- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 30, 2008

No player in the history of Major League Soccer has done more damage to the league’s New York franchise than D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno. In 37 games, the Bolivian has amassed 23 goals and 18 assists, helping United own a 27-17-5 all-time record over the New York Red Bulls, who played as the MetroStars until 2006.

The rivalry between D.C. United and New York heats up again Saturday at RFK Stadium. The clubs are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points and in position to claim the two wild-card playoff berths. With only four home games left, the match is important for United, which is also preparing for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final against the Charleston Battery at RFK.

The Red Bulls arrive in town as Moreno closes in on another record.

The 34-year-old, who’s the all-time leading goal scorer in MLS with 121, is now on target to reach the milestone of 100 assists. Moreno has 97 assists and with three more he will be the first player in MLS to claim 100 goals and 100 assists.

“Assists are not the same as scoring, but I guess it all counts and maybe if you look at it a different way it’s something good for the records,” Moreno said.

The closest player to joining Moreno in the 100-100 club is Chivas USA’s Ante Rasov, who has totaled 113 goals and 62 assists.

“Jaime’s a special player,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “He’s been able to adapt his game to his own physique and his experience and makes people around him better. I can’t see why he can’t get 100 assists. He’s got great vision and puts people in good spots.”

Moreno ranks fifth on the all-time assists-list behind Steve Ralston (125), Carlos Valderrama (114), Preki (112) and Marco Etcheverry (101). Only Moreno and Ralston are of a handful of the players who saw action in the league’s inaugural season (1996) and are still playing.

Moreno has showed no signs of slowing down. In United’s last five games, he has three goals and two assists.

“He’s relentless,” Soehn said. “He never lets anything get him down.”

Moreno is having another banner year at United. In 20 games, he has tallied nine goals and eight assists, eclipsing last year’s haul of seven goals and six assists in 21 outings.

“What keeps me going? My family and the fans,” Moreno said. “I always said when I lose that desire for playing soccer I will retire. I know a lot of people keep saying I’m too old and I’ve got to retire, so I’m not going to let that happen yet. They are going to hate it, but they are going to see me for a while.”

Moreno spent a forgotten season playing in New York in 2003, when he was plagued by a career-threatening back injury. He returned to United and picked up where he left off.

Note - Joe Vide’s opening goal in United’s 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Aug. 23 was voted as the league’s goal of the week.

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