D.C. United and Houston each signed a player to their respective rosters on Thursday, roughly 48 hours before the teams open the season on Saturday afternoon.
D.C. United added what could be a vital cog to their defense stable with former Bolivian international defender Juan Manuel Peña. The 37 year-old is a veteran of 14 seasons in Spain’s La Liga and suited up for Bolivia during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Though he won’t be available for Saturday’s opener at Kansas City, he will be available for selection upon receiving his P-1 work visa and will be classified as a Senior International on United’s roster.
Peña spent three years with La Liga side Villareal from 2004-07, and anchored Villareal’s backline through a successful run in the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup. He appeared in 56 matches for the club.
He also earned 85 caps at central defender for Bolivia, becoming the fifth most capped player in the team’s history and captaining his side on numerous occasions. He played in one game for Bolivia in the 1994 World Cup, a 3-1 loss to Spain and featured in five editions of Copa America, the prestigious bi-annual South American championship tournament.
Houston announced the club has signed midfielder Sammy Appiah, a third-round pick from the MLS SuperDraft who will occupy the fourth and final developmental spot on the roster.
Appiah, 25, will be available for the Dynamo’s opener on the road against FC Dallas . The Ghana native appeared in nine of the Dynamo’s 11 preseason games, mostly as a defensive midfielder. He comes to Houston after a four-year career at Boston University in which he totaled 11 goals and 10 assists and was named first-team all-America East in 2009.