- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

On paper, playoff-bound D.C. United’s final game of the regular season against the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium on Saturday looks meaningless. But don’t tell that to United’s top striker, Jaime Moreno, who is itching to score goals.

With one game left, the Bolivian star is aiming to win MLS’s Golden Boot, the award given to the league’s top goal scorer. Moreno has scored 15 times this season and is only one goal behind the league’s leading striker, Taylor Twellman of the New England Revolution, who is in action Saturday at home against the Chicago Fire.

“Now that I’m really close, I’m going to fight for it,” Moreno said.

The 31-year-old’s goal total this year is his best since he notched 16 in both 1997 and 1998.

“In 1997 I came close and missed [the award] by one point,” Moreno said. “I’m sure it’s another thing that is important in my career. I always feel that things like this happen for a reason.”

Moreno scored the most goals in the league in 1997, but at that time, the scoring title factored in assists; goals counted for two points and assists for one. Moreno lost out to Kansas City Wizards forward Preki, who had 12 goals and 17 assists (41 points), one point ahead of Moreno (16 goals and eight assists for 40 points).

Twellman, a former star at Maryland, has scored 16 goals in 24 games this year and is being talked about as a shoo-in for the MVP award, much to the chagrin of United coach Peter Nowak, who thinks Moreno should be the choice. He’s a big reason United will be the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“I’m disappointed that [Moreno] is not in the mix for the MVP award,” Nowak said. “As the D.C. United captain he is an example every day.”

Eight of Moreno’s goals this season have come from penalty kicks, where he has connected on every opportunity.

Lucio scores — New United forward Lucio Filomeno played with the starters in a 3-3 scrimmage against the reserves yesterday and scored a goal. Nowak says the Argentine may get to play Saturday. … Moreno’s cousin, Pato Aguilera, who plays for the minor league Rochester Raging Rhinos, trained with United yesterday.

Playoff schedule — United will travel to Soldier Field on Oct. 21 for its first game in the conference semifinals against Chicago at 9 p.m. and return to RFK for the home game Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

United has faced the Fire on two occasions in the playoffs. D.C. lost to the expansion Chicago team in the 1998 MLS Cup, and lost both games in the 2003 conference semifinals.

Adu awarded — United midfielder Freddy Adu was selected as MLS Player of the Week for the second time this season. The 16-year-old scored a highlight-reel goal and added an assist in United’s 3-1 win Oct. 5 at Real Salt Lake. Adu is the only United player to win the award this season.

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