NEW YORK – MLS Commissioner Don Garber will be among themany soccer dignitaries in attendance at RFK Stadium on Saturday night for whatwill be Jaime Moreno’s final match in a D.C. United jersey after a 15-year MLS career.
“Major League Soccer wouldn’t be where it is today withoutso many of those special players who helped launch the league and helped usachieve the level of success that we have today,” Garber told MLSsoccer.com.“Certainly, Jaime Moreno is one of those persons.
“We need more players like Jaime Moreno. He was an excitingplayer who played with flair and scored goals. He wore his MLS jersey withpride and helped bring credibility to our league.”
On a personal level, the Commissioner still remembers hisfirst meeting with Moreno at a D.C. United Foundation event soon after beingappointed Commissioner more than 10 years ago.
“I attended with my son, who was about 10 years old at thattime,” Garber recalled. “I’ll never forget Jaime coming over and shaking his handand making him feel special, something that my son still remembers today.“Jaime, albeit a quiet guy who never sought out the fanfare,had a real special way about him that I think added to his appeal in DC andthroughout the league.”
Garber made Moreno one of his two Commissioner selectionsfor the 2010 All-Star Game in Houston, where the MLS All-Stars faced ManchesterUnited. It was the Commissioner’s way of honoring one of the league’s last originalplayers.
Although D.C. United have long been eliminated from thepostseason and Moreno has only one goal in the current campaign, the veteran'sseason may still very well end on a high. He is currently tied with JeffCunningham for the all-time MLS goal scoring lead with 132 goals and could surpassthe FC Dallas forward this weekend.
However, the Moreno goal that stands out for Garber does notcount among those 132. It came in the Eastern Conference Championship againstthe New England Revolution during United’s MLS Cup winning season of 2004.He scored one of the six goals during a riveting 3-3 tie and could have beenthe hero had he converted his PK attempt with a chance to win it in the shootout. DC went on to win the match anyway.
“The league now has a number of special moments that havebeen etched into our history and that game was one of them,” Garber said.“Jaime’s performance stood apart from everyone else on the field and helpedbuild on the legacy of D.C. United.”