FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Every passing week presents an all-too-familiar hurdle for Juan Agudelo to clear. In a bid to end his ongoing battle with the treatment table, the New England Revolution forward decided to adopt a new tactic to aid his efforts to obtain and retain fitness through the waning stages of the season.
Agudelo said he has started to practice yoga in a bid to improve his flexibility and ward off the recurring hamstring strain that kept him out of Saturday's 2-1 victory over D.C. United.
“It is a little bit frustrating,” Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com. “I'm trying to do everything I can to stay healthy for the rest of the season. I'm joining yoga classes now. We'll see what that does.”
Additional rest has already helped the cause, according to Agudelo. Revolution coach Jay Heaps omitted him from the matchday squad against United after Agudelo said he felt tightness in his balky right hamstring during his previous substitute appearance at Chicago.
Heaps welcomed him back to the training field on Wednesday as the future Stoke City striker reaped the benefits of the decision to take a few days off to rest his injury.
“I think it was critical,” Heaps said. “Juan would step on the field and play any time he can. He's a competitor. He wants to play. Sometimes, it's the training staff that has to manage that and mitigate that. I think now he's back and he's feeling really good.”
Whether the extra rest and the focus on flexibility will permit Agudelo to feature at some stage against Houston on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) remains uncertain. Agudelo and Heaps both expressed hope that the influential striker could feature at some stage, but the decision will ultimately hinge on how he responds later in the week.
“We still have two more training sessions to go,” Agudelo said. “If everything goes well, hopefully, I'm in the 18 and I'm able to help my team there. It was tough watching our team go down in the first half, but it was awesome to see our team come back in the last game.”