Moreno shines in United win over FCD
WASHINGTON -- Entering Saturday night's meeting with FC Dallas, D.C. United captain and MLS all-time leading scorer Jaime Moreno had appeared in only three of his team's six league matches this season, contributing one assist over a total of 161 minutes played.Outside observers might be forgiven for thinking that the 35-year-old's role had been scaled back in 2009, given the advance of time and the mounting number of hard miles on his odometer.Perhaps it was just pride talking two weeks ago when Moreno calmly asserted that "I'm here to be a starter, that's for sure. If the coach's decision is not to start me, then it's up to him ... but I always have the same mentality. I'm not here to be on the bench."The doubters, if there are any left at this point, will have to wait another week or two.Few thrive on adversity like United's Bolivian marvel and on a night which opened with a commemoration of his historic ascent to triple figures in career goals and assists -- "those moments are special," Moreno said afterward -- he shook off a sore Achilles to roll back the years yet again.Moreno's assured second-half brace guided D.C. to a 2-1 victory against FCD, a result that might've turned out much differently if not for his presence, and provided another reminder of his enduring class."That's the story of Jaime: composure," said longtime teammate Ben Olsen. "He's always made the game look easy. It's a pleasure to be on his team, still, after all these years. He continues to amaze us, and you just don't count him out, you never do. You just don't count him out."United's 2009 squad seems to grow in confidence and fluidity with every passing week and against Dallas the Black-and-Red controlled play from the opening whistle, carving out one scoring opportunity after another and eventually directing 11 shots on goal.But a marking breakdown on a corner kick allowed the visitors to seize an undeserved lead through Andre Rocha after 28 minutes, presenting another unexpected and unwelcome challenge for a club which has repeatedly struggled to lock down opponents at crucial moments."We stayed positive. We came in here at halftime and everything was real positive," said D.C. midfielder Clyde Simms. "We were playing well and we just wanted to keep it going. We knew our chances would continue to come, we just needed to finish them."United's superiority was not vindicated until Moreno victimized the FCD defense in a devastating 10-minute span in the second half. First he snared Bryan Namoff's searching long ball and slipped a left-footed finish past goalkeeper Ray Burse, then he received a canny pass from substitute Christian Gomez before hoodwinking the unfortunate Burse with a subtle chip that sent RFK Stadium's spirited crowd home on cloud nine."Today, where he was honored for 100 and 100, he showed exactly why he's there," said United head coach Tom Soehn. "For me, especially that second goal, the composure to come down the middle and get [Burse] to lay down and chip over him, not too many guys in our league can do that. He's done that for years."Soehn was full of praise for his captain, who has lately put in extra effort on the training ground to haul himself back to 90-minute fitness after several knocks and niggles in the season's early days. But Moreno's match-winning display was only the latest in a string of timely contributions from a variety of United players, the sum of which indicates a team finding its identity as positive results accumulate."You know, there's always room to get better," said Moreno. "We want to maintain that level. I think the last couple of games, we have done that. The team has played really well and we're getting better every game. So I think we're going the right direction, we've just got to keep believing and keep working the same way."