TUCSON, Ariz. – The big names may have been absent for the San Jose Earthquakes as they battled local side FC Tucson to a 1-1 draw at the Kino Sports Complex on Wednesday. But it was a new face who had the most to gain in the Quakes’ first match of the 2012 preseason.
Trialist Tressor Moreno played as a withdrawn forward behind Khari Stephenson for the first 40 minutes of the 110-minute tune-up match. And although the Colombian veteran wasn’t involved in San Jose's only goal, he was a constant presence in the box. He had a near-assist near the end of the first period, delivering the ball to an on-rushing Shea Salinas, whose subsequent shot went wide.
San Jose head coach Frank Yallop is paying special attention to the 33-year-old attacker this preseason, as his experience and pedigree could be a big boost for the Quakes. On Thursday, the team announced it had signed Moreno, who comes with an impressive scoring record over a 13-year professional career, which includes stops in Mexico, Peru, France, Chile and his native Colombia.
He is perhaps best known for four seasons with Mexican Primera División club San Luis, who he led to the knockout rounds of the 2009 Copa Libertadores. He was also part of Colombia's squads at both the 2004 Copa América and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup; los Cafeteros made the semifinals of both tournaments.
Given that Moreno and the rest of the team have only been training for two weeks, Yallop's first concern with the Colombian is not a surprise.
"He's not fit,” he told reporters following Wednesday’s match. “We worked hard yesterday, so our legs weren't really under us yet.”
For Yallop, the challenge with Moreno is getting the established players more used to his style.
"Once we get more savvy on getting him the ball in good spots, I think he's going to help us a lot," he said.
Yallop also singled out Rafael Baca and Salinas – who returns to San Jose this season after a two-year absence – as standouts. Baca scored the only Quakes goal of the match while Salinas had the assist.
San Jose played without a number of their veterans, including goalkeeper Jon Busch, defender Jason Hernandez and forward Steven Lenhart, who were given the day off by the technical staff ahead of Saturday’s match with Sporting Kansas City. Forward Chris Wondolowski was given a few days vacation following his return from US national team camp.