Coming off their first real feel-good moment of the 2012 season, the New York Red Bulls announced that Juan Agudelo will miss up to six weeks after tearing his medial meniscus during the United States U-23's 6-0 win over Cuba on Friday. Agudelo was scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday.
Even if Agudelo were healthy, there's a decent chance that he was going to be coming off the bench anyway. Without Agudelo in the lineup, the Red Bulls beat the Colorado Rapids 4-1 on Sunday. Kenny Cooper started in Agudelo's place and scored a pair of goals.
Heading into this third MLS season, the 19-year-old has shown loads of promise but failed to do it consistently. He scored six goals in 2011, but just two of them came in his 12 starts. How much of that is coach Hans Backe's refusal to regularly start him and how much is Agudelo's inability to prove he deserves to start is among the hotter points of debate in New York. How much Agudelo plays upon his return could well be determined by how well the Red Bulls perform in his absence.
For more on Agudelo's situation, be sure to check out Red Bulls blog Once a Metro.