FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The sight of Juan Agudelo jogging around the practice field on Tuesday morning provided a welcome boost to the New England Revolution ahead of Saturday's all-important clash at Chicago.
Agudelo, who missed Sunday's 4-2 defeat to Montreal with a right hamstring strain, trained off to the side and went through a series of exercises in a bid to recover in time for the visit to Toyota Park.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps said he and the club's medical staff will track Agudelo during the week before determining his status for the encounter.
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“He's progressing with the training staff,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “Day-to-day, they want to see where he is and how far he progresses. It's Tuesday. Hopefully, he's an option for Saturday.”
The next few days will determine whether Agudelo constitutes a reasonable option for the critical meeting between two of the four sides jockeying for the final two Eastern Conference playoff berths. Agudelo's pervasive influence on the team creates some urgency to usher him back into the fold, but Heaps said the club will consider its decision cautiously before rendering its verdict for the weekend.
“That's where the ultimate decision will lie: is it worth it to rush him back for a start, do we bring him off the bench or do we hold him for another week,” Heaps said. “Those are all of the decisions we have to prepare ourselves for over the next couple of days.”
If Agudelo isn't available to feature, then Heaps would likely choose between Jerry Bengtson (upon his return from international duty), Charlie Davies, Dimitry Imbongo and Saër Sène to fill the void up front. Imbongo perhaps holds the inside track in that potential scrap after starting in the defeat to the Impact on Sunday.