D.C. United lose Hendrickson, Martins, Ara in MLS Expansion Draft
WASHINGTON, D.C. - D.C. United today lost roster players Ezra Hendrickson, Thiago Martins and Kevin Ara in the 2004 MLS Expansion Draft. Hendrickson was chosen by CD Chivas USA with their third round selection (fifth overall) in the draft. Martins (CD Chivas USA, 17th overall pick) and Ara (Real Salt Lake, 18th overall pick) were selected in the ninth round. As a result, Tim Lawson, Ryan Nelsen, Troy Perkins, Eliseo Quintanilla and Earnie Stewart remain on the playing roster of the MLS Cup champions.
"We expected to lose players in today's expansion draft," said United Technical Director Dave Kasper. "We're sorry to see Ezra, Thiago and Kevin move on to new clubs, but Ezra and Thiago are headed to a location with which they are very familiar and Kevin will have a great opportunity in Salt Lake City. We thank all of them for their contributions to our club and wish them the best of luck going forward."
"At the same time, we're also pleased to have been able to keep quality talent within our team," continued Kasper. "Tim, Troy and Eliseo will all figure into our plans next year and we'll be looking for significant contributions from them. In retaining the rights to Ryan, we have bought time for him and the organization should he not sign with a new club."
Hendrickson was acquired by D.C. United June 23rd following a short stint with the Charleston Battery of the A-League. The eight-year MLS veteran started five games for Charleston, tallying one shot on goal. A strong addition to the Black-and-Red defensive unit, Hendrickson was able to step into either a defensive midfield or defender role, providing needed depth and an occasional foray into the attack. He was instrumental in leading the United defense in the absence of captain Ryan Nelsen in the club's second road win of the season, preserving the 1-0 win over the MetroStars with a goal-line clearance.
After tearing his left ACL in December 2003, Martins worked to rejoin the Black-and-Red after completing the rehabilitation process mid-season. Unfortunately, the Brazilian again suffered a torn left ACL just prior to his scheduled return to the full roster and underwent season-ending surgery on June 21st. Martins was selected as the MVP of the A-League for the 2003 season, finishing the year with 51 points on 22 goals and seven assists. After joining United, Martins appeared both as a starter and a substitute, making the most of his ability to hold the ball and maintain possession in the offensive third.
Ara made a quick adjustment to life in Major League Soccer this year after spending the first three months of rookie season completing his studies at Harvard University. The young midfielder showed potential in his six League appearances, as well as in his appearances in United's international friendlies.