FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Juan Agudelo could not explain why he applied a touch of brilliance to New England's 2-0 victory over Chicago on Saturday night.
In his defense, it isn't easy to produce the reasoning behind his audacious flick. Few forwards would even contemplate using the outside of their right foot to flick the ball in midair over an oncoming goalkeeper. Only a handful possess the necessary skill to pull off the trick.
Agudelo did not attempt to justify his decision. He just embraced the outcome.
“I just thought the ball slowed down a little bit,” the Colombia-born Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com. “It was just instinct. Maybe it was a little South American swag, I don't know. I'm just happy it went in.”
Fire defender Bakary Soumare – later ejected after the conclusion of the match for his role in a post-game fracas – nearly denied Agudelo the goal he so richly deserved. Soumare tracked back earnestly when he saw Agudelo lob his 'keeper Sean Johnson and the defender volleyed the ball off the line.
On some nights, Soumare's efforts might have prevented a goal. They did not work on this evening, as assistant referee C.J. Morgante, who was in perfect position, signaled for a goal by sprinting up the sideline.
“I knew it was across the line,” Agudelo said. “I was hoping the refs saw it went across the line,” Agudelo said. “It was an awesome feeling to see the linesman put up his flag to say it was a goal.”
The stellar strike handed Agudelo his 7th goal of the season and provided him with the post-match bragging rights over Johnson, his US national team colleague, with whom Agudelo said he engaged in some playful chatter before the match. Agudelo's contributions on the night – including that delightful chip – provided him with plenty of fodder for the future.
“I know Sean from the national team,” Agudelo said. “He's my good friend. We were bantering a little bit before the game. I think I got the last laugh.”
Kyle McCarthy covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.