- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Luciano Emilio turned out to be a great, if accidental, find.

The Brazilian striker joined D.C. United from Honduran club Olimpia in January, the result of an inadvertent scouting job by the team’s staff.

Dave Kasper, United’s technical director, was studying video of another Honduran player when he spotted Emilio. He liked what he saw right away.

“We spend a lot of time tracking and identifying players, and Luciano had been on our radar since May of 2004,” Kasper said. “When I saw him I said, ‘This is our guy and we’ve got to get him,’ ”

The results of that chance discovery have been spectacular: Emilio has scored 18 goals in 23 MLS games this year and with six matches left is poised to become the first United player in more than a decade to reach 20.

“We thought when we brought him in he would get 15 to 20 goals, and he’s got a great chance to get 20,” United president Kevin Payne said. “It’s been a long time since anyone has scored 20 goals in this league.”

Raul Diaz Arce notched a team-record 23 goals in 28 games in the league’s inaugural season of 1996, the last time a United player scored at least 20.

“If there’s a possibility I can shatter the record, I welcome it. But that’s not my main concern,” Emilio said. “My main focus is to play well for the team and for the team to win.”

Emilio scored two goals on Sunday as United (14-6-4, 46 pts) downed the New England Revolution 4-2. He will look to add to his tally against struggling Real Salt Lake (4-12-6, 18 pts) at RFK Stadium tonight, and United can secure a playoff spot with a victory.

Emilio, who has produced five multi-goal games for United, yesterday was named MLS Player of the Week for the third time this season. His goals against the Revolution came three days after he scored two in a 2-2 tie at Chivas USA.

“I said this from the minute I brought him in: He is a forward who is going to score goals in our league. He’s done that,” coach Tom Soehn said.

Roy Lassiter set the league record with 27 goals scored for the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996. Jaime Moreno scored more goals in his career (108) than any player in United history and more (110) than any player in league history. Moreno, however, never reached 20 in any one season.

Only seven players ever have done that, most recently in 2002 when Carlos Quiz of the Galaxy scored 24 and Taylor Twellman of the Revolution had 23.

Note — Emilio earned the Player of the Week award with 81 points, beating out Nate Jaqua (38 points). Jaqua is the son of former Washington Redskins defensive back Jon Jaqua.

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