FRISCO, Texas -- The veil of silence may come down soon enough. Jeff Cunningham's self-imposed media silence is expected to continue until he eclipses DC United legend Jaime Moreno and becomes the top goal scorer in MLS history. He only needs two more goals to achieve the feat.
Cunningham’s goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Kansas City gave him 10 on the season and put his career total at 131, just one shy of Moreno, who currently has 132 tallies.
The FCD forward may not be sharing any public thoughts as he approaches the record, but his coach and teammates are not shy about the growing anticipation for the record which could be set as early as this Saturday, when the Chicago Fire visit Pizza Hut Park.
Cunningham has found the back of the net 19 times against the Fire, more than against any other opponent, so there is a strong chance he could at least tie if not go ahead of Moreno this Saturday night in Frisco.
“He’s doing everything right and he’s on the path to do it,” FCD manager Schellas Hyndman said. “Now, as we’re getting closer and closer to it, the pressure is coming up more and more. I was really proud of him the other day when he had an opportunity to hit a shot and laid it off to [Eric] Alexander, who had a better chance. Even though it was saved, it shows a player that’s not selfish.”
Cunningham's teammates share their coach’s sentiment, pointing to the work that the 34-year-old Cunningham puts into his profession.
“That will be very important because it’s a teammate and also because Jeff has worked very hard,” midfielder David Ferreira said.
“I definitely want him to break it. Nothing against Jaime [Moreno], but Jeff works hard,” FCD winger Brek Shea said. “I don’t think a lot of people see that. I think he will break it this year.”
FCD captain Daniel Hernandez has had to contend with Cunningham on the opposite side of the ball for most of his MLS career when the two were members of other MLS clubs. Hernandez's tenure in the league allows him to appreciate the impending achievement that much more.
“I would love to be a part of it as far as being his teammate and being on his side to celebrate. I think it’s a great tribute to him for all the hard work,” Hernandez said. “He and I came in the same year together into the league. So, we have a little history together. I think it would be huge for him and very deserving for him to break that record. Hopefully he can get that done this year.”
FCD broadcaster and front office employee Bobby Rhine also has a pretty unique perspective. Rhine, who played for FCD from 1999 through 2008, was a teammate of Jason Kreis, who held the MLS all-time mark prior to Moreno.
“I think the significant impact of him breaking that record is that he’s doing it in an FC Dallas jersey," Rhine said. "I think everyone knows that he’s a tremendous goal scorer. He has been since the first day he got into Major League Soccer back in 1998 and he’s continued that form.
“It’s especially significant in this year as FC Dallas continues to set records. This would just be another one that would be a tremendous honor for this club.”