Moreno preparing to strike
Revolution may need forward against Galaxy
FOXBOROUGH - When Jose Moreno arrived last week from Colombia, the temperature was pushing 75 degrees.
When he took the field Thursday as the Revolution prepared for Saturday night’s game against the Galaxy in Carson, Calif., it was big-coat weather, barely creeping past 40.
Coming off the field, Moreno was shivering just trying to get his words out.
“Es frio,’’ he said.
The process of acquiring the 30-year-old forward on loan from Once Caldas was long and convoluted. The Revolution brass made multiple trips to court him. There were reports that although Moreno was initially excited about joining the team, he had developed some reservations. Then on Feb. 2, once the signing was official, getting him on the field took a while.
“First, it was a lot of paperwork and family issues, but I’m really happy to be here,’’ Moreno said, using teammate Diego Fagundez as a translator. “That’s the most important thing.’’
With his team looking for scoring, coach Jay Heaps is happy to have Moreno on board.
A 180-minute scoring drought to start the season made it easy to wonder whether the Revolution’s revamped roster had enough firepower. Last Saturday, Saer Sene scored their first goal of the season 28 seconds into a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.
Moreno should be something of an answer to the slow offensive start.
In 20 appearances for Once Caldas last year, he had seven goals and four assists. In the last six years, Moreno has played in Ukraine, Argentina, Romania, and Peru, and his reputation has been the same.
“Everywhere I’ve played, every team I’ve played, for they’ve wanted me because I’m a goal scorer,’’ Moreno said. “Obviously, it’s different in Colombia or Europe, but the reality is soccer’s a round ball and 11 players. So, it’s all the same.’’
Moreno’s top priority is getting into game shape. There’s a chance he could see minutes against the Galaxy, but Heaps sounds uncertain. Moreno definitely will be on the field Thursday against FC Dallas.
“It’s been good for him to get here,’’ Heaps said. “He’s starting to train full, he’s starting to get in with the guys, and we’re trying to get him, as quickly as we can, up to game speed and up to game fitness.’’
Moreno said, “I’ve talked to the coach and I’m ready to play. If they need me to play 15 or 20 minutes in Los Angeles, it’s no problem.’’
The Revolution continue to piece together a roster they feel is drastically improved over the one that finished last in the Eastern Conference a year ago.
When they signed 28-year-old Swedish striker Bjorn Runstrom Wednesday, it was another effort to load up on players with scoring power. He trained with the team in Arizona during the preseason, and Heaps said along with adding flexibility as an attacker, Runstrom had no trouble fitting in a locker room with so many new faces.
“You always want to have options up front and you want to have options in the attack,’’ Heaps said. “Bjorn was someone that came into preseason and we got to spend a lot of time with him. He was there for 10 days and he extended his trip longer so we could look at him.
“I like his mind-set, I like the way he was with the guys, and that’s crucial when you’re trying to build something. You don’t want to just have a revolving door. You want to have players that interact well that also jell with the core group of guys that we’ve had since the season started.’’
The Revolution haven’t beaten the Galaxy in Carson since 2008, and are 1-4-1 overall in the last six meetings.
The Galaxy are 1-1 this season, and possess the frightening trio of Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and Robbie Keane.
“I think the most important thing is you have to be very cautious of their dynamic three,’’ Heaps said. “They attack with numbers. They’ve got some of the best attacking players in the league all on one team. They come prepared. So, you have to play your best game to get anything from them.’’
It will be the third road game for the Revolution, who start the season with four of five away from Gillette Stadium.
“It’s tough, there’s no way around it,’’ said Heaps, who is hoping to build on the momentum of the win in the home opener.
But they enter this road game with one more weapon at their disposal.
“Little by little I’m going to progress,’’ Moreno said, echoing Heaps’s thoughts on the team as a whole.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.