If I found a picture—or the artist’s rendition of it to be given out to the first 10,000 faithful at RFK on Saturday—of Jaime Moreno in the dictionary, it would likely have a reference to the synonym, passion.
It’s evidenced even at the end of his career, as he recently served a one-game suspension for contact with a San Jose player. Ironically enough, reading Beau Dure’s book, Long Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer, reminded me of another on-field incident that got Moreno—then wearing one #9 instead of two—suspended.
Not long after Moreno had come to DC United from Middlesbrough in MLS’s inaugural 1995 season, he was ejected for retaliating after the MetroStars’ Nicola Caricola had swung at him. And though this season hasn’t gone as well for him and the team, it will largely be remembered in the same way his stint with the MetroStars was – an aberration.
But in between, the passion mostly manifested itself in many magnificent memories (He has brilliant soccer; I have alliteration.) throughout his 15-year MLS career.
He had an eloquence and a grace about him on the field, and was a kind and patient interview in the locker room after games – win or lose. And he has proven his passion to the Washington, D.C. community in his many off-field endeavors and his newly-announced 99 Dreams, 1 Heart Foundation.
But it was on the field where we commoners saw his passion manifest itself most. So rise up, make some noise and let him hear us one final time. Even though he won’t go out on top with an MLS Cup, as would be ideal, he’ll go out on top in our minds and in our hearts. And if he scores Saturday, all the better. But if he doesn’t, he’s still the greatest player to lace up in MLS.
It is a sad day, but it shouldn’t be one of mourning. It should be a day to recollect on some magnificent memories. I mean, after all, there were more than 100 goals and 100 assists, and many other magic moments in his 15 years. We all have our own memories, and perhaps we’ll have a few more after Saturday. His departure marks the end of an era – for him, for the team, for MLS, and for all of us.
Those of us privileged to call ourselves DC United fans should let him know what he’s meant to all of us. Rise up, make some noise – with our voices, with our drums, horns and with our hearts.
So whatever he decides to do after this, at least it’s on his terms, as it should be.
Jaime Moreno: thanks for the championships, thanks for the goals, the assists, the brilliance, the grace, the passion.
Thanks for the memories.