Not only did an undermanned New York beat the Galaxy, starlet Juan Agudelo made a return from injury as a substitute.CARSON, Calif. -- Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo returned to action Saturday for the first time in a month, making a brief cameo at the end of New York’s 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy. Agudelo tore the meniscus in his left knee in the U.S. U-23 national team’s 6-0 victory over Cuba in Olympic qualifying March 22.
“I felt good. I was a little bit winded, doing sprints back and forth and defending and trying to hold the ball up top,” Agudelo said, “But it felt good to be back.”
In fact, Agudelo said his 19-year-old knee feels “brand-new” and “actually better than my good knee.” The most difficult part of the layoff was the drudgery of rehab work.
“It was just hard mentally because it was stuff you don’t really enjoy doing, but you have to do it,” Agudelo said. “I’m glad I’m over it.”
Agudelo’s return comes at a welcome time for the Red Bulls, who on Saturday were missing six regular starters through either injury or suspension.
New York coach Hans Backe said Agudelo’s return would be helpful for depth, but begged off when asked to judge his performance.
“Oh, it’s too short time he played,” Backe said. “He’s been away a long, long time. He played wide left for not many minutes, so I can’t really judge him today.
“Thierry [Henry]’s out two or three weeks, and as everyone knows we didn’t get Luke Rodgers back in, so we have an alternative up front until Thierry’s back.”
Meanwhile, Agudelo said he had gotten over the disappointment of seeing his U-23 teammates fail to qualify for the Olympics, but indicated it could be a long summer in the States.
“It’s going to be tough watching all the Olympic commercials this summer,” Agudelo said.
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