- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jaime Moreno is a candidate for 2005 Major League Soccer MVP. After 10 years in the league, United’s greatest goal scorer is still the most complete striker in the league.

The Bolivian, who has overcome a serious back injury, has all the ingredients: speed, dribbling skills, vision and the ability to hold off defenders. He can score goals with his head and feet and is one of the coolest penalty-kick takers in MLS. Too bad he won’t be playing today against Chivas USA at RFK Stadium.

One of Moreno’s other attributes — his ability to track back and defend — got him suspended for today’s 4 p.m. game. Jamil Walker likely will replace the striker.

Moreno received a red card in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over the MetroStars. The speedy forward raced after midfielder Eddie Gaven, who had cut through United’s defense at the one-hour mark and looked certain to tie the game 1-1. Moreno, who on 31-year-old legs still is probably the only man on the United roster who could catch Gaven, gave the 18-year-old a push in the back on the edge of the box, committing the ultimate sacrificial foul.

The shower and a suspension immediately awaited the veteran, but United’s lead was preserved, and the action reflected Moreno’s commitment to his team.

Actually, Moreno’s suspension might prove fortunate. It gives the busy striker a needed rest and likely will allow Walker to get some first-team play. With a busy schedule ahead for United (10-6-5, 35 points), what with MLS games, a U.S. Open Cup match, exhibition games and the Copa Sudamericana tournament beckoning next month, the club needs all its players fit.

“MLS games are OK, but we also want to be on the international stage showing D.C. United can play good soccer, too,” coach Peter Nowak said.

The quick Walker replaced Christian Gomez in the 75th minute of Wednesday’s game and set up both of United’s insurance goals. Walker, 24, hopes to unleash the same kind of damage on Chivas, the club that traded him to United in March.

“I’m ready to go, and I’m always ready to play Chivas,” the Rochester, N.Y., native said.

With Moreno out and forwards Freddy Adu and Alecko Eskandarian nursing injuries, Walker would seem Nowak’s obvious choice to join Santino Quaranta at forward.

“When you’re on a developmental contract, you want to work your way up the senior roster,” said Walker, whose salary is just $16,500. “We have a lot of forwards on this team, so any chance you get to play you have to take advantage of it. That’s what I’m looking for, to make a difference, and I hope the coach is watching.”

The former San Jose Earthquakes player has earned two assists this season in 230 minutes, including two starts. Chivas picked him in the expansion draft during the offseason and then dealt him to United for a second-round supplemental draft pick in 2007.

United beat Chivas 2-0 in the season opener at Los Angeles.

While the expansion team has the worst record in the league (3-16-3, 12 points), Chivas arrives at RFK hungry for a positive result after being beaten 1-0 on Landon Donovan’s late penalty kick Wednesday against the Los Angeles Galaxy. A crowd of 88,816 at Los Angeles Coliseum — the second largest in MLS history — watched the game, which was the first part of a doubleheader that included a match between Chivas de Guadalajara and Club America of Mexico City.

Corner kicks — Manchester United, now owned by American Malcolm Glazer, visits Everton today as the English Premier League kicks off. Defending champion Chelsea begins defense of its title at newly promoted Wigan tomorrow. Wigan will be playing in the top flight for the first time. The club entered the four-division Football League in 1978. …

New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol has been selected to lead the MLS select team against host Real Madrid on Aug. 23 in the 27th annual Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu. The select team’s roster will be named early next week.

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