UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Juan Agudelo spoke to the media on Wednesday as he eyes a potential return to MLS action this weekend, and the New York Red Bulls striker revealed his knee inury dates back further than most people ever expected.
Agudelo said that although he suffered a meniscus tear while with the US Under-23 men’s national team in March, he was actually experiencing discomfort with his left knee months prior while on a training stint with German club VfB Stuttgart.
“When I was in November overseas training over there,” Agudelo told reporters about when the discomfort began. “I guess from the amount of training sessions and since then I’ve had a little pain. I couldn’t bend it all the way, but slowly it was getting worse, and then the one game against Cuba, it kind of just gave out.“
Now back on the training field, Agudelo could make his first appearance for the Red Bulls since the season-opener when they take on LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Saturday (8 pm ET, ESPN, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
Agudelo is being listed as questionable for the match and a huge determining factor on if he travels with the team will come on Thursday, when he is slated to return to full training.
“Mentally, I feel like I can play,” said Agudelo. “The more difficult part is being smart about it. I don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow with the full training session, so I’ll have a better view on it tomorrow.”
Even if Agudelo is deemed ready to play, Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said Tuesday the young striker would not play more than 25 minutes against the Galaxy. Regardless, Agudelo is just happy to be back and on the cusp of playing again.
“Training really felt awesome,” said Agudelo. “It felt like my good knee was worse than my bad knee. It felt like a brand new knee.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.