TORONTO — The spotlight up front for Toronto FC this season is on Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, just as it was on Jermain Defoe and Gilberto last year.
Once again Luke Moore waits patiently in the wings, ready for his close-up.
The former Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City striker may not get the headlines but is a valued member of the MLS squad. And Moore himself, while he shies away from talking to the media, has plenty of self-confidence.
“I don’t know obviously the perception over here but my resume stacks up,” he said in a rare interview earlier this season.
The English striker came to Toronto last May in a deal that sent defender Gale Agbossoumonde to the Colorado Rapids. Agbossoumonde now plays for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the second-tier North American Soccer League.
Despite the star power in Toronto last season, Moore appeared in 27 games (22 starts) and had six goals and four assists despite playing out of position.
“He did a good solid job of it but it’s not necessarily who he is as a player,” coach Greg Vanney acknowledged during the pre-season. “We were asking him a lot to play in the pockets and really his strength is to man up and back into centre backs and hold up the ball and bring people into the play that way.”
Giovinco has taken over the role of playing in the gaps.
“Luke provides us another option as a striker higher up the field in the (penalty) box, around the box and a guy who can play big in the big areas of the field,” Vanney added.
Moore played another six games last season for Chivas USA.
The 29-year-old Moore is likely to see plenty of playing time again this year with Altidore and Giovinco expected to miss games due to international duty. Both the U.S. and Italy have games coming up and the Gold Cup looms this summer.
Moore, whose salary was listed at US$128,333 last season by the MLS Players Union, got a new deal this season. He says money is not the most important thing in his life, thanks to his earlier career which also includes a short stint in Turkey.
“I’m fortunate that I didn’t have to come here and demand a lot of money because I’ve been blessed,” he said.
Moore, who makes his off-season home in Birmingham, savoured the off-season after 18 months of straight football.
While cognizant soccer is a business, Moore says he has enjoyed his time in Toronto.
“Last year I had a smile on my face, to come here and play football,” he said. “There’s nothing worse as a footballer if you’re not enjoying your football. To come here was a breath of fresh air for me.”
Moore was just 19 when he scored a hat trick for Aston Villa against Middlesbrough in 2006. He played for England at the under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels.
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