A New Number 9
- Updated: February 2, 2012
Updated: Februrary 2, 2012, 10:32am ET
After watching two of last year’s biggest signings walk this winter, the Revolution have addressed its paper-thin forward corps by signing Colombian striker Jose “Pepe” Moreno via loan from Once Caldas (Colombia).
The 30-year-old forward, who scored eight goals in 20 games for Once Caldas in 2011, is expected to help fill the crater-sized hole created by the departures of Milton Caraglio and Rajko Lekic. Prior to the loan deal, Zack Schilawski was the only pure striker under contract on the Revolution roster.
“Jose is a player we targeted during a recent scouting trip and we are excited to been able to complete a deal with him to bring him to New England,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a statement. “He’s a strong, target forward who has a lot of experience playing at the highest levels in both South America and Europe. We’re looking forward to his arrival as soon as the Visa process is completed.”
The 6-0, 183 lbs. poacher has played the bulk of his 13-year professional career in Colombia, but has featured for nine different teams since his professional debut in 1999. He kicked off his career with Deportivo Pasto, before moving on to America in 2001, the first of three separate stints (2005, 2008) with the popular squad. Moreno’s best streak of success came between 2004-06, when he scored 30 goals in 71 games between America and Millonarios.
His goalscoring exploits carried him beyond Colombia’s borders in 2006, when he went on loan to Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine). During his time in Ukraine, he saw UEFA Champions League action as a late sub in a 4-1 Dynamo Kiev loss to Steaua Bucuresti in 2006. After his loan expired, Moreno moved on to clubs in Argentina (2007), Romania (2008, 2009, 2010) and Peru (2009), but never achieved the same scoring heights seen prior to his move abroad.
He signed with Atletico Huila in 2011, but was quickly sent to Once Caldas before playing a game with the former. His last goal for Once Caldas came during a 1-1 draw against Santa Fe on Dec. 11. He put in a two-goal effort against Boyaca Chico in a 3-1 win on Aug. 28. He is the second Colombian striker set to join MLS this month as Philadelphia is reportedly in contract talks with Itagui Ditaires forward Lionard Pajoy.
With Moreno in the mix, head coach Jay Heaps must now turn his attention to finding a complimentary forward to help steer the attack in the right direction. In the last two seasons, New England has averaged a meager 1.06 goals per game in MLS play and struggled mightily in a one-striker formation last season.
Moreno is the third Colombian player signed by the Revolution in less than a month. On Jan. 9, the team signed midfielder/forward Fernando Cardenas and defender John Lozano, both of America de Cali. Moreno will be officially added to the roster upon receipt of his U.S. P-1 Visa and his International Transfer Certificate.
Per club league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.