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United acquires Marino, English teenager, trying to stem extended slump.

Pete Marino
Reeling defending Major League Soccer champion D.C. United, desperate to find an effective striker partner for Jaime Moreno, signed Pete Marino (above) who was waived from the league in March.
HERNDON, Va. (Monday, May 22, 2000) -- Sneaky Pete is back in Major League Soccer.

D.C. United announced the acquisition of veteran striker Pete Marino, who reported today to start training with the struggling defending champion which currently has the worst record in the league at 2-9-1. Marino should be available for action for Saturday night’s home game with the Dallas Burn.

"We're delighted to have Pete Marino join us," said United coach Thomas Rongen. "He has shown in the past that he can score goals and we feel that is a position where we need some help. Hopefully Pete will put the ball in the back of the net for us."

Additionally, United president and general manager Kevin Payne said that 19-year-old Michael Blackwood from England will join the team May 29. The left-sided midfielder spent the just-ended season with the Aston Villa reserves in Birmingham.

Marino, nicknamed "Sneaky Pete" because of his creative, opportunistic play, originally was drafted by the Columbus Crew for the league’s inaugural season of 1996. His 11 goals and four assists for 26 points ranked him 13th in scoring during that first MLS year.

He tallied a team-leading eight goals and registered four assists for Columbus in 1997 before being traded to the Kansas City Wizards for Frank Klopas after the season.

Primarily a reserve for K.C. in 1998, Marino scored just once on eight shots during the season. After that campaign, the Wizards sent Marino to the Tampa Bay Mutiny.

Marino earned more playing time as a reserve for Tampa Bay in 1999 before a shoulder injury in July knocked him off his form. He ended the season with one goal on 12 shots while appearing in 15 matches. He was waived by the Mutiny last March. Since then, he has been training in Germany and Italy.

While United's 18 goals this season is tied for fourth-best in MLS, Jaime Moreno is the lone forward to tally this season for the Black-and-Red. Moreno is tied for second in the league in goals scored with eight, and is third in points with 17.

Vermes is ‘Player of the Week’

KANSAS City, Mo. -- Kansas City Wizards defender Peter Vermes, was named "Player of the Week," just the fifth defender in MLS’s five years to take home the weekly honor.

Vermes played a key role in both Wizards shutout victories last week, a 2-0 triumph over D.C. United on Wednesday and a 2-0 win over San Jose on Saturday. Against D.C. United, Vermes led the defense, both vocally and with his play, helping hold the three-time champ to just two shots on goal.

In Saturday's match, Vermes notched the game-winning tally in the 35th minute, his first goal since August 29, 1998. He received a corner kick on the right side of the box, juked San Jose’s Abdul Thompson Conteh, found himself free and unleashed a left-footed the ball from 15 yards away.

The central defender has played all of the Wizards' regular-season minutes this season after being the only MLS player to play every minute of every game last season.

Vermes edged Wizards’ goalkeeper Tony Meola by one point in the voting, Meola extended his league record to 615 straight scoreless minutes and has six straight shutouts and nine in the last 10 matches.

"It is definitely an honor, but at the same time with the way our team is playing defensively, the whole group should be recognized," Vermes said. "The whole team deserves it. Everyone is doing their job and playing their role. It shows in how organized we are and with the minimal amount of mistakes we make. Our team has been nothing but consistent since the first game. Overall it's been a great group achievement."

Matthaeus returns to Germany

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- MetroStars high-priced midfielder Lothar Matthaeus, who was suspended for his side’s thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory Saturday over the Tampa Bay, has started an extended leave to join Germany for Euro 2000. His return date hinges upon the success of Germany in the tournamant.

Mulrooney’s red card ends streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Midfielder Richard Mulrooney was the last member of the San Jose Earthquakes to play every minute of the 2000 season, a streak that ended at 1,020 minutes when he picked up a red card in the 80th minute of a loss at Kansas City. In addition to Mulrooney, Jimmy Conrad must also sit out Saturday’s visit to the Los Angeles Galaxy, suspended after picking up yellow cards in three consecutive games

The game against the Galaxy will be the eighth road game for San Jose in its first 12 outings, but the Earthquakes then play eight of 12 at home. San Jose will use its 12th different starting lineup on Saturday.

The Earthquakes haven't scored a goal in 210 minutes and are yet to score a first-half goal on the road.

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