New England Soccer Today

A Touch of Class

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

In the days leading up to Saturday’s contest in Colorado, Revolution coach Jay Heaps had an idea of how to beat a backline that hadn’t conceded a goal all season. It wasn’t conventional, but it worked to perfection.

Moments before Juan Agudelo put the Revolution up on a well-weighted chip, Heaps told the winger – who was manning the right – and Kelyn Rowe to switch sides to catch the Rapids off guard.

“We like to switch them once in a while,” Heaps told the media after the match, which the Revolution won 2-0. “We felt the matchup with Kelyn on the right and Juan (on the left) was going to be a little bit better as the game went on. So we started opposite (and) as the game went on, and we switched them.”

The tactical change may have set the foundation for the early strike, but it would take more than just smarts to make the switch pay off.

Roaming along the right, Rowe whipped a long diagonal ball to Agudelo right near the left edge of the box. With the ball getting bigger as it approached him, Agudelo knew he could do something with it.

“I saw Kelyn pick his head up,” Agudelo told the media after the match. “He’s a player that has a great foot on him and was able to play in a good long ball.”

From there, the Revolution winger brought it down, and with a defender closing in, lifted his shot out of the reach of Clint Irwin before it kissed the bottom of the bar and fell across the line.

“I was able to take it down and chip it over the keeper,” Agudelo said. “(I’m) just glad I was able to help my team out, because it’s a tough place to play with the altitude.”

But even though the goal greatly benefitted the guests early, Agudelo admitted that it was a satisfying moment for him personally.

“It felt good,” Agudelo said. “(In) my celebration I screamed and I was like, ‘Yes!’ It felt good because I knew how much it meant to the team, and how important it is to get an early goal away.”

On paper, the goal did wonders for a club that hadn’t won in the Centennial state in nearly 13 years. The goal itself, and the manner in which it was orchestrated, was nothing short of remarkable.

Agudelo deftly brought down Rowe’s long pass, keeping the ball right in front of him. A split-second later, he put just enough thrust under his shot to clear Irwin, but not the bar.

“He’s got a great touch out of the air,” Rowe told the media after the match. “You saw it many times when he was here before (in 2013), and you saw it again today, so credit him with a great finish.”

It was the kind of finish that, according to Rowe, Agudelo works on countless times on the training ground, knowing that the technique and precision required to pull off such a shot will come in handy when it really matters.

“He does it all the time in practice,” Rowe said. “He’s just a great player who makes amazing plays and it’s not going to be his last one.”

Leave a Reply