FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – At various times during the past two months, the sight of José Moreno training with his New England teammates appeared a prospect too distant or unlikely to imagine.
Those doubts were finally laid to rest on Friday morning as the Colombian veteran went through his paces for the first time as a Revolution player ahead of Saturday's home opener against Portland (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“We're glad he’s here,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “He was in with the group and trained today. He's certainly coming off a little bit of an injury he took before he got here, back in the end of January. We'll make sure we move slowly with him, but he's here, he's happy and he's excited to be here.”
Although Moreno and fellow signing Florian Lechner are now with the club, they may have to wait to make their debut. Heaps said Moreno is still trying to recover his fitness as he recovers from a quadriceps injury, while Lechner watched from the sideline as he waited for final clearance to take the field.
If both players are indeed unavailable for the Timbers' visit, then they would join a fairly lengthy list of absentees.
Benny Feilhaber found himself added to the list of confirmed omissions on Friday. The midfielder sat off to the side in a walking boot as he continues his recovery from a left peroneal strain suffered in last Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Sporting Kansas City.
“It's unfortunate,” Heaps said. “We're making sure Benny heals in the right way. Obviously, when you don't have your full team to choose from, it hurts a little bit as a coach. But, like anything, there's always opportunity in there and there are some guys on our team who are chomping at the bit to get the opportunity. They certainly will this weekend.”
Several places in the starting XI will fall into different hands with Feilhaber, Darrius Barnes (left calf strain), John Lozano (right hip flexor strain) and Stephen McCarthy (suspended) all unavailable.
The prospect of facing an unbeaten Timbers side with a makeshift starting XI isn't a pleasant one, but Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms said he is confident that he and his teammates can pick up the slack and secure their first points of the 2012 campaign.
“We have lots of guys that come here every day and are working hard,” Simms said. “They're ready for the task.”