Saturday, October 23, 2010;
After two uneventful years in England, Jaime Moreno moved to MLS in August and became the final piece in Coach Bruce Arena's roster construction in United's inaugural season. He scored four minutes into his debut and ignited a 7-3-0 run to end the regular season, followed by five victories in six postseason matches, including an overtime win over Los Angeles in MLS Cup.
Despite making just 20 regular season appearances because of Bolivian national team duty, Moreno had a league-high 16 goals, including seven in an early six-game stretch. He scored the first goal in MLS Cup against Colorado at sold-out RFK Stadium.
With Moreno and compatriot Marco Etcheverry fueling the attack, United surged to a 47-17 regular season record over two years and rebounded from an upset loss to Chicago in the '98 final to defeat Los Angeles the following fall. Moreno accumulated 26 goals and 24 assists, plus five goals in the 1999 postseason.
The only three-goal match of his career came in a 19-minute stretch of the second half during a 5-2 victory over Colorado at Mile High Stadium: a penalty kick in the 59th, a six-yard header on John Maessner's cross three minutes later and a leaping redirect inside the six-yard box on Etcheverry's service in the 78th.
Needing to shake up the roster after missing the playoffs from 2000 through 2002, United executed one of the biggest trades in league history: Moreno, Eddie Pope and Richie Williams went to New York for Mike Petke, a draft pick and player acquisition rights. A back injury limited Moreno to seven starts and two goals for the MetroStars.
Following surgery to repair herniated disks, Moreno had no future in New York and was sent back to Washington. Essentially on tryout, he earned a roster spot. Because teen phenom Freddy Adu had been given his old No. 9 jersey in his absence, Moreno chose No. 99. He proceeded to compose perhaps his finest season: a career-high 14 assists to go with seven goals, plus two strikes in the playoffs as United claimed its fourth league title.
Three months after tying Jason Kreis's MLS career scoring record, Moreno set the mark with his 109th goal on a penalty kick early in the second half against New York at RFK Stadium. "I think my wife is relieved," he said afterward. "She got tired of telling me to score."
Fifteen years after it began, Moreno ended his Bolivian national team career. He had 75 appearances and nine goals - both rank ninth on the country's all-time lists. In 1994, at age 20, he was the youngest member of the World Cup squad and made second-half appearances against Germany and Spain. In 2007, after a seven-year absence, he scored twice at Copa America, the South American championship.
Moreno had a stirring preseason, rekindling memories of his finer days. He then started three of the first four league matches, but with United sputtering in attack, his playing time gradually evaporated. Over the next five months, he made just four starts. In August, club officials decided that this would be his final season with United; he had hoped to play one more year. Moreno has a standing offer to work for the team.