Every time that I think I have witnessed the last unthinkable, beautiful moment of Jaime Moreno’s glorious career, he comes up with something new and astonishing. Who else in MLS could have pulled off his shoulder fake to force the goalie to drop the ball at his foot? Chris Seitz is a good goalie, but, if he plays for 100 more years, he will never have another mistake like that one. Only Jaime could have made it happen: only Jaime.
The phrase “Only Jaime” is what someone says when shaking their head about amazing moments provided by the greatest player in MLS history. The same phrase should not be the answer to the question, “Who can help D.C. United score a goal?” or "Who can get this United ship turned around?" The first half for D.C. against Philadelphia was just about as bad as it comes. Mistakes on defense, struggling offense, less than maximum energy, you name it. Moreno came on at halftime and the team immediately gained confidence, composure, and an actual chance to win. Jaime did what he could, but he was about the only one. He needs help from some of his friends.
Moreno played the full 90 minutes in the first two games this season for D.C. United. He is not supposed to play every single minute of the season, so coach Onalfo rightly decided to use Jaime as a substitute against Philadelphia. The problem was that for the first 45 minutes it looked like the players on the field were sort of waiting for Moreno to enter and save the day. Moreno can make players better, he always has. However, the other players need to be at there best whether or not #99 is on the field.
Chris Pontius is a budding superstar in MLS. He has a lot of talent, a strong work ethic and a real desire to be a great player. Christian Castillo can provide a flair and creativity on the flanks that is rarely seen in our League. Santino Quaranta has the combination of speed and power that would cause trouble for any defense. These players were not particularly bad against Philadelphia, but they were not who they are supposed to be. They are the main components of United’s attack when Moreno is not on the field and, for D.C. to have success, they need to be at, or at least near, their best.
D.C. United is still looking for an identity. Everybody knows what Jaime has done throughout his career, but this season is different. Moreno will be a major factor in United’s success, but he’s not a 90-minute man every week. Pontius, Castillo, and Quaranta are. Moreno leads by example with a simple approach - work hard and play the way you play. He needs his teammates to do the same.