HARRISON, N.J. – After days and weeks of receiving bad news in terms of the health of their players, the New York Red Bulls got something positive on the injury front on Thursday.
Juan Agudelo returned to the practice field for the injury-plagued Red Bulls during their morning training session at Red Bull Arena, running through mostly fitness and agility drills off to the side while the rest of the team took part in drills and a scrimmage on the field.
It was the first time Agudelo stepped onto the field since he tore a meniscus in his left knee in early March while with the US Under-23 men’s national team at Olympic qualifying.
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“It felt good,” Agudelo told reporters after a practice in which he was noticeably happy. “Felt like the Avatar movie when the guy runs as an avatar. It felt good to be on the field and to actually see the ball rolling around and actually get it on my feet.”
If Agudelo passes the tests the Red Bulls put him through in the coming week and can avoid picking up any subsequent injuries, the US national team forward could resume being a part of New York’s game-day rosters in the near future.
“If he responds well, next week he should probably be ready to join in for the daily sessions,” head coach Hans Backe. “If he can train well for seven to 10 days, he should be able to start on the bench and get minutes coming on.
Wilman Conde also ran around the field during the practice session with a team trainer, but Backe said the center back’s timetable for recovery is still three to four weeks.
Solli questionable vs. Revolution
The news was less rosy for right back Jan Gunnar Solli, who did not partake in Wednesday’s session thanks to a lingering toe injury he sustained in last weekend’s loss to D.C. United.
Backe said the Norwegian received an injection in the toe on Wednesday and the team will test him on Friday to see if he’ll be available on Saturday vs. New England (3:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
Brandon Barklage filled in at right back with the first team during Wednesday’s scrimmage instead of Jonathan Borrajo, and Backe said it is likely the former United midfielder will be given the nod should Solli not be deemed healthy enough to play.
“He is probably the first choice [backup], has some experience from the league, very composed,” said Backe. “I think that’s probably the best option for us.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.