First look: D.C. United

player (age)

2 -- David Stokes (22)
After not making a league appearance in his rookie season, his MLS debut came this year in the season opener, making his first start on May 22. Lanky wide defender who made 11 appearances in all, also playing for the U.S. under-23 (Olympic) national team.

3 -- Jason Thompson (23)
Acquired from the Dallas Burn just hours before a July 24 match at the Cotton Bowl when a short squad saw him pressed into action, his only appearance for United. Made just one appearance in his year-plus with Dallas, after he was drafted out of Eastern Illinois University.

4 -- Brandon Prideaux (28)
Versatile defender who had a pair of extended stints as a starter in Peter Nowak's rearguard, ending the season coming off the substitutes' bench. Made 23 appearances, 16 as a starter, and can play either as a center back or wide on the flank.

5 -- Ezra Hendrickson (32)
Experienced MLS campaigner who was signed in June from the Charleston Battery (A-League), to provide cover as a stand-in at center back and in central midfield. Began his MLS career in 1997 with the MetroStars, moving to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1998 - where he played in three MLS Cup Finals and won the CONCACAF Champions Cup - before a trade to the Dallas Burn in 2003.

6 -- Kevin Ara (22)
Rookie who impressed with his work rate during preseason, then joined the team after finishing his studies at Harvard. Made six appearances in the league campaign, his only start in central midfield on July 24 in Dallas.

7 -- Ryan Nelsen (27)
Captain of club and country, the New Zealand international was the defensive anchor for United in the center of the back three. Missed considerable time through national team duty then sports hernia surgery, but returned to solidify the back in the club's late-season charge. In his fourth MLS season out of Stanford University, he has also played as a holding midfielder but is now considered one of the top defenders in MLS.

8 -- Earnie Stewart (35)
Versatile veteran U.S. international who has found a home on the flank after Nowak tried him as a striker and in multiple central midfield roles. Still a regular with the U.S. national team - where this year he became the eighth U.S. player to win 100 full caps - he came to MLS at the start of last season after 15 years in the Netherlands where he played with VV Venlo (1998-90), Willem II (1990-96) and NAC Breda (1996-2002).

9 -- Freddy Adu (15)
The youngest player in Major League Soccer history, the now 15-year-old was one of two United players to play in every game, starting 14. While he can also play as an attacker, he has come on in the postseason with his ability to run at defenders from the midfield. Scored five goals, third-most on United, his first coming on April 17 v MetroStars.

11 -- Alecko Eskandarian (22)
Developed into a quality and lethal striker in his second season with United, scoring 10 goals to lead the club (tied for seventh in the league) - six coming in a trio of two-goal games. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 SuperDraft out of Virginia, he scored three goals a year ago and was in and out of the starting lineup this year until claiming a regular first-team place in June.

12 -- Mike Petke (28)
A regular on the back line all season for United, usually on the left side of the back three. Has been remarkably consistent in his seven seasons in MLS, never making fewer than 25 appearances in a season. Moved to D.C. for the 2003 season after five years with the MetroStars.

13 -- Christian Gomez (30)
Signed late in the season from Arsenal FC in Sarandi, Argentina, his introduction into the side as a playmaking midfielder or off striker was the final piece of United's renaissance. A veteran of more than a decade in the Argentinian first and second division, playing with Nueva Chicago (1991-1996; 2000-03), Independiente (1997-99. 2002); Argentinos Juniors (1999-2000) and Arsenal (2002-03).

14 -- Ben Olsen (27)
Veteran, still all-energy midfielder who has turned over a new leaf this season, counted upon to provide the drive out of a central midfield role after years on the flank. Made 25 appearances, a second consecutive year as a consistent performer following a ankle injury that nearly ended his career. Joined United in 1998, winning MLS Cup MVP honors in 1999 before moving to Nottingham Forest in 2000, where he suffered the injury that kept him out until midway through the 2002 campaign.

16 -- Brian Carroll (23)
Second-round pick in last year's SuperDraft who grabbed a starting role as a midfield anchor and played every game during the league campaign. He was ever-present until mid-August, starting 26 games. Did not see a minute of league action in his rookie campaign out of Wake Forest University.

17 -- Joshua Gros (22)
Another rookie who played in nearly every game for United, mainly wide in the midfield, missing only the season finale through suspension. A fourth-round selection in this year's SuperDraft out of Rutgers University, he scored his lone goal on May 22 v Colorado.

18 -- Nick Rimando (24)
Starting goalkeeper at the start of the campaign, he lost his place with a knee injury only to grab it back for United's successful run to the playoffs. After not missing a minute from the midway point of the 2001 season, he suffered a knee injury last September that ended his ironman streak just 50 minutes shy of the MLS record. Somewhat diminutive with amazing reflexes, started his career in 2000 with Fusion FC before moving to United in 2002.

19 -- Thiago Martins (28)
A late-season signing a year ago from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (A-League), where he was named 2003 league MVP after scoring 22 goals, a preseason knee injury put him out for the entire '04 campaign.

21 -- Dema Kovalenko (27)
A fiery midfielder who has figured in more of a wide role as the season progressed, moving from a driving role in the center. Credited with 10 assists on the season - second on the United squad and tied for second in the league. Moved to United in 2003 after four seasons with the Chicago Fire, where he played in MLS Cup 2000.

22 -- Troy Perkins (23)
Developmental player who joined United as an undrafted player signed as cover - and began the first-choice in goal for Peter Nowak, starting more than half of the club's league matches. Won the USL-PDL (fourth division) championship with the Cape Cod Crusaders in 2002.

23 -- Eliseo Quintanilla (21)
Suffered a broken fibula in preseason, which he then re-injured while rehabbing, putting him out for the entire season. El Salvador international in his second season with United after four years in his native country, playing with CD F.A.S. (1999-2001) and CD Aguila (2001-02).

24 -- Nana Kuffour (19)
Speedy and creative midfielder signed in midseason, making five MLS appearances. A Ghana U-17 international, he moved from Super Rainbows in his native country.

25 -- Santino Quaranta (20)
Talented striker who returned from a string of injuries to make a substitute appearance on Oct. 2, his first league action after playing in the season finale a year ago. Impressed in 2001 shortly after being signed as the then-youngest player in MLS history, but injury has limited him to just a handful of appearances since the midway point of the 2002 campaign.

26 -- Bryan Namoff (25)
A fixture in the back line for United, usually on the right of the back three though he can also play as a wingback for fullback. In his fourth season with the Black-and-Red, really moved in a regular role in the back last season.

27 -- Tim Lawson (27)
Plagued by injury after being signed during the season from SV Elversburg of the German fourth division, he has yet to make a league appearance. Played five seasons with Elversburg after leaving the University of Washington, scoring four goals in 118 games.

99 -- Jaime Moreno (30)
The talismanic Bolivian has resurrected his career this season, overcoming a potential career-threatening injury to lead MLS in assists and score seven goals in 27 matches. While he also filled an attacking midfield role, his settling as a forward was a key to United's success. With United from 1996-2002, he won three MLS Cups - named MLS Cup MVP in 1997 when he also won the league's Golden Boot - returning to D.C. this season after an injury-ruined season with the MetroStars last season.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.