New England Soccer Today

Agudelo: “I Learned So Much From Charlie”

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

While the results haven’t been pretty for the New England Revolution the past few games, one positive has been the play of Juan Agudelo, who has made back-to-back starts for the first time since June. Agudelo took over the starting striker role from Charlie Davies for New England at the beginning of October, a role he started the season in, but had made just spot starts there since March.

“He’s been really good,” said head coach Jay Heaps after Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact. “He’s fully fit, he’s fully strong. I think he’s starting to show another level to his game.”

After a slow start to the season for Agudelo and Davies’ recovery from an early injury, Agudelo was moved to the wing, and later, the bench, while Davies took the starting striker spot and never looked back, scoring nine goals by Aug. 1. Davies, however, hasn’t scored since as the offense slumped, prompting a change to Agudelo, who had scored three times as a sub and in spot starts since August and had recovered from a nagging knee injury.

Though the change up top hasn’t helped the offense find the back of the net yet, chances have been there and Agudelo’s found a way to make his presence felt and stay involved. While Davies had just a combined 28 touches through 144 minutes in his two most recent starts, Agudelo has 95 touches in 180 minutes starting the past two matches.

“He’s done a great job of holding the ball up and getting everyone else involved in the attack,” midfielder Scott Caldwell said of Agudelo’s recent play.

But in addition to holding the ball up well, which has been a strength of Agudelo’s throughout his young career, the 22-year-old striker has used his time out of the starting line-up to add elements of his game, in part by watching the different style Davies’ brings.

“I understood that position a lot more seeing Charlie play and seeing how he stretches the defense,” said Agudelo. “I learned so much from Charlie and I thank him a lot because, you know I feel like I’m the player that I am now because of his positioning and how I’ve watched him while I was on the bench.”

Those changes to his game were something Heaps was looking for to add a different element to his team’s offense.

“I think watching Charlie also helped Juan, in terms of you know Charlie plays it very differently,” said Heaps. “He’s a little bit more of a player who wants to get behind and looking to open defenses, and Juan always wants to hold it. But Juan needs to change the game up a little bit, he can’t always just try to battle the two center backs and not have any deception to get behind or thread it behind. I think you want see Juan adding that to his game.… We’re excited about where he’s going. We’re excited about the matchup of being able to have Juan and Charlie as good players playing off of each other.”

The improved play of Agudelo still hasn’t been enough to ignite the offense, however, and with just one regular season game left, that has to change if the Revolution want to avoid a quick exit from the playoffs.

“I think we’re a very good possession team,” said Agudelo. “But the killer instinct has to be there to shoot the ball when necessary.”

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