’10/23/2010 DC United vs Toronto FC’
courtesy of ‘Paul Frederiksen’
While for most people the arrival of March means looking ahead to whether the Nationals and Orioles will lose 95 or 97 games, for others, it beckons the start of the season for D.C. United, the most successful franchise in Major League Soccer.
Entering their 16th season of play, one of the charter members of the league and four-time MLS champion United have much to look forward to as the 2011 campaign begins on March 19 at RFK Stadium against Columbus. After winning the MLS Supporters’ Shield (given to the team with the best regular season record) in 2006 and 2007, the Black and Red have fallen off the last three seasons, with 10th place finishes in 2008 and 2009, before ultimately bottoming out last year with a 6-20-4 record, settling them firmly in last place.
The excitement for 2011 comes with the first full season under head coach Ben Olsen. After the release of Curt Onalfo as head coach following a 3-12-3 start, Olsen took the reins of United and turned the team around considerably, finishing the season with a still-disappointing 3-8-1 record, but enough of a turnaround was shown that team management felt it appropriate to retain Olsen. Not included in the record was a Cinderella run to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, a tournament open to nearly all American professional, semi-professional, and amateur clubs. Olsen, 33, nicknamed “The General”, had an illustrious playing career for D.C., scoring 29 goals in 221 games for the Black and Red, as well as suiting up for the United States national team 37 times, including seeing action in the 2006 World Cup. Continue reading
For those that don’t follow soccer, it’s hard to put into appropriate terms what Jaime Moreno means to D.C. United and the MLS as a whole. As crucial as Riggins and Sonny Jurgensen are to the Redskins success a generation as ago, Moreno means more than that to United. As important as Ovechkin is to the Caps, or Strasburg to the Nationals, Moreno is all that and more.
Moreno’s contributions to Major League Soccer are on par with Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron’s to baseball. In his 14-year MLS career, he’s the only member of the 100-goal, 100-assist club, and is tied for the all-time lead for goals with 132. He gets a shot at 133 this Saturday, and we’d like to send you and a friend to go see the game. Leave your name in the comments with a valid email address in the appropriate field and we’ll pick at random on Thursday afternoon.
The team has been celebrating Moreno for the last month, and their archive of coverage is deeply impressive. Moreno has been the constant leading presence for the team from its creation through its four MLS Cup Championships and through the denouement of United over the last two years. In many ways, Jaime Moreno is D.C. United, and it’s hard to picture the state of the franchise without him as part.
The team has a number of events planned for Saturday, culminating with a special honoring of Jaime Moreno by the 2011 Season Ticket Holders with all of the earned trophies during Moreno’s career. Moreno is probably the least-celebrated DC star athlete, which is a shame. Get out to RFK on Saturday afternoon and give Moreno the attention he deserves.