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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Simply the Best: Jaime Moreno

CARSON, CA - AUGUST 29:  Jaime Moreno #99 of  D.C. United looks on before the MLS match against Chivas USA on August 29, 2010 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Chivas USA defeated D.C. United 1-0.
Jaime Moreno: An integral part of  each star.
Getty Images logo Getty Images.

Saturday night at RFK Stadium was the last time that Jaime Moreno would appear for DC United. The Bolivian international has played 15 years in Major League Soccer. Moreno had his start with Blooming in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He also attended the Tahuichi Academy which is an important youth development leader in Bolivia.

I remember the first time that I ever saw him play for DC United in 1996. He had just arrived after as spell with Middlesbrough in England. He had the typical South American glove-soft touch on the ball, with an added physicality due to his English experience. He and Raul Diaz Arce formed a great partnership up front orchestrated by Moreno's fellow countryman, Marco Etcheverry.

Early MLS Success

Moreno was a fixture on the massively successful early DC United sides that dominated American soccer. They were arrogant, bold and played a Latin passing style punctuated by old-world toughness. DC United won three of the first four MLS Cup championships, along with an Interamerican Cup win over Vasco da Gama from Brazil in 1998. The success of DC United gave the nascent league international credibility.

Most Successful DC Athlete

With the exception of one year with the Metrostars, Moreno played his entire MLS career in Washington. He had the misfortune to play in a town where soccer, even when successful, was relegated to the secondary pages of sports coverage.

But one fact remains:

Jaime Moreno was the most decorated athlete in Washington during the last 20 years, and one of the most successful in history.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Jaime Moreno #99 of D.C. United is honored before the game against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Washington, DC.
Moreno honored before the game  with former
teammates Marco Etcheverry, Eddie Pope,
John Harkes and Ben Olsen. Far right: His wife, Louise.
Far left: Commentator, Dave Johnson.

Getty Images logo Getty Images.

A Storybook Ending

Moreno scored a spot kick against Toronto FC to give the fans what they came to see. It was a fitting tribute to stellar career. There are very few role models in sport. Jaime Moreno is one of them. He was an exemplary professional on and off the pitch.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Fans of D.C. United wave a flag honoring Jaime Moreno #99 during the game against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Toronto defeated DC 3-2.
Moreno was a larger-than-life figure  at DC United.
Getty Images logo Getty Images.

Career Highlights 

  • 340 regular season appearances
  • 133 MLS goals: Leading all-time scorer and most penalty kicks converted.
  • 4 MLS Cups
  • 2 U.S. Open Cups
  • 1 Interamerican Cup
  • 1 CONCACAF Champions Cup 
  • First MLS player to score 100 goals and have 100 assists
  • 75 international caps with 9 goals for Bolivia
Statistics courtesy of MLSNet.
"He’s the best player that’s ever graced MLS... It’s no coincidence that every trophy that this team has won, Jaime Moreno has been a part of."
Ben Olsen, DC United manager and former Moreno teammate.
Source: Biloxi Sun Herald.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Jaime Moreno #99 of D.C. United says farewell to fans after the game against Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. Toronto defeated DC 3-2.
The supporters showed their appreciation.
Getty Images logo Getty Images.

Jaime Moreno, Legendary MLS Player

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