Moreno: Honda Player of Week

D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno
was named Honda Player of the Week by the Professional Soccer Reporters
Association (PSRA) for the week ending April 3, 2004 (Week 1). The Bolivian
turned in a vintage performance and earned Man of the Match honors in
his return to the D.C. United lineup as his goal and assist led his team
to a 2-1 victory over the defending MLS Cup champion San Jose Earthquakes
on Saturday afternoon in a match which marked the official kickoff of
the 2004 Major League Soccer season.

One of MLS’ most prolific goal scorers since the League’s
1996 inaugural season, Moreno’s 72 career goals rank sixth best
all-time in MLS history, just one behind Chicago Fire forward Ante Razov
(Roy Lassiter leads the all-time category with 88 tallies). The veteran’s
197 career points also place him fourth best in the all-time list.

On the day that saw 14-year-old prodigy Freddy Adu make his professional
debut, Moreno made his first appearance for D.C. United following a one-year
stint with the MetroStars. A preseason fixture on United’s roster
but signed just one day before the game, Moreno was the creative force
in attack for the home team, roaming the field in search of the ball and
making his characteristic penetrating dribbling runs.

"Last year was tough with a lot of injuries, so this was good that
I was able to make an impact,” said Moreno after Saturday’s
match. “I know it comes from all the hard work that I've put in
during preseason."

The three-time MLS Cup champion brought the sell-out crowd of 24,603
at RFK Stadium to its feet when he opened the scoring in the 12th minute.
After drawing a foul on the left attacking flank, it was Moreno himself
who nodded home a header that bounced inside the right post off a service
from Earnie Stewart. It was Moreno’s first goal in a United uniform
since June 19, 2002, (a 2-0 home victory vs. Colorado) and his all-time
team-leading 70th career goal for the club.

After San Jose had tied the match on a Ronnie Ekelund penalty kick, it
was Moreno’s vision which helped restore United’s lead in
the 39th minute. The 30-year-old sliced a pass into a seam in the middle
of the San Jose back line which found his strike partner Alecko Eskandarian.
The No. 1 selection of the 2003 SuperDraft beat his defender to the ball
and lofted a left-footed shot inside the far right post for his fourth
career goal as Moreno registered his 53rd career assist.

The Honda Player of the Week award is Moreno’s first since Week
24 of the 1999 season, the year in which he helped United win its League
record third MLS Cup championship. The last D.C. United player to capture
the honor was Eliseo Quintanilla in Week 17 of last season.

Moreno scored just two goals in 11 appearances during an injury-riddled
2003 regular season campaign with the MetroStars, which ended prematurely
following herniated disc surgery on September 2. A D.C. United player
between 1996 and 2002, Moreno was acquired by the MetroStars in a blockbuster
trade with D.C. United on December 23, 2002.

The Honda Player of the Week is selected every week throughout the MLS
regular season by a panel of journalists from the Professional Soccer
Reporters Association (PSRA). The Los Angeles Galaxy duo of Andreas Herzog
and Carlos Ruiz were the runners-up for this week’s award.

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