MLS Warhorses Hanging ’Em Up: Moreno, Brown, Klein, Lewis

We’re getting a steady stream of late-season retirement news this week, as we continue to witness the end of an era in Major League Soccer following the announcements of Cint Mathis, Mike Petke and Brian McBride earlier in the year.

Along with veteran LA midfielders Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis, DC United legend Jaime Moreno and Chicago’s charter centerback, C.J. Brown, also declared that this season would be their last.

• Klein, 34, played 13 seasons in MLS, suiting up for Kansas City and Real Salt Lake before joining the Galaxy in 2007. The former Indiana University star earned 22 caps for the U.S. national team, scoring five goals. He holds the MLS records for consecutive starts (118) and appearances (141), and is fifth alltime in games played, with 332.

• The 36-year-old Lewis (whose announcement came a while back but was made official on Wednesday) began his career with San Jose in 1996 and then made the jump to England in ’99, playing with four teams (Fulham , PNE, Leeds, and Derby County) before returning to MLS, and the Galaxy, in 2008. He has 82 caps and 10 goals for the U.S., which he represented at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

• Brown, 35, joined Chicago in 1998, the same year the Fire entered MLS as an expansion team, and he has been the club’s starting centerback ever since. He’s the only remaining original member of the club. Brown has 15 caps for the U.S., and was on the field for two of the more surprising results in U.S. history, the 1-0 win over Argentina in a June 1999 friendly at RFK, and the 2-0 defeat of Germany in the Confederations Cup later that summer.

• Moreno, a 36-year-old striker from Bolivia, is the last remaining MLS original in the league. (McBride and Lewis were both part of MLS during its first season, but not continuously to the present day.) He’s also Major League Soccer’s alltime leading scorer, with 132 career goals. Jeff Cunningham of Dallas equaled Moreno’s total recently, and both men will look to increase their totals this weekend.

In addition to his career-goals record, Moreno has four MLS Cups and five Best XI selections to his name. He’s been a cornerstone of the DC franchise, the most successful team in MLS history.

All of these players have been pivotal builders and sustainers of the league, which was a far different place when they began playing in it. There were no Beckhams and Henrys back then—and no Andy Najars and Tim Reams, either.

But now, thanks to players like these outgoing veterans, MLS is a thriving league with big-name foreign stars and promising youngsters alike—and three new teams set to join the fold in the next two years.