FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Juan Agudelo’s much-anticipated return was worth the wait.
Making his first appearance since mid-June after missing eight games with a right knee sprain, Agudelo marked his return to the New England Revolution’s starting lineup with an audacious goal in Saturday night’s 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire.
Racing onto Chris Tierney’s long pass in the 54th minute, Agudelo cleverly used the outside of his heel to flick the ball over charging Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and despite Bakary Soumare’s best efforts to backtrack, the ball crept over the line to complete the remarkable move.
“I just thought the ball slowed down a little bit and it was just instinct,” said Agudelo. “Maybe a little South American swag, I don’t know. But I’m so happy it went in.”
Agudelo’s goal snapped a lengthy scoreless run for the Revs which dated back to the 2-1 win over D.C. United on July 27, and his bold chip was precisely the kind of inventive spark required to break through. Prior to Agudelo’s dose of inspiration, the Revs had struggled to turn their huge edge in possession into clear-cut scoring chances.
“It was a great goal and that’s what he brings,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis, who made three saves to keep a clean sheet in his first league appearance since the March 23 home opener. “He brings that little bit that you need. You can see why the Premier League is asking for him.”
Agudelo’s jubilant celebration – jersey over his head, sprinting toward the corner flag – showed just what it meant to the young forward to be back scoring goals. He now has four in six appearances (five starts) with the Revs.
And to score this particular goal on his return, against his close friend Johnson, was extra special.
“I know Sean from the national team; he’s my good friend and we were kind of bantering before the game,” Agudelo said. “I think I got the last laugh.”