Moreno voted top forward in MLS poll
In one of the closest 10th Season celebratory polls conducted on MLSnet.com, D.C. United striker Jaime Moreno was selected by fans as the best forward ever to ply his trade in Major League Soccer. Moreno earned 21 percent of the total votes cast in the poll.
The former Bolivian international has been one of the most productive players in MLS since joining the league midway through the inaugural season in 1996. In his 10 seasons, including a one-year stop at the MetroStars in 2003, Moreno has notched 85 goals in 70 assists in just more than 200 games. He has won four MLS Cup championships (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004), a CONCACAF Champions' Cup (1998), an Interamerican Cup (1998) and a U.S. Open Cup (1996).
Moreno's most prolific goal-scoring years were in 1997 and 1998 when he struck for 16 goals each season. He also hit double digits in 1999 (10) and 2000 (12), while his phenomenal performance in 2004 with the Black-and-Red saw him hit for seven goals and add 14 assists, among the tops in the league. He has also already matched that goal output this season in 14 games for D.C.
Grabbing second place in the fan voting was former Columbus Crew targetman Brian McBride with 16 percent. He joined the Columbus Crew before the inaugural season as the first-ever draft pick in the league and the Illinois native went on to score 61 goals in his 161 games for the club. McBride's highest goal total for a single season came in his first when he put 17 balls into the back of the net. After being slowed by injuries in the later years of his MLS career, McBride was back with a vengeance in 2003 when he scored 12 goals before being transferred to Fulham FC of the English Premier League. He will return to Crew Stadium on July 30 to take on the best in MLS when his new club side faces off with the MLS All-Stars.
With 14 percent of the vote, Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. national team standout Landon Donovan took third place. The golden boy of soccer in the USA, he joined the San Jose Earthquakes for the 2001 season on loan from German powerhouse Bayer Leverkusen. His addition helped spark that club to a worst-to-first turnaround when they won their first of two MLS Cups with the California native up top. Donovan captured another title with the Quakes in 2003, scoring four vital goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs en route to the championship. He returned to Leverkusen at the end of the 2004 MLS campaign, only to return to the league just before opening day of the 2005 season when he joined the Galaxy. Donovan has six goals and four assists in 11 games for his second MLS team.
Two of the most dangerous forwards ever to step on the field in MLS share fourth place, FC Dallas' Carlos Ruiz and Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis each garnering 12 percent of the votes. Kreis is the all-time leading goal scorer in MLS with 96 career goals, the most recent of which was a rocket of a free kick that was voted the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week on Wednesday. Kreis needs only four more goals to become the first player ever to strike for 100 in his MLS career.
Ruiz hasn't been in the league as long, but has proven to be just as dangerous as Kreis. The Guatemalan international has 57 MLS goals in only 83 games. His 24 in 2002 paced the Galaxy to their only MLS Cup and he followed that up with 15 goals in 2003 and 11 in 2004. Ruiz has seven goals with FC Dallas this season, but has missed several weeks with a right ankle contusion.
Rounding out the top five is Roy Lassiter, the man Kreis passed for the all-time scoring lead last season. He scored 88 times in his seven years in MLS, including 27 for the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996 and 18 for United in both 1998 and 1999. Other forwards receiving votes were Eric Wynalda (five percent), Taylor Twellman (five percent) and Raul Diaz Arce (two percent).
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.