A month ago today, the Revolution announced the addition of Colombian striker Jose “Pepe’’ Moreno on loan from his current club, Once Caldas. In the days that followed, the 30-year-old reportedly was experiencing a change of heart.
Several days of silence followed between Moreno and the Revolution. However, after Moreno spoke with general manager Michael Burns, it appears the Revolution will have their new No. 9 after all.
“[Moreno’s] only words were to assure me and to assure the Revolution that he does in fact want to come to the MLS and play for New England,’’ said Burns, moments after speaking with Moreno by phone. “That’s the only assurance he gave us, so we are proceeding and taking his word for that.’’
Moreno’s timeline for joining the Revolution has begun to take shape, but the specific date of his arrival remains unclear.
“Currently Jose is in transit to Bogota to set up his appointment with the US consulate to obtain his visa,’’ said Burns.
According to the GM, Moreno’s contract and the loan agreement with Once Caldas are in place. However, before the striker can be added to the roster, the Revolution also must receive his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and finalize the visa process.
“We’re anticipating receiving the ITC any day,’’ said Burns.“I can’t sit here and say that for sure he’ll be in uniform on March 10th. That’s the hope and the goal. But we do anticipate him being in the US within the next, maximum, 10-to-14 days.’’
Once Moreno, who has played for nine teams in 13 seasons, arrives, the question of how well he’ll fit in a locker room full of new teammates will begin to be answered.
“We don’t hide anything,’’ said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “We’ve been pretty open with the players and where we were with this along the way. We’ve had a lot of closed-door conversations about this as a group. We want to continue to be a tight-knit locker room so these conversations are all above-board. When Jose gets here, the players are going to welcome him.’’
Heaps did say he hopes for Moreno, who is currently recovering from a muscle injury, to arrive as soon as possible.
“We want to get him here so he can assimilate with the group so we can start incorporating him in training, get him fit, and just kind of relax him a little,’’ he said. “It’s been a little bit of an ordeal and we’re not exactly sure why it took this turn but we’ve always expected [Moreno] to be here.’’
Heaps eager to start
The Revolution are off to a 6-0 preseason start under Heaps, who took over for Steve Nicol in November. They play their final preseason game tomorrow when they take on defending MLS champion LA Galaxy for the Desert Diamond Cup in Arizona.
“I’m certainly ready [for the season to start],’’ said Heaps. “I’ve been ready for this for a while. When I was hired, Mike Burns and I basically holed up ourselves in a room to start this process - to really start going through the changes that needed to be made and where we wanted to go.’’
Heaps shed some light on the timetable for roster decisions regarding the trialists in Arizona.
“We’re not just looking at [the trialists in] the games; we’re also looking at them in training.’’ he said. “That’s what’s nice about having them in camp. You also get to see how they interact with the players around them.
“We’re looking at them in a variety of different situations. We are still finding out exactly where we are from a roster standpoint, from an international standpoint, and really [want to] make some educated decisions.
“We’re getting close to those kinds of decisions. Very close.’’