United Has Big Hole With Moreno Away

United's Jaime Moreno will be playing for his native Bolivia in Copa America, which starts June 26. He will miss four to six MLS matches.
United's Jaime Moreno will be playing for his native Bolivia in Copa America, which starts June 26. He will miss four to six MLS matches. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jaime Moreno's bid to become MLS's career scoring leader will have to wait at least three weeks.

Moreno, the D.C. United captain who is tied for the all-time lead with the retired Jason Kreis at 108 goals, flew to Bolivia yesterday to join his national team and begin preparing for Copa America, the prestigious South American championship that begins June 26 in Venezuela.

He will miss four to six MLS matches, depending on Bolivia's success in the three-week tournament. Moreno, who has spent 11 of his 12 MLS seasons in Washington, has started seven games this year and scored three goals, all on penalty kicks.

"I've worked hard the last couple of years to earn this opportunity to get back on the national team," Moreno, 33, said in a written statement. He has made 65 international appearances and played in the 1994 World Cup, but dropped out of consideration about five years ago.

When former teammate Erwin "Platini" Sanchez was named coach, however, Moreno's status rose again. He was recalled for the May 26 friendly against Ireland and named to a preliminary Copa roster last week. Bolivia, which has struggled to keep pace in South America the last 10 years, will face Venezuela, Peru and Uruguay in Group A of Copa America.

With Moreno away, United Coach Tom Soehn said he will weigh his options all week before deciding on a lineup replacement Saturday night against Chicago at RFK Stadium.

Rookie Guy-Roland Kpene has started twice but is recovering from a groin injury that sidelined him Sunday against New York; second-year player Rod Dyachenko has impressed the club in a frontline role in training lately; and recent acquisition Nicholas Addlery has three goals in the reserve division.

"It allows us to dig into that depth," Soehn said. "It's a great opportunity for Jaime, a great honor, and now it's a chance for some of our other guys to show what they can do."

Another possibility at forward is Fred, the Brazilian midfielder who has been steadily adapting to his wing position after playing a central position regularly with his previous club in Australia. "He's starting to understand his role, so it would probably be inappropriate to change it now," Soehn said. "But you never know."

Besides Moreno, United (4-3-2) will face the Fire without its top defender, Bobby Boswell, who received a red card Sunday and will serve a one-game suspension. Devon McTavish is the likely replacement, but Soehn said he will consider other options as well.

United Notes: Technical director Dave Kasper said the club might re-sign midfielder Dominic Mediate, a former Maryland Terrapin who made eight appearances before breaking his leg last year and was waived during preseason. He has been training with the club and playing in reserve matches as a guest player. . . .

Kpene is likely to practice today and be evaluated throughout the week, Soehn said. . . . Swiss defender Kim Jaggy, 24, and former UNC Charlotte forward Mira Mupier, 25, will begin tryouts today. . . .

Midfielder Ben Olsen was named MLS player of the week after recording his first career hat trick. The last United player to score three goals in a league match was Abdul Thompson Conteh in 2001.

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