MLS all-time scoring leader ending United career
Jaime Moreno actually arrived late. But after staying longer than anyone else, his legacy won't soon be forgotten.
Fourteen years after joining D.C. United from Middlesbrough well into Major League Soccer's inaugural season -- in August 1996, to be exact -- Moreno announced Thursday that his legendary playing career in Washington will come to an end at the close of the 2010 season.
FC Dallas at D.C. United
Where » RFK Stadium
When » Saturday, 8 p.m.
TV » Comcast SportsNet
The biggest threat to Jaime Moreno leaving Major League Soccer without the all-time scoring lead is forward Jeff Cunningham. He has 127 career goals after scoring twice last week for streaking FC Dallas (7-2-9), which is unbeaten in its last nine regular-season matches. Ready to stymie Cunningham is a confident Bill Hamid, who reclaimed D.C. United’s starting goalkeeper spot last weekend in New England. Hamid knows a result in the team’s first MLS home game in four weeks is crucial to ending a four-game skid and restoring meager playoff hopes. “It seems like we’ve kind of lost a bunch of fans, that they’ve lost faith,” Hamid said. “We want to bring them back. We want to show them that we do have the heart to represent this town.”
The 36-year-old is not officially declaring himself retired. He is weighing his next move, which could include returning to his native Bolivia to play for Blooming, where he began his professional career. He could stay in Washington and remain with United, perhaps in a youth coaching capacity.
"It's like my second family," Moreno said in a statement this week. "I have many friends here. The truth is I've had my life here, so this is a difficult decision, but the day had to come."
The last remaining player who has been a part of MLS since its inception, Moreno is the league's all-time leader in goals (132) and the first player to register at least 100 goals and 100 assists. He has been named to the league's Best XI four times and an All-Star eight times, helping D.C. United win four MLS Cup titles. He has spent his entire MLS career in Washington, except for the 2003 season, when he was with New York.
The current year has gone as poorly for Moreno as it has for D.C. United (3-13-3), which is on pace for its worst finish in franchise history. Despite his strong showing in the preseason, Moreno has made only five starts (688 minutes) and scored one goal.
"It's definitely not the way that I wanted to retire," Moreno said last month. "You always have something better in mind, but at the end of the day, the team is the most important thing to me."
Said United general manager Dave Kasper: "We're still hoping this year that Jaime helps us get things back on track and that Jaime is holding the U.S. Open Cup trophy. We're still hoping that he can contribute to the club like in ways that he's done in the past."