When asked about Júnior Moreno, Head Coach Ben Olsen referred to him as the “unsung hero” of this D.C. United squad. The Venezuelan posted his first multi-assist performance against Real Salt Lake in his MLS career.
Moreno partners with Russell Canouse in the defensive midfield, and has helped D.C. United finish with three clean sheets in their first three matches. But on Saturday night, Moreno was able to get more directly involved in the attacking game, bagging two assists in the five goals scored against Real Salt Lake.
His first assist came on the third goal of the night. Moreno was able to strip Real Salt Lake of their possession and work the ball into the box with Luciano Acosta. Wayne Rooney ultimately finished off Moreno’s final pass for his third goal of the night.
On the fifth goal, Moreno took advantage of uncertainty from Real Salt Lake and was able to steal the ball away. Facing two Real Salt Lake defenders, Moreno sent the ball out wide to Ulises Segura, who chipped the ball past goalkeeper Nick Rimando into the back of the net.
“His biggest quality is getting to the ball and breaking things up,” Rooney said after the match. “Tonight the only difference is that he did that a bit higher up. He’s a fantastic player. Since he’s come into the team the second half of last season, he’s been a big part of the team and I’m happy for him.”
Moreno has three assists in three games played for the Black-and-Red this season. While he has often played more of a defensive role, he’s also able to to have a strong impact when he plays higher up the pitch. His versatility and skill is an asset to the D.C. United squad, and in 2019, that has not gone unnoticed.