Moreno primary for VEN piece

Júnior Moreno features for Venezuela in tonight's friendly against Columbia

Júnior Moreno will make his 20th career appearance for the Venezuelan national team tonight as they travel to Tampa Bay to face Columbia for an international friendly at Raymond James Stadium. Since joining the Black-and-Red, Moreno has established himself as Ben Olsen’s first-choice central midfielder.  

Prior to arriving in the district, Moreno played for Deportivo Lara and Zulia FC in the Venezuelan first tier. The midfielder made a combined 72 appearances for the two sides, recording three goals and five assists from 2015-2017. The Venezuelan joined D.C. United prior to the 2018 season and immediately made an impression with his precise passing and ability to disrupt the opposition in the middle of the park.  

Moreno has appeared in 17 matches (1,381 minutes played) for the Venezuelan national team since first being called up in 2017. The San Cristobal native has scored a goal and assisted twice for La Vinotinto. Moreno also scored in an international friendly against Ecuador in the 43rd minute on June 29, 2017 during a 1-1 draw. 

 Moreno made his debut for the Black-and-Red in the 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC on opening day of the 2018 season. Since arriving in the nation’s capital, the 26-year-old has continued to provide defensive stability and a high work rate into D.C. United’s system, which aids his team in keeping possession and allows for the more attack-minded players to focus on their duties in the final third. Moreno finished the season with the second-highest passing accuracy on the team while creating 10 chances and providing two assists. Defensively, Moreno showed a knack for recovering the ball as he won back possession for United 136 times.  

During the 2019 season, Moreno has continued to be the engine that keeps D.C. United ticking. He has made 25 appearances so far this season and has once again been imposing with the ball at his feet. Currently, Moreno has attempted the most passes on the team (1,460), while maintaining the best passing accuracy (88.29) and recording three assists in the process. Moreno has also improved with his defensive duties as he has already surpassed his 2018 totals in every defensive category and it has not gone unnoticed by head coach Ben Olsen.

“I’ve said this all year, that he’s been a guy behind the scenes who goes about his business each weekend," Head coach Ben Olsen said in April. "He has a great pulse in there, he calms us down, connects passes, really reads the game defensively very well.  He’s a huge piece of the puzzle right now."  

Júnior Moreno seems to have formed a solid partnership with new signing Felipe Martins as the duo has started the last four matches alongside each other. Moreno has become an important addition for D.C. United as he looks to play a key role in the midfield for the Black-and-Red for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.