- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2006

D.C. United’s Jaime Moreno became only the second player in Major League Soccer to reach the century mark in goals in his team’s 5-1 victory over the Columbus Crew last night at RFK Stadium.

Moreno, the only player remaining from the club’s inaugural season in 1996, scored his 100th from the penalty spot before a crowd of 11,725. Josh Gros, Alecko Eskandarian and Lucio Filomeno also scored a goal apiece for United, and another was credited as an own-goal. United (6-1-3, 21 points) is now unbeaten in four games at RFK.

“It’s definitely special,” said Bolivian Moreno, who has six goals for the season. “People were talking about it after I scored two goals in Kansas City [Saturday]. I never got desperate. I knew that it would come at the right time.”

Moreno closed the gap between himself and Jason Kreis of Real Salt Lake, who has 103 career goals.

“Jason has worked hard to achieve that kind of goal, and it’s not going to be easy for me,” Moreno said. “At the same time, I didn’t work by myself. All these goals are due to my teammates, and I’ll always appreciate them.”

Moreno’s milestone goal came against Dan Popik, one of the least experienced goalies in MLS. The injury-plagued Crew have eight players on their injured list, including four goalies. Popik joined the club only Sunday. An assistant coach at the University of North Carolina, he last played a professional game two years ago for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Last night was only his third MLS game, and it showed in the early going.

In the seventh minute, Moreno fed a perfect pass to Eskandarian, who was running into the box. Popik ran out of his goal, and as Eskandarian tried to dribble around him he pulled down the United striker. Moreno calmly took the penalty kick and converted for his 28th career goal from the 12-yard spot.

“I’m glad we are over this one hundred goals,” United coach Peter Nowak said. “I’m glad it happened so early so we don’t have to drag this through the whole season. Jamie has meant a lot to this franchise from the beginning.”

The Crew evened the score 14 minutes after Moreno’s goal later thanks to sloppy marking by United’s backline. Midfielder Sebastian Rozental crossed the ball into the United box where the unmarked Joseph Ngwenya easily slotted the ball past goalie Troy Perkins to make it 1-1.

United, which dominated possession in the game, failed to take more advantage of the Crew’s shaky goalie in the first half. After the break the story was different.

The go-ahead goal came in the 48th minute when Eskandarian’s header off Christian Gomez’s corner kick was deflected off former United defender Ezra Hendrickson’s foot into the net past Popik. The goal was registered to Hendrickson as an own-goal.

Gros made it 3-1 in the 58th minute when he tapped home a rebound from close range after the overwhelmed Popik could not hold onto Moreno’s shot. Eskandarian put the game away in the 71st minute when he ran onto a Gomez path, after Bobby Boswell had cleared the ball out of the United goal. The stocky striker hammered home his fifth goal of the year with a powerful left-foot shot past Popik.

Moreno left the field to a big ovation with 15 minutes left, when he was replaced by Filomeno, who two minutes later made it 5-1 when he fired in a close shot after a Crew mistake in the box.

In the 79th minute, midfielder Jeff Carroll made his debut for United replacing his brother, Brian.

Notes — Former Maryland goalie Noah Palmer, who joined the Crew last week, sat on the bench. … United next plays the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium on Saturday. … Although last year’s starting keeper, Nick Rimando, is now healthy, Nowak still went with Perkins, who made his 10th consecutive start.

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