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Moreno, Payne discuss D.C. United situation

A day after D.C. United confirmed that captain Jaime Moreno, MLS's all-time leading scorer, would not return to the club next season, the Bolivian forward addressed the situation Friday morning after training at RFK Stadium:

How did your conversations with the front office unfold?

"You should ask them. I don't want to get into a controversy. Basically, it was their decision. They knew I wanted to play another year, but this is a business. Unfortunately, the team didn't do good this year so I guess they are looking at better options than me. ... I feel like I didn't have the chance this year. I am definitely disappointed. It's definitely a sad moment to leave D.C. United. It's not the way I pictured it."

How soon do you think you will determine the next step, whether playing or coaching?

"I still want to play in another year so that's what keeps me going. On top of that, we still have games left and a chance to win the U.S. Open Cup. Definitely, I am going to keep working hard, the same way I have the last 20 years of my career. I have got to wait. I have to start making plans because I don't want to wait until the end but hopefully I will know sooner than later."

You had a great preseason but didn't play much in the regular season. What happened?

"The team changed. There were players who didn't play anymore because of injuries and the coach's decision, and you have to respect that. We weren't getting results in the beginning. Nobody thought it was going to be this bad."

Would you consider other teams besides Blooming in your hometown?

"To be honest, I don't want to say no. In my mind, I still want to play. If I say no, it might hit me in the mouth later on. I just want to keep all my doors open, but my priority is Bolivia. It's a very hard decision for me to go back. I was talking with my wife about six months [there] and doing what I have to do here [as a youth coach for United]. I want to take a coaching class and prepare myself the right way. I don't know if that is what I want to do yet, coaching, who knows? There are a lot of opportunities out there."

Would you consider another MLS team?

"It would be very tough. Who is going to take a guy who hasn't played many games? I wouldn't say no, but I just belong to D.C., and to go somewhere else wouldn't be an easy decision. But if it is what I want to play another year, I might consider it."

For comments from United President Kevin Payne.....

Jaime says it was management's decision for him to leave after this season. Is that accurate?

"It's a collective decision that was unanimous. I don't know if he agrees, but management and team management all felt that this was the right thing to do."

Why was it the right thing to do?

"I don't want to get into that. It's time -- that's why."

You saw this coming for a while.....

"It's never easy for a player to end his career, and it's particularly difficult for a player who has been such a great one like Jaime. It's not easy for us and it's not easy for him. And as he points out, he is only ending his career here. We obviously hope that he does well at Blooming, and he knows he has got a role here when he is ready to step into that kind of role."

Looking ahead to next year.....

"Jaime leaving is the last real link to the past. We need players to step up and write a new history. Clearly, we need some pieces. Someone has to answer the call of scoring goals. Whether that's a player that is on the team now or a player we go out and find, that remains to be seen. We need a little more depth in the back. It's a little hard to judge this year. You don't expect to lose your top two left backs [Marc Burch and Rodney Wallace] and your top right back [Bryan Namoff] all in the same year for long stretches of time. We think we are in fine shape on the left side with Burch and Wallace. On the right side, we have got to figure out where Jordan [Graye] is, we've got to figure out Jed Zayner and Devon [McTavish]. And we have got to look at center back. We have Dejan [Jakovic] and Julius [James]. We've got to make some determinations about whether that is going to be the pair as we go forward."

I'm guessing Juan Manuel Pena would not return?

"I wouldn't think so. We'll talk about that with him, but I think Juan is ready to retire. [Carey] Talley, we'll see how the rest of the season goes."

Overall, heading into the offseason.....

"We have a lot of work to do, obviously. We don't really feel the record [3-13-3] is reflective of the way we have played, but regardless, we would be looking to make significant changes. We thought this year was kind of a transitional year. We always assumed that this likely would be Jaime's last year. That's a big hole to fill. You can't really fill it, but you have to find a way."

By Steve Goff  |  August 13, 2010; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  Bolivia , D.C. United  | Tags: D.C. United, Jaime Moreno  
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Next: No change in Bob Bradley status with U.S. team

Comments

After reading this, I'm ready for another parade from Lincoln Park to RFK stadium.

Bring Back Moreno (clap x 6)
Get rid of Kevin (clap x 6)
Who hired Onalfo? (clap x 6)
Give back the armband (clap x 6)

Well, you get the picture.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | August 13, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh boy...can't DCU just get this one right?

Posted by: Reignking | August 13, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"We don't really feel the record [3-13-3] is reflective of the way we have played..." "We need a little more depth in the back. It's a little hard to judge this year."

My god, they really are delusional. Not reflective of the way we've played? WE HAVE FAILED TO SCORE A GOAL IN 13 OF 19 LEAGUE MATCHES THIS YEAR. We have no creativity going forward and no speed at the back. Our best player is a 17 year old high schooler. Unbelievable blinders on in the FO.

Posted by: the_slammer | August 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Funny, doesn't "it's time" also apply to the end of the Payne/Kasper regime?

Posted by: ZidVicious | August 13, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Cuz its gone daddy gone,
The love is gone.
Cuz its gone daddy gone,
The love is gone.
Cuz its gone daddy gone,
The love is gone.
Cuz its gone daddy gone,
The love is gone away.

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | August 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Would it help if one of us put up a notice on Craigslist for a new management team???

Smoley Hokes....

Posted by: Juan-John1 | August 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: the_slammer


What do you want him to say to a reporter?

"We suck, the players are all terrible and the coaching was sub-par. Our scouting ability has fallen to nil, our ticketing operation is all high, and our stadium is only slightly less dangerous than Somalia during happy hour..."


Which team executive does that, in any sport?

Posted by: JkR- | August 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I dont think even as big a Jaime fan as myself can argue that his time has come and gone, but as always, the way it was handled......Ugh.

I guess it's never easy saying goodbye to a legend but Payne's comments leave me cold and sick to my stomach.

Love you Jaime, thanks for the best decade and a half of soccer I'll ever have as a fan. Please don't let Kevin Payne/etc ruin your memories, no matter how hard he tries, he can never ruin ours.

Posted by: KThashi | August 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

What do you want him to say to a reporter?

"We suck, the players are all terrible and the coaching was sub-par. Our scouting ability has fallen to nil, our ticketing operation is all high, and our stadium is only slightly less dangerous than Somalia during happy hour..."


Which team executive does that, in any sport?

------------------------------------

Considering his incredibly critical comments of the heart and commitment of the team last week coupled with his continuing assertion that no one deserves to be blamed (even though he's canned Curt and pushed Jaime out the door), I don't see why some honesty about the true situation of the team and the role he and Dave Kasper have played in creating this horrific mess is not warranted.

Basically Kevin's hanging onto a thread because Will can't afford to cut him loose and start from scratch even though that's what this organization desperately needs.

Posted by: beach3 | August 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I think the buck stops with the management on many things -- stadium, performance, personnel, etc. . . . BUT

this is a no win for them. Ultimately an Icon himself has to know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em, because when he has to be told it never ends gracefully. Anyone who cared at the time will not long forgot the sorry sight of the immortal Johnny U -- the best who ever lived -- in a frikkin San Diego Chargers uniform.

There is a lotta love for #99. I gotta believe some trusted one(s) in his inner circle should be providing some better counsel here.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 13, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Jaime is not the player he was, and if DCU is *really* going to rebuild, it does mean parting ways. It is too bad that it happened this way, because Jaime is still our favorite player. (If I ever get around to getting my wife a jersey, 99 is the only acceptable number.)

Posted by: glfrazier | August 13, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Payne: "You don't expect to lose your top two left backs [Marc Burch and Rodney Wallace] and your top right back [Bryan Namoff] all in the same year for a long stretches of time."

Bryan Namoff missed the last month of the season last year with concussion problems. His problems persisted through the offseason and he never seemed to be close to returning. So the team knew about him. Instead of shoring up the position they dumped his replacement Lawson Vaughn.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 13, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm reading this all wrong but it sure looks like they are throwing out the best scorer in league history and then trying to make it look like a mutual decision when Jaime thinks otherwise. I don't know, why not play Jaime more this year? It's not like he can score LESS than the guys who are in there now. If you want to get rid of a club legend like Jaime you let him play out his season and then you can prove he's not up to par anymore by showing his decreased production. You don't throw him on the bench when he did well in the pre-season and then say "You're gone next year because you aren't producing." It just looks classless and bush league the way they're handling this.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | August 13, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

This is sad. I agree with OWNTF that some blame has to be placed on the legend to know when it's time.

I'll give management some due. Our backline has been hit by injuries and when healthy it could be a building block. Though, the front office has completely dropped the ball on our terrible offense

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 13, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Same era as Johnny U -- Willy Mays falling down in the World Series as a Met -- 72? 73? On the other hand, the Mets had a secure position for Mays in retirement.

Maybe Bruce Arena and AEG have a place for #99 in LA. Future looks a little brighter out there for dang sure.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 13, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Namoff's replacement was supposed to be Lawson Vaughn???? Seriously? Did you see any of the matches he played in last year? He makes Jordan Graye look like Roberto Carlos.

Posted by: fedssocr | August 13, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

What OWNTF said...

When I moved to DC 11 years ago, Jaime helped make me an instant DCU fan, love the guy, but it really is time for him to go. So I am ready to draw and quarter (figuratively, of course) KP for lots of things, but this...not so much. I just hope they (Jaime and the FO) can find a more amicable end than this indicates.

Posted by: assocfoot | August 13, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

On a roster full of ineffective players, why single out Jaime? If he wants to stay, throw out a $$ number consistent with his expected production, and let him decide. He wants to play. Fans cheer for him when he's on the pitch. I don't see a need to single out Jaime because the team has 13 losses and has been shut out 13 times.

Cap space and roster spots are precious commodities in MLS, but Jaime brings a lot more quality as a reserve than many of the reserves who have (expensively) backed him up over the past 3+ years.

Posted by: DWE4 | August 13, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

You really think Jaime should return next year? That's crazy talk. Hey, CGomez is still playing, too, let's give him a call.

Posted by: Reignking | August 13, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@ DWE4 - I would have agreed about the "more quality as a reserve" in any of the past few seasons in which Jaime has played more in the super-sub/reserve role, but this year there seems to have been a significant drop off when he enters the game. I think that may have more to do with the players around him, but some of it surely has to do with his age. I'm sure this decision was not easy for KP to make, and its unfortunate that Jaime doesn't agree with it, but its the right thing for the club.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 13, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@VTUnited

Couldn't agree more. It just seems to me that in the 75th minute of the game with a big ZERO up on the scoreboard, Jaime has done more in 15 minutes to rattle defenses than Allsop or Christman or Emilio or the schlubs of seasons past. If you held the pursestrings of the DCU salary cap, would you pay him $80k? $40k? Probably not $250k. Then, does he take less to stay for one more year knowing that the money he gave up goes in search of the next Jaime Moreno?

I agree that Jaime is old and slow. It's just that no one gave him 2 options.

Posted by: DWE4 | August 13, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Shaq's timeless insight "Thirty-six ain't twenty-six, bro."
Granted, Jaime deserves a better send off and more of a reward from the FO for his dedication and contribution to the club, but face it. Jaime is not part of the solution for next year.

Posted by: rcdwriting | August 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Granted, Jaime deserves a better send off and more of a reward from the FO for his dedication and contribution to the club, but face it. Jaime is not part of the solution for next year.

Posted by: rcdwriting
--------------------------

He's deserves a better send off than what? We've haven't seen what his send off will be. I'd be stunned if the club doesn't do something special for him.

I do agree that it's time for Jaime to go, though. I'm couldn't possibly be a bigger fan of his, but the club needs to turn the page.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | August 13, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Love you, Jaime but....

This should have happened two years ago.

Of course, Payne and the FO made a botch of it. That is what DCU does but at least the rebuilding will begin in earnest.

Perkins, you are next out the door and no, we won't retire anything but our memories of your incompetence.

Posted by: Ken_Davis1 | August 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

My problem is not with Jaime going -- it's probably time to hang up the boots -- but with Kevin Payne's comments. Maybe the guy just doesn't know how to say things so he doesn't sound like the biggest jerk around.

What would have been wrong with: As much as Jaime has achieved and given to this club, for which we will be forever greatful, management believes that our limited funds need to be invested in the future.

Sounds better than "It's time -- that's why."

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | August 13, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Again, if the plan is to alienate fans you're doing a great job Kevin Payne. If it really is a conspiracy to make the imminent move to Baltimore less controversial your doing a terrible job quelling speculation.

I know, I know, us fans don't know anything. You're arrogance is starting to hurt people in your own organization and making guys like me hate your guts Kevvy boy.

You may not think that matters much, but it doesn't provoke me to come out to more games if I'm feeling like you're running DC United into the ground. I just don't have the cash flow to throw it away on an organization that has completely lost the plot.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 13, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@DWE4 You don't know that Jaime wasn't given two options. We just know the result.

This is a sad day, but one that has to happen. Jaime, you've been amazing to watch over the past few years that I've been coming to DC United games. I hope the next twenty years are even better for you.

As for the team, this loss might be what we really needed. There should be nobody who's safe on our roster, not Tino, not Pontius, not Perkins, nobody. The team needs to be cleaned out, including those in the FO. I'm not saying fire everyone, I'm saying everyone needs to do more to earn their slot on United's bench next year.

Posted by: bspence11 | August 13, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

not to bring up Baltimore, but dadryan's comment got me thinking about it again.

United in baltimore is going to flop. they may not lose as much money as they are now, but I don't see it as the success for the club everyone thinks it is going to be. To judge baltimore's interest in soccer because of a few high profile friendlies is ludicrous.

lets have a few games there against RSL or Dallas and see how many fans show up.

Posted by: torrey151 | August 13, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"at least the rebuilding will begin in earnest."

too bad we have been rebuilding for two or three years now, and Kasper keeps bringing in guys who can't cut it for more than a season.

Posted by: joe_hill | August 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, who would've ever thought that it's gotten to the point where it seems DC United is actually run worse than the Baltimore Orioles.

Payne and Kasper are really starting to wear out their welcome.

Seriously, how bad of a franchise have you become when you're run worse than the O's?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | August 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | August 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the criticism of Payne on this one. Does anyone really think Moreno would contribute much for DCU next year? It's never easy to ease a legend out the door.

Posted by: Senor_Funk | August 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

fedsoccer,

Payne was claiming that Namoff's absence surprised the front office but that's a load of BS. Vaughn was Namoff's primary backup and was let go in the offseason with no replacement for the position.

We've seen a bunch of different players struggle at that position all year and Vaughn would probably have been more steady there. In our opener, Simms played there and got hurt before halftime. Since then we've used James, Talley, McTavish, and Graye in the position (I think we may have even given Najar a brief stint there).

Jordan Graye may develop into a good right back but he is not there yet and has cost us some bad goals this year. McTavish is a useful bench player that can fill in at several positions but is not really good enough to be a starter anywhere. Talley is too old and slow to play a position requiring speed and James is also better suited to be a central defender.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 13, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Jaime's Facebook announcement indicated he wanted to head South LAST offseason. He's obviously disappointed because DCU prevented that, and halfway through this season are easing him out. It also explains why Jaime's been mailing it in this season.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"I don't want to get into that. It's time -- that's why."

This guy is a joke. It's time? Who the heck does he think he is? It's not like all the stupid big-money unknowns he's brought in have paned out. With the exception of Emilio, how many of the imports have played well? All have been high priced bursts.

When your highest scorer is a 17-year old with 3 freaking goals, how can you say the top scorer in league's history (even if he's 100 years old) can't play for your team? What are we playing for? A championship next year? Give me a break. For all Jaime has done and meant to this club, these moronic front office are going to tarnish it. Even if you bring him in to play 30 minutes off the bench, that's a legit threat opposing teams have to worry about. And the veteran leadership has to be worth way more than they pay bursts like Pena.

Posted by: tundey | August 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

There are two issues here:

1. How Moreno's departure/retirement has been handled. Frankly, I can't fault the club. The best way for the club to avoid bad press on this is to say NOTHING and then wait until the new coach comes in and Jaime is gently tossed in the trash bin during the offseason when there is little focus on the team. By announcing now, there is an opportunity to honor him at games and on the field and by other sides. What's wrong with that?

And let's face it--I love Moreno, love what he has done on the field and the class that he's provided this franchise--and his retirement is at least one year too late. He plays with heart and class. But he's not a great finisher (despite the goal record), isn't fast (on a team that has little speed). I love that he refuses to quit. But this reminds me of the Marco situation where he overstayed his career by a couple of years. If this decision was based solely on performance on the field (no how he scares opposing sides but: goals scored and assists) than he career would have been over a year ago, maybe sooner. And it hurts me to say that. This FO hasn't gotten a lot right this year, but I think they handled this situation well--they made it clear in the offseason that while he'd be competing, he was taking a pay cut b/c he was going to see reduced PT and he was asked last season to think about the end of his career--was it time or not. It's always nice to think that our heroes know when to hang it up. But part of the reason they're our heroes is b/c they don't know the game is lost--and so they don't quit, keep trying and pull it out of the fire. They refuse to recognize they've lost a step or more and still keep trying.

2. Yeah, the FO has missed a lot this year. But Payne mentioned early in the Goff piece that someone needs to score goals and he's mentioned that repeatedly. And let's face it--our defense has been decimated this year due to injuries--none of our best years under Nowak did we see backline injuries to regulars like we've seen this year. That doesn't explain everything, only that we didn't add the talent we should have, brought some guys back (like Jaime, definitely Pena) that probably should have retired, brought in some guys (like Allsop) that didn't work out, suffered a lot of injuries and then no-one demonstrated they were a finisher.

Posted by: JoeW1 | August 13, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Jaime could indeed have been useful this year. The scenario would be United ahead 1-0 at the half. Jaime comes in at 60' to slow the game down, maintain possession, and distribute in a way that frustrates an opponent relying on a fast counterattack. Of course the key to this tactic is to actually be ahead by a goal, which in turn would require you to actually score a goal. So this didn't work out for Jaime, who unfortunately is too slow now to be of much use when the team is chasing. The inability of this team to score killed Jaime's season.

That said, what a great man No. 99 is.

Posted by: dccal | August 13, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What JoeW1 said. I think Moreno should have retired after last year, and I think the FO handled the issue correctly. Now Jaime can be honored at matches around the country. Bruce already started it by naming him to the MLS All Star team for a cameo appearance, even before the announcement that he would hang 'em up at the end of the season.

Posted by: b18bolo | August 13, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Payne and Kasper are making a mess of this whole situation, just like they have combined to mess up the entire club. The high road would have been to offer Jaime the chance to be traded to a contender to finish his career on a high note. I think Bruce would have welcomed him to the Galaxy as some insurance off the bench. Payne and Kasper for this, and their many other blunders over the years, need to go. Jaime deserved better than this carnival of blunders that the team has sunk into.

Posted by: Verdeball | August 13, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking

That was exactly my thought! Dear God! We've pissed off Moreno? Moreno? This FO doesn't deserve to make the playoffs, it deserves to go to Hell.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | August 13, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"We don't really feel the record [3-13-3] is reflective of the way we have played"

My thoughts too. They should be 0-19-0.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | August 13, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The conspiracy nut in me thinks this has a lot to do with attendance numbers.

Posted by: Gavinmgraham | August 13, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The conspiracy nut in me thinks this has a lot to do with attendance numbers.

Posted by: Gavinmgraham | August 13, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The conspiracy nut in me thinks this has a lot to do with attendance numbers.

Posted by: Gavinmgraham | August 13, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the trip post. My Blackberry is acting up.

Posted by: Gavinmgraham | August 13, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear the FO has been rudderless under the current structure. Remember, years ago, when Payne had Kasper's job and our owner was on a mountain in Colorado, KP was actually quite good at GM duties, although he always placed foot in mouth.

I was told last winter by a source in the FO that the team was going toward youth during the offseason. What happened to that plan? Someone interfered and brought back Moreno, the ghost of Emilio, Perkins, and Allsopp. I hope they are now all on the same, youth-oriented page.

Oh, and lets' relax about the Moreno brouhaha. He is my favorite DC athlete of the last 15 years, and his feelings are hurt, but we all know he is well past his prime and needs to go. I will be cheering as loudly as anyone when he gets his sendoff.

Posted by: paulkp | August 13, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Someone explain to me who in our front six other than Najar is better than Moreno? Granted, that's faint praise... but it's true. Yes, he's past it, but he still is better than what we have. He should have at least had the option at coming back for a last hurrah next year at a lower salary.

He also should have been on the field more this year, frankly. The only thing he showed when on the field is that, despite obviously being less than his younger self, he still brought composure, technique, and class to a team that completely lacks all three of those traits.

So enough talk of his performance, now let's visit loyalty. There is ALSO the fact that the man has given everything to this club since day one. Since '96. Both on the field and off. Anyone who's had an encounter with him off the field knows he's nothing but a class guy. The longest serving United player ever.

I love Ben, but it's strange to me that he's offered a senior coaching role immediately (first assistant now head coach), and Moreno is told "It's time... that's why" and offered only a youth coaching role. By way of comparison... that's what Maessener and Cooks have done--- anyone who saw them play would say they're HARDLY players of Moreno's stature. So why this tactless push out the door? Payne likes to talk big about United's history, TRADITION, class, trophy mystique, ect. I always thought calls for his ouster were overdone. Well, I stand corrected. This has pushed me over the edge as a fan who's been at RFK since day 1. Kevin... you need to go... "it's time... that's why".

Posted by: harryfuchs | August 14, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Thanks God Moreno is going to Bolivia, he coached my son team years ago and it was a disarter. He was more focus on himself than the players. I don't think he has the attitude needed to coach any team.

DC United make a big mistake not trading him years ago and they try to oversell him like a talisman to sell tickets but the team doesn't need a talisman, it need better player. The reality is taht the soccer in this country is getting better every year and been a good player 15 years ago when you couldn't even find a soccer ball in Walmark is not the same that been a good player now.

Cut with the past and start hiring better players and better coaches. Stop improvising....

Posted by: 7526367 | August 14, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

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