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  Moreno Makes Most of Opportunity

By Bryan Tucker Correspondent
Monday, October 27, 1997

Online Exclusive
After two seasons playing for Middlesborough in England, forward Jaime Moreno's career was at a standstill when D.C. United came to the rescue in July 1996. Since his signing, Moreno was blossomed into one of Major League Soccer's most prolific forwards. Sunday afternoon, his career reached a high point when he named most valuable player of MLS Cup '97 in the United's 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids.

"My career was like dead in England and nobody knew me," said Moreno, easily recognizable with his bleach-blonde hair. "Fortunately, I came here and could show my skill."

Moreno didn't take long to show his talents yesterday, scoring in the 37th minute off assists by Tony Sanneh and David Vaudreuil.

Sanneh took the ball down the right flank and crossed the ball through the middle of the penalty box. Forward Raul Diaz Arce let it go by him intentionally, and Moreno trapped it, pushed the ball to the right and drilled a shot into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead. The move by Diaz Arce even surprised Moreno.

"[It surprised me] a little bit because he was in better position than me," said Moreno, who scored three goals in the postseason. "I had to come back to touch the ball and it just went in."

Moreno showed he was more than just a goal-scorer in the game, setting up his teammates time and time again.

Midway through the first half, the Bolivian forward beat Rapids goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and pushed the ball up for midfielder Richie Williams. Williams's first touch was too hard and, by the time Williams could wind up for the easy shot, a Colorado defenseman cleared it from danger.

Moreno and Diaz Arce had numerous opportunities in the second half with 3-on-2 breaks and even one 2-on-1, but could never find the back of the net.

"[Moreno] is not just a good goal scorer, he is a good player technically with the ball and has great moves," Williams said. "He proved that he can do more than score goals — he can also set up goals."

The 23-year-old forward from led D.C. United in points this season with 40 (16 goals, 8 assists) and finished second in MLS in scoring behind Preki of Kansas City, who scored 41 points, but played in seven more games than Moreno.

For his Bolivian national team, Moreno has recorded a point in six of the past seven matches.

[The MLS Cup honor] "means a lot for my career," he said. "I came here last year when I wasn't playing in England and, fortunately, I had a good season last year and this year."

© Copyright 1997

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