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Rapids Acquire Uruguayan Midfielder Martin Morales and Rights to Striker Luchi Gonzalez

March 9, 2005 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Colorado Rapids News Release

DENVER, CO (03-09-05)- The Colorado Rapids acquired today Uruguayan midfielder Martin Morales and the rights for striker Luchi Gonzalez from the Columbus Crew in exchange for a Second Round Draft Pick in the 2007 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft. Gonzalez, who returns to MLS after one year playing in South America, signed a multi-year contract with Colorado. Terms of both players' contracts were not made public.

Morales, who arrived in Colorado as part of the sign-and-trade deal, is an internationally experienced midfielder who will look to add depth to the midfield position with the Rapids in 2005. Nicknamed "Tati", the left-footed player is a versatile athlete who is well known for his good positioning. His international career has taken him to play for clubs in Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, and Uruguay.

The 26-year old midfielder, who played for Racing Club in Argentina in 1998 and has represented Uruguay playing for the Under-17 national team on various occasions, is awaiting his visa approval from the U.S. government.

Gonzalez, who was originally drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2002, spent the 2004 season with Peruvian First Division powerhouse Sporting Cristal, with whom he won the Clausura Tournament. The 5-8 forward also participated with the team in the 2004 edition of the Copa Libertadores, in which his club lost to Boca Juniors of Argentina in the second round of the prestigious tournament. During his time with Cristal, Luchi netted a total of five goals with the Peruvian Champions Cup runners-up.

The 24-year old striker has represented the United States on several youth national teams, including the US Under-20's, where he was a member of the 22-man roster in the 1999 FIFA Under-20 World Youth Championship in Nigeria, and the U.S. Under-17 National Team, whom he participated the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Egypt with. In college, Gonzalez led the SMU Mustangs to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2001, along the way earning the Hermann Trophy as the nation's best college player, one year after leading SMU to the College Cup semifinals.

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