FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – He only appeared on the field for the final 30 minutes of play, but Juan Agudelo gave the New England Revolution a much-needed boost on Saturday night as the Revolution drew with Orlando City SC 2-2.
Before he even entered the match he knew where he wanted to get to on the field to help out. His coaches enforced that notion as he was sent on for rookie Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who was making his first career start for New England in place of the injured Charlie Davies.
Just one minute after entering a 1-1 match, Agudelo got deep into the Orlando box and redirected a Kelyn Rowe pass from the right side past Joe Bendik to give the Revs a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute. It was just a matter of getting to the near post, a weak spot the club recognized earlier in the match.
“I realized it in the first half, and the coaches also told me: Get to the near post,” Agudelo said. “I was able to do that, and it was funny because it worked out as soon as I came in.”
Though Agudelo seemed like the likely candidate to start in place of Davies, he is still working his way back from a right hamstring injury that kept him off the field for three straight matches. He was able to put in 55 minutes of work this past Wednesday against the Portland Timbers.
With the quick turnaround and the recent play of Hollinger-Janzen, Revs head coach Jay Heaps made the decision to give the start to the rookie and came away pleased with the efforts of both men on the day.
“The idea was to kind of have Femi go out there, he’s fresh and not coming back from any injury,” Heaps said. “So he was good to go and we were excited to give him the game. He brings a lot of energy and he certainly did that. Juan comes in and I think he had a little edge to him. His first couple of touches were excellent. Apart from the goal, he was all over the place, and dangerous on the last play of the game.”
In the closing moments of the match, after the Revs had conceded a 90th minute equalizer to Orlando, it was Agudelo that nearly bottled two points back for his club, but his pinpoint header hit the crossbar and caromed away as the clocked ticked down to zero.
“With my header, I did the best that I could,” said Agudelo. “That was the highest that I could jump. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a couple of centimeters higher.”