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Jan. 30, 2015 – Revolution acquire Agudelo on free transfer from Stoke City

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The New England Revolution were hoping Juan Agudelo would provide the goal or goals to make the difference if they returned to a final. And Agudelo did just that, scoring twice against FC Dallas in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup. The Revolution had neglected to shore up the defense, though, and so were routed, 4-2, by FC Dallas.

Agudelo scored six goals in the final eight matches (all competitions) last season, also displaying impressive playmaking qualities. Agudelo has yet to fulfill his enormous potential. But his strong finish to the 2016 season, and callup to the U.S. national team, indicates this could be his time.

Below are excerpts of my story from the 2/10/15 editions of The Boston Globe:

Is Agudelo the missing piece?

Revolution hoping goal scorer fills need

The Revolution came close again last year. Five times they have reached the MLS Cup final — and lost. Four of those games, including a 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy in December, were decided after the conclusion of 90 minutes, the Revolution a goal away from victory in regulation time.

Now, with the return of Juan Agudelo, the Revolution have the goal scorer who might, finally, make the difference.

“They came up a tiny bit short,” Agudelo said in a conference call from the team’s training site in Casa Grande, Ariz., last week. “I hope I can help the team any way I can to finish it off this year.”

Agudelo will be able to feed off the playmaking of Lee Nguyen and also provide another outlet for Jermaine Jones’s defense-stretching balls from midfield as the scheme morphs into a 4-3-3 when the Revolution are in possession.

“We feel he brings a lot of things,” coach Jay Heaps said. “On the field, the thing I like most is he’s creative and strong and he has unbelievable feet for a player of his size, and enough pace to get past defenders.

“He’s comfortable with everyone, and that’s half the battle when you bring new players in. We’re very, very fortunate he’s been here before. He’s versatile and aggressive, and one of his strengths is he holds defenders off. We like that type of dynamic play at all three forward positions.”

Agudelo’s combination of size (6 feet 1 inch, 183 pounds), skill, and speed should ramp up the Revolution attack. Those qualities helped Agudelo earn a national team cap when he was 17 – he became the United States’ youngest scorer in a 1-0 win over South Africa in 2010 – and also attracted him to Stoke City in England’s Premier League.

Agudelo, 22, signed a four-year MLS contract, but has not given up his Premier League dream.

The next time Agudelo tries to move overseas, he will likely have made many more international appearances, a requirement for gaining a work permit in the United Kingdom.

“When I was younger, the way I was getting on the national team was not thinking about the national team, [but] focusing on my club, gaining playing time,” Agudelo said. “After that comes, hopefully, getting back to the national team, a step at a time. That’s one of my goals.”

Said Heaps, “When he’s at his best, he should be in the national team camp. Jurgen should be looking at him because of the intangibles he brings, on and off the field.”

“I was following the Revs all year long, and I thought the guys did great, everything they possibly could,” Agudelo said. “Facing a Galaxy team that was very strong, everyone did their job and they just came up a little bit short and were unlucky. Understand this is a very strong team that hasn’t lost too many players, and won games before without me. But I’m willing to work hard and see what I can do to help the team win. And having home-field advantage, that would be key at Gillette Stadium.”

By Frank Dell’Apa Globe Correspondent

TODAY IN NE SOCCER HISTORY

 

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