The New England Revolution have finally begun the process of solving their issues at forward this week with the acquisition of Colombian target man Jose "Pepe" Moreno. The 30-year old striker joins the Revs on loan after a short stop with Once Caldas, where he scored 7 goals and 4 assists in twenty matches during the second half of 2011.
"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," General Manager Michael Burns said. "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."
Mike Burns isn't the only member of the Revs front office who is amped up for this signing. Jay Heaps and Brian Bilello are obviously excited, having already granted Jose Moreno the number 9 shirt that essentially anoints him as the club's primary goalscorer. The latter also had this to say in a tweet last night:
Reasonable minds are inclined to believe that dubbing this man to be "The Answer" is a tad premature. Moreno, whose full name is Jose Alcides Moreno Mora, has a pretty good track record with Once Caldas, but prior to that, has not been anything close to prolific since 2008, when he struck paydirt 8 times in 15 matches for Steaua Bucharest while on loan. His best years were from 2004-2006 with Millonarios and America de Cali, where he scored a combined 30 goals in 71 games. These numbers earned him a look with the Colombian National Team, making 3 appearances in 2006 with no goals scored.
In the meantime and prior to 2004, however, Moreno made stops at Deportivo Pasto, America de Cali (first stint), Dynamo Kiev, Independiente, America de Cali (again, third time), Juan Aurich, Steaua Bucharest (again), and Atletico Huila. During his tenure at these clubs, according to Wikipedia stats that generally only include league play, Pepe made 118 appearances and scored just 11 goals. These are hardly encouraging numbers, and at this point it seems like awarding him the 9 shirt has more to do with available roster numbers than with his actual output or talent level.
It is important to remember that MLS has a long track record of being a league where players who failed to find success in other competitions were able to carve out successful careers and even become stars on American shores. Luke Rodgers spent most of his career toiling about the English leagues below the Premiership, never quite reaching the heights that made him such a weapon at Shrewsbury Town, but in 2011 took MLS by storm before an injury setback sidelined him for much of the late-season stretch run, for example.
Regardless of Moreno's prospects, the fact remains that Jay Heaps and company must still focus on bringing in a talented forward to partner with Pepe up top, or at the very least provide quality depth in attack. Roster slot 23, though, is now filled, and that in itself is joyful news.