FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Just like most New England Revolution fans, Juan Agudelo scans through the MLS schedule the moment it comes out, circling meetings with the New York Red Bulls.
While it’s all about the rivalry for Revolution supporters – 66 regular-season meetings between the MLS originals and four playoff encounters, all won by the Revs – it’s a bit more personal for Agudelo.
The 23-year-old forward grew up in Barnegat, New Jersey, and was the crown jewel of the Red Bulls’ Academy program when he signed as a 17-year-old in 2010. Agudelo made 33 appearances over parts of three seasons with his hometown team, scoring six goals and adding two assists, all in 2011.
“I always look at the calendar to see when we play my old team,” Agudelo said on Tuesday morning.
There’s no animosity – Agudelo doesn’t have any ill will for his former team – and he still has a few friends on the Red Bulls roster. But every player wants to prove himself in that scenario, and Agudelo will have a bit of extra motivation on Friday night when the Red Bulls visit Gillette Stadium.
“I’ve got a couple friends on that team – Academy kids – so it’s always something to look forward to,” Agudelo said. “But there’s not going to be a lot of friendship talk over there on Friday. We’re just trying to get the win. It’s very important for us to win on Friday.”
An appearance on Friday night would be Agudelo’s fifth against his former team, and through his first four appearances vs. New York he’s recorded one assist without scoring a goal. He’d love nothing more than to bag his first on Friday night and help the Revolution’s attack click into gear with a first victory of 2016.
“It was a similar situation at the beginning of last year and we were able to open the floodgates in about our third or fourth game,” Agudelo said. “We’re just looking forward for this next game and I believe that this will be it, because we’re playing at home and we’re sharpening things up in practice.
“I think we’re going to pull through this Friday.”