MLS Legends: DC United’s Jaime Moreno

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 09: Jaime Moreno
WASHINGTON - AUGUST 09: Jaime Moreno /

Jaime Moreno was a key player in the development of MLS. His contributions helped shape the league, and his play earned him the hearts of DC United fans.

Jaime Moreno joined DC United midway through the inaugural MLS season in 1996. His move from Middlesbrough of the English Premier League gave United the final piece they needed to claim the first MLS Cup.

The Bolivian forward was just the type of player the league needed to be recruiting. He was skilled with the ball at his feet. Able to make a deft pass or take a crack at the goal, and had great sense of where to make his runs.

Moreno hit the ground running in 1996, getting three goals and three assists in nine regular season games. He added a goal and an assist in four games, helping DC United claim the first MLS Cup (Stats per

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His second season in MLS saw him explode. He formed a frightening partnership with fellow Bolivian Marco Etcheverry. Moreno saw his numbers improve to 16 goals and 8 assists in only 20 games played. Another strong playoff performance by Moreno helped DC United defend their MLS title.

Moreno continued his stellar play for DC United for much of the next five seasons before injuries and concerns about fitness saw him traded to the Metrostars for Mike Petke in 2003. Moreno would spend one season in New York as injuries continued to slow down the once productive forward. He was shut down in August of that year and had surgery to repair herniated disks.

2004 saw Moreno return to DC United. He worked hard to recover from his back surgery and was in noticeably better shape. His return to form followed as he contributed 7 goals and 14 assists in 27 games for the capital club.

Moreno would continue to be a fixture for United until hanging up his boots after the 2010 season. Though he spent his last two seasons mainly as a substitute, he still brought the energy fans had enjoyed from him for fifteen years.

He retired as the leagues all time leader in goals scored with 133 (later passed by Landon Donovan), and 102 assists. He was the first MLS player to reach the century mark in both goals and assists. He would appear in 340 regular season games, with 329 of them coming in the Black and Red of DC United.

His playoff totals saw him add another 12 goals and 10 assists in 32 games. His list of accomplishments holds an impressive four MLS Cups, a CONCACAF Champions Cup, an MLS Golden Boot, two US Open Cups, and seven MLS all star selections.

After hanging up the boots, Moreno accepted a position on DC United’s coaching staff. He coached the U-23 team before leaving after the 2013 season to pursue other career opportunities.

In 2010, Moreno started his 99 Dreams, One Heart Foundation. The charity was setup to support youth development in soccer and also support research for Lyme disease.

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Number 99 earned a high place in the hearts of United fans and the respect of the rest of the league. He was an unrelenting force on the pitch. His talents made him a fan favorite, his drive and determination made him an MLS legend.