- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 2, 2007

Throughout his 11-year MLS career, Jaime Moreno has experienced everything from injury-plagued seasons to championship celebrations. Now the D.C. United forward stands just one goal shy of perhaps his greatest achievement: becoming the most prolific scorer in league history.

The 33-year-old from Bolivia tied the league’s all-time record of 108 goals by Jason Kreis with a penalty kick at Toronto FC on May 19 and will look to break it against the Galaxy in Los Angeles tomorrow. But for Moreno, the record is secondary to winning.

“In America, records like this are very important, but in my head what concerns me the most is how the team is doing and can we add to our three-game winning streak,” Moreno said. “If United does well, Jaime Moreno has more chances to score more goals.”

Moreno, who joined United midway through the first MLS season in 1996 and has spent all but one year of his career in the District, is considered by many to be the league’s greatest player. He has won four MLS Cup titles and was named the title game’s MVP in 1997. He also was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI on the league’s 10th anniversary.

Coach Tom Soehn hopes the big goal comes against the Galaxy.

“I’d love to see it happen,” Soehn said. “When Jaime plays well. it’s a good thing for our team, and when the team plays well. it’s good for Jaime.”

Moreno has scored three goals this season — all on penalty kicks — and holds the MLS record for penalty-kick goals with 32, nine more than runner-up Preki.

“Penalties are a gamble,” Moreno said. “I’ve missed some but not many.”

Last week Moreno missed United’s 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo because of international team duty. After a five-year absence, he was called back to Bolivia’s national team and played the first 45 minutes of a 1-1 tie with Ireland at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

For Moreno, the transition back into international play took some adjusting.

“Usually, the young players on the team are shy, but when I joined the team last week I was the shy one,” Moreno said.

Though Moreno remains optimistic that his efforts against Ireland earned him a call-up to the Bolivian national team for the Copa America in Venezuela (June 26 through July 15), he wants to remain focused on his commitment to United.

“There’s always a chance,” he said. “While I was there, I was concentrating on Bolivia. Now my only concern is D.C. United and keeping this winning streak.”

Of all his 108 regular-season goals, the one Moreno remembers best is his 12th-minute goal in the 2004 season-opening 2-1 victory over San Jose at RFK Stadium.

Moreno had just recovered from a career-threatening back injury and was playing the first game in his return to United after a nightmarish season with the then New York/New Jersey MetroStars. His goal stole some of the attention from young teammate Freddy Adu, who was making his MLS debut that day.

As for his next goal, Moreno isn’t too concerned.

“I don’t get desperate about these things,” Moreno said. “If the goal comes, it will come at the right time. If I work hard it will happen.”

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