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3 new players hope for one thing: chance to start over

Manny Lagos hopes the knee injury that kept him out of all but one game last season for Chicago will not be an issue in Tampa Bay.

Ritchie Kotschau hopes his confidence, which deserted him last year in Chicago and resulted in his late-season benching and subsequent reserve role this season, returns now that he is with the Mutiny.

And Joe Addo wants to prove he can play in Major League Soccer after a career in Europe.

Three players joined the Mutiny this week and all have the same hope that their move is a chance to start over.

"My position in Chicago was clogged by a lot of foreigners," said Lagos, who tore his right ACL in '98 and played in parts of nine games for the Fire this season. "It's tough sometimes to find the right place. They knew I wanted some more playing time, so in a way I think this was the best thing."

Lagos had to leave behind his fiancee, Aimee Kindsfather, who is attending University of Chicago law school. But he hopes his career will be revitalized in Tampa. He likely will play the reserve midfield role Paul Dougherty held before he was traded to Chicago.

Kotschau has a chance to start immediately. He likely will fill the left side vacated by Sam George, who was traded to Chicago. Kotschau brings needed speed to the defense.

"At first I wanted to stay in Chicago until the end of the year because you never know what might happen," Kotschau said. "But then when I started thinking about it, I found a lot more pros than cons. I think there's a better opportunity for me here."

Addo wants an opportunity to play and when his work visa is approved, the Ghana national team captain will get his chance. Addo last played for Ethnikos in the Greek first division. He and Kotschau were teammates at George Mason University.

Addo is a natural sweeper with speed to roam the field.

"I'm a professional soccer player and I want to work," Addo said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to play soon, and when I do I hope to play hard enough to stay in this league a long time."

It's unlikely Addo will be cleared in time to play against D.C. United on Sunday. When he plays, the Mutiny will have five foreign players on its roster, one over the league limit. Jefferson Gottardi is on the 15-day disabled list but when he comes off in a week, one foreigner will have to go.

Coach Tim Hankinson stopped short of saying whether Kotschau or Lagos will play Sunday.

"It all depends on how quickly the players can get assimilated and how quickly they can mesh with the team," Hankinson said.

"I think this will make us a better team. We needed to get more versatility in the back, so we had to make this move."

VALDERRAMA IN COLOMBIA: Midfielder Carlos Valderrama made an emergency trip to Colombia to be with his father, who needs a kidney transplant. The best-case scenario will have Valderrama returning to Tampa by the end of the week and making the trip to D.C.

However, if his father's condition worsens, Valderrama will stay in Colombia.

INJURY REPORT: Midfielder Dominic Kinnear has been hampered by a strained right hamstring since the Colorado game July 25. He is practicing lightly but should be ready to go Sunday.

Goalkeeper Scott Garlick has recovered from back spasms and a hip pointer that forced him to miss the Miami game Thursday. Forward Alan Prampin still is sidelined because of a pubic bone strain.

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