play for United tonight, but teammate Earnie Stewart will remain with the national team.

Midfielder Ryan Nelsen is back after a suspension and will suit up for New Zealand against the Americans tomorrow. Also, Etcheverry will return tonight after missing a game because of minor knee surgery.

Apart from juggling his lineup, Hudson seemed more concerned about the state of the field at RFK yesterday. The turf was replaced after a rock show two weeks ago.

“The new turf hasn’t had a chance to take root,” Hudson said. “This doesn’t suit our possession-style soccer.”

Rain also is expected tonight, which could make conditions even worse.

Notes — United gave a tryout this week to Dutch defender Eric Piket, who came up through the Ajax youth system and has played with FC Groningen and Haarlem.

Nigerian national team defender Romanus Orjinta has received a travel visa and will get a tryout next week. Also, a talented English First Division striker looking for a change of scenery will be visiting the club soon for a tryout.



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