D.C. United completed a trade on Monday afternoon that has seen the club part company with defender Mike Petke while leaving a roster spot open for a future acquisition.
The first move sees Petke move to Colorado Rapids for the rights to winger Chris Henderson. That deal will be followed by trading Henderson to a third team for an allocation. The deal was agreed upon Saturday and approved by Major League Soccer on Monday.
"We are working to fill a very specific need in our team and our hope is that by acquiring an allocation, we will be able to accomplish that," said Kevin Payne, United president and chief executive officer. "It was a very difficult decision to part with Mike Petke. Mike has been an outstanding member of our team and, in addition, a first class individual. We will miss him at D.C. United, but wish him all the best with the Colorado Rapids."
The Washington Post reported Monday that D.C. United plan to use the allocation to sign an unnamed Argentine defender later in the summer, following that player's completion of his contractual obligations in South America.
Petke has been a rock in the United defense since joining the club prior to the 2003 season. He helped the Black-and-Red to their fourth MLS Cup championship last November, winning his first major competition since joining the league in 1998. He spent his first five seasons as a member of the MetroStars after being selected by the club in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1998 College Draft. Petke, 29, has scored 10 career goals from his defensive position, including five for D.C.
An MLS original, Henderson will join his fourth MLS team after finishing his second stint in the Mile High City. The 34-year-old played for the Rapids in their first three years of existence before two seasons in Kansas City and one as a member of the now-defunct Miami Fusion. He then rejoined Colorado prior to the 2002 season. The Everett, Wash., native has seen action in 264 games during his impressive career and scored 46 goals and 76 assists.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.