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Limpar joins expanding Colorado injured list.

LISBON, Portugal (Wednesday, March 1, 2000) -- The Colorado Rapidsí 1-0 defeat at the hands of Belenenses of the Portuguese first division proved costly today when midfielder Anders Limpar left the exhibition match with a pulled left hamstring.

Rapids trainer Jay Mellette estimated Limpar will be out 10-14 days. The injury comes one day after Colorado learned that starting defender David Vaudreuil will miss five-to-six weeks with a torn calf muscle.

The Rapids are now 0-2 on the two-week, five-match tour of Portugal following a 1-0 setback to Vittoria Settubal yesterday.

Belenenses, currently 10th in the standings, scored off a 20-yard shot which deflected off of Rapids defender Chris Martinez, changing direction and leaving Rapids goalkeeper David Kramer helplessly watching the ball find net.

In addition to Limpar and Vaudreuil, Paul Bravo, Ross Paule, Joey DiGiamarino and rookie Wes Hart are currently on the sidelines with injuries. Bravo is in Portugal, while the others stayed home to rehabilitate.

MLS still pursuing Azzizi

NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer is still trying to sign Iranian striker Khodadad Azzizi. If this can be accomplished, he would almost certainly be assigned to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Azzizi currently plays for FC Cologne, but his contract is up and he is looking to play elsewhere. A transfer fee would not be required.

Reportedly, Azzizi has offers on the table from two German clubs and one from Turkish power Galatasaray for $700,000 annually. Azzizi's representatives reportedly told MLS if it could match that offer and assign the player to the Los Angeles Galaxy, he would sign.

The league determined, however, that departed Mexican star striker Carlos Hermosillo should be replaced by a Mexican player of equal status, which would not leave room under the salary cap for Azzizi.

The Galatasaray offer supposedly is still on the table, but MLS is well aware of the drawing power Azzizi would have in San Jose, with an estimated 400,000 of Iranian descent in the Bay Area.

Hicks leaves Burn for new XFL

DALLAS -- The Dallas Burnís first and only president and general manager Billy Hicks has stepped down to accept the position of vice president of administration for the XFL, the new professional football league being launched by the World Wrestling Federation.

Hicks will remain with the Burn for the next month as the transition is made. "This is a move that I simply have to make for reasons both professional and in terms of the great challenge that it presents," Hicks said. "The Dallas Burn has been my family for the better part of five years. I cannot express how much I will miss the staff, the players and the fans. It has been a wonderful experience that I will continually draw from as I face the adventures ahead of me."

Hicks, who was hired on September 19, 1995, to launch the new Major League Soccer venture in Dallas, has built a stable organization that has to its credit the 1997 U.S. Open Cup title, a playoff berth all four years of MLS and a double-digit growth in attendance the last two years.

Joining the XFL in the start-up phase will mark the third time in his career that Hicks has been hired to build a professional sports entity from the ground up. In addition to launching the Burn, Hicks was one of the founders of the World League of American Football in 1991. After the launch of the league, he moved into the role of general manager for the London Monarchs where he built that franchise into a championship team that led the league in attendance.

Giron, Plum hired by MLS communications department

NEW YORK -- Carlos Giron has been named director of Hispanic communications and Alan Plum communications coordinator for Major League Soccer.

Giron, who leaves his position in regional governing body CONCACAFís communication department, will manage the day-to-day aspects of the league's communications with the Spanish-language media.

Giron, who officially starts at the league office on Monday, handled the day-to-day communications with the media from the 38-member national associations and other parts of the world for CONCACAF, which represents North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

D.C. Unitedís director of media relations Rick Lawes recently left that position to become vice president of communications for CONCACAF.

Plum will oversee media relations for MLSís developmental U.S. Pro-40 team, which plays in he A-League and handle general MLS communications activities.

Alan Plum moves to MLS headquarters after spending more than a year and a half with the public relations department of the Columbus Crew. He starts his new position March 13.

Cerritos leaves for El Salavador

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Midfielder Ronald Cerritos has briefly left the San Jose Earthquakes' preseason training to join El Salvador's national team for World Cup 2002 qualifying,.

Cerritos, the Earthquakesí all-time leading scorer with 40 goals and 111 points, left on Saturday to play for El Salvador in two matches, a friendly yesterday against Panama and a qualifying match Sunday. Both matches are in El Salvador.

"It's always a good sign when your players are making international appearances," Earthquakes coach Lothar Osiander said. "Because this is the World Cup, it's very important for Ronald and we wish him well."

The Earthquakes are scheduled to leave on Friday for a two-week Central America trip, where they will play a series of exhibition games. Cerritos will rejoin the Earthquakes on March 6, well before the March 25 opener at Columbus.

Valdrrrama, Diaz Arce take leave

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Mutiny is back home after winning Copa Puerto Rico 2000 last week in San Juan, but the club is without midfielder Carlos Valderrama and striker Raul Diaz Arce for about a week.

Valderrama has returned to Colombia to be with his father who will undergo kidney surgery Friday or Saturday. He is scheduled to rejoin the Mutiny next Wednesday.

Diaz Arce is in El Salvador to represent his nation which will play Sunday at home against Belize in a World Cup qualifier.

Central defender Chad McCarty made his preseason debut yesterday after recovering from late January shoulder surgery. McCarty and goalkeeper Andy Kirk are in the pool of players to be selected for the under-23 national team which has Olympic qualifying in April.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman contributed to this report.

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