WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jaime Moreno hasn’t played quite as many minutes as he’d have liked this year, but his face is cropping up everywhere in the lead-up to D.C. United’s season finale this Saturday. It will be his last match in the Black-and-Red uniform he’s worn for most of the past 15 years.
Despite all his accomplishments – and the quiet, smoldering intensity that helped him achieve them – the Bolivian legend isn’t taking himself too seriously. All month United have celebrated his career with a variety of tributes and this week he’s understandably the center of attention for fans, journalists and club employees. But he opened a Wednesday morning interview with MLSsoccer.com on a self-deprecating note.
“I think it’s getting annoying,” Moreno joked. “People are probably bored already, to see my face too many times. But it’s been nice.
“At the same time, it’s kind of sad because some people talk as if I’m dying, you know.”Earlier in the week D.C. unveiled a limited-edition commemorative poster in his honor, which will be handed out to the first 10,000 through the gates at RFK Stadium. Moreno himself has already been directed to snag quite a few extras for his friends and extended family back in Bolivia for when he visits next week.
“It seems nice. I’m going home on Tuesday and they already require a few of those posters,” he explained, “so I hope I get some to take home with me.”
The 2010 season has not played out the way Moreno would have hoped, with the team stuck in last place for most of the year and his own playing opportunities limited. Then his final weeks were marred by the perplexing red card he received against San Jose two weeks ago that sidelined him for one match and made Saturday’s game against Toronto FC that much more meaningful.
“Yeah, it’s been hard, it’s been hard,” he admitted on Wednesday. “Sometimes it’s like you’re going against your luck. But when I look back, I’ve been pretty lucky. I believe that things happen for a reason and whatever the reason was that all this stuff happened this year to me, you’ve got to just take it and move on, and maybe see what I did wrong, where I’ve got to get better.”
United’s captain also admitted that he did not expect his United swan song to arrive this soon, but he sounded serene and at ease as he contemplated his future, which may or may not include one last stint in another club’s colors.
“Definitely it’s a big lesson for me, knowing that I wasn’t prepared, to be honest, for this situation,” he said. “In my mind, I was going to have another year. But I guess I took that for granted and like I said, you learn by mistakes. I’ve got to move on.
“It’s going to be some emotions,” he said of Saturday’s send off, “but at the same time, we just have to remember the good times.”