WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2013 — It all began on June 12, 1996 when a 20-year old Bolivian ran full speed, 90 yards down the right-flank at RFK Stadium. He beat U.S and D.C. United defender Jeff Agoos, and slotted the ball past American goalie Brad Friedel at the near-post to give Bolivia a 2-0 win over the U.S. national team on June 12, 1996. Little over a month later, Jaime Moreno joined Major League Soccer and was storming the field at RFK again, but this time in a D.C. United jersey.
It was the beginning of a stunning career for Moreno, who went on to become the club’s greatest player, helping United win four MLS Cups and numerous other titles. In 1997, he won Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot as the league’s top goal scorer.
Jaime Moreno will be formally inducted into United’s Hall of Tradition during halftime of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Apart from an injury-plagued season with the MetroStars in 2003, Moreno played 14 seasons with United. In his MLS career, he scored 133 regular season strikes making him the second-leading scorer in MLS history.
“When you work hard for so many years, you get rewarded,” Moreno told The Washington Times in 2009.
Apart from helping United win four MLS titles, the Bolivian forward won three Supporter’s Shields, a U.S. Open Cup, a CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, and a Copa Interamericana. He also earned five MLS Best XI selections and was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI in 2005. At the international level, he played 75 times for Bolivia, scoring nine goals.
In his last game at RFK Stadium, he scored from the penalty spot, his 162nd overall goal in his 425th appearance for the D.C. outfit.
Moreno made history in 1994 by becoming the first Bolivian to play in the English Premier League when he signed for Middlesbrough. On July 29, 1996 he joined United in the middle of the season and went on to score three goals in nine league games. The following season he was the team’s best players with 16 goals and eight assists. In other notable seasons, he scored another 16 goals and 11 assists in 1998 and 16 goals and seven assists in 2005.
When he broke Jason Kries’ scoring-record on Aug. 22, 2007, Moreno told The Washington Times that he never considered himself primarily a goal-scorer.
“I always said that I never qualified myself as a goal scorer,” he said. “ I’m in this position with the record because of the many years I’ve played in this league and also because I did score some important goals in my career.”
Moreno was the first “100-100” player - notching 100 goals and 100 assists. He is also the “King of the Penalty Kick”, after converting a record 43 penalty kicks in 339 games - 20 ahead of his nearest spot-kick competitor.
Moreno retired in October, 2010 at the age of 36 and now works as United’s Youth Academy Technical Training Coach.
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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