New England Revolution set to do battle once again without injured Juan Agudelo
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo will definitely miss his second consecutive match with a right knee sprain when San Jose visits on Saturday night (7:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live). The exact time frame of his return, however, remains uncertain.
Agudelo suffered the injury in the waning stages of the Revolution's 3-1 defeat at D.C. United in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup last Wednesday. The non-contact knock kept him out of the 1-1 draw at Chivas USA last weekend.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps did not place any sort of timetable on Agudelo's return, but he did note that he was still “in the treatment phase.”
“He's got a sprained knee,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Right now, he's in the treatment room, getting sorted. We have to manage him over the next [few] days, week and see how he recovers.”
Agudelo's knee problem leaves Heaps with a selection problem for the lone striker berth. Jerry Bengtson earned the starting nod against Chivas USA, but Chad Barrett climbed off the bench to grab the late equalizer in that affair. Bengtson's recent barren run in front of goal could open the door for Barrett or Dimitry Imbongo to push him out of the side.
Kevin Alston will hope to return to the lineup at some point, but this match will come too soon for him after he returned to full training this week after getting the all-clear following his battle with Leukemia. Alston and Heaps politely declined comment on his current status, but the versatile fullback remains on the Disabled List for the moment.
Heaps faces few other fitness issues ahead of the Earthquakes' visit, but he will expect to see an improved display from his players after watching the recent run of fine form dissipate over the past few weeks.
San Jose suffered a 3-2 defeat to Chicago on Wednesday night, but the Earthquakes still pose their typical threats – diligence all over the field to win first and second balls plus threatening work in the wide areas and up front – ahead of a match where the Revs would like to slide back on track.
“You have to be prepared for what they do, but, for me, this week is about what we can do well, the things we're good at, things we need to take advantage of when we're playing against not just San Jose, but any team,” Heaps said.