[MLS] United's new forward isn’t new at all. Much-maligned by D.C. United fans last year as a Designated Player, striker Luciano Emilio has returned on a short-term contract.
Though his MLS contract expired at the end of the 2009 season, United held its rights within MLS and waited while he played in his native Brazil for Rio Branco de Americana. Several teams approached D.C. with trade offers but nothing satisfied club management, at least not while Emilio’s salary-cap hit wasn’t known.
Still not known is what he will earn, but D.C. does hold an option to retain his rights beyond the three months of his current deal. As a DP, he earned $750,000 last season, during which he scored 10 of his 41 league goals and hit three more in Concacaf Champions’ League play. That wasn’t enough for D.C., which drove him out of the league with a salary offer he considered too low.
Rumors of a trade have swirled for the past month or so, and one could still materialize. Assistant coach Chad Ashton is scouting players in South America, and general manager Dave Kasper and head coach Curt Onalfo have extensive ties in that region of the world as well as Central America. If United signs a forward during the summer transfer period, Emilio could be headed to another team in a trade or via waivers.
“Over the past several months, we’ve been in constant communication with Luciano regarding his playing future and have reached an agreement that provides United a proven MLS goalscorer at terms that take into consideration both parties’ plans for the future,” said Kasper in a statement on the team’s Web site.
Emilio will be officially added to the roster once the league receives his international transfer certificate. United hosts FC Dallas in the U.S. Open Cup tonight; if the paperwork is completed in time, Emilio could be in the lineup Saturday for a home league game against New York.