The New England Revolution's decision to trade for Juan Agudelo was met mostly with support and excitement. Two games in to his New England career, it's proving to look like a bit of a masterstroke. Agudelo has netted in each match, and he's looked dangerous throughout.
Agudelo's talent has always been undeniable, but the difficulty for any player who makes a midseason move is integrating with his teammates. The Revolution squad appears to be responding well to Agudelo's presence in game, but it is with Diego Fagundez in particular that he appears to be forging the closest bond.
"Since I've been here, [Diego]'s been right next to my locker," said Agudelo after Saturday's 2-0 victory over Toronto. "We get along. We have a great partnership so far, and I'm excited to keep working with him."
The partnership nearly paid dividends on a couple of occasions on Saturday night, with Fagundez just a hair away from setting up Agudelo with two easy chances on goal. If not for those vital interventions by Toronto defenders, the Revs could easily have won by four goals.
The on-field chemistry between the two youngsters - remember that Agudelo and Fagundez are only 20 and 18, respectively - results in a system where the players can swap positions almost on a whim. They have already developed an intuitive understanding of each other's intentions, which was heavily on display on Saturday night. Diego lined up on the right side of midfield and Agudelo on the left, but the two frequently switched, creating confusion and mismatches in the Toronto defense.
Later, with Agudelo moved to the role of a lone striker, the chemistry was still evident. They were on the same page on breakaways, and Fagundez knew when to stay wide or cut in to support his fellow attacker. For them, communication is the key, and it's been very easy so far.
"I think it all starts because both [Juan Agudelo and I] speak Spanish," said Fagundez. "The other thing is when we work together we try to communicate with each other, so I think that's why we are going positive now. We just have to keep talking and communicating and then move forward."
Of course, chemistry with just one teammate is never going to be enough for Agudelo to integrate well with the Revs and spur them on to further victory. He'll need to get acclimated with his entire squad and learn the tendencies of each player he works with to fully employ his skill set in Foxboro.
In some ways, he's already doing that.
"I'm still getting accustomed to the players," he said. "It's not just the goal-scoring. Kelyn [Rowe], one time, had a ball to cross in the near-post. Now I know next time to make that run in the near-post. Every single day I'm learning."
While fans will hope the learning process wraps up sooner rather than later, Agudelo's two goals indicate that he's a quick study. For his part, head coach Jay Heaps thinks the integration will be smooth and quick.
"You watch him, he does everything for the team," said Heaps. "He does all the little things, the hard work, gets his toes in, he's defending on the top of the box. So, right away he jumps up in that the players buy into what he's doing."
If his previous two games are any indication, Agudelo's career in Foxboro could be incredibly fruitful for both the player and the club. With the back-to-back MLS Cup champion Galaxy visiting on Sunday, boasting a stellar defense (only the Revs' has been better), New England will be looking to their new striker for more inspired play, and for more goals.