Crew SC | Low pick Luis Argudo delivering key minutesThe Columbus Dispatch, Ohio — Andrew Erickson The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
March 14--Sixty-two players and four nonpicks preceded Luis Argudo's selection in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
Two weeks into his first professional season, No. 67 overall has so far just been a number for the rookie midfielder, and his No. 26 has been called at meaningful times twice in Crew SC's first two games.
On Saturday against Montreal, he entered for Cristian Martinez just before the hour mark as the Crew tried to regain control of a match tilting in the Impact's favor. But the midfielder's impact proved strongest in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.
After receiving a long pass from Wil Trapp and playing quickly to Milton Valenzuela, the former Wake Forest player called for the ball once more and worked his way into the box before he was simultaneously tripped by Ken Krolicki and toppled from behind by Raheem Edwards to earn a penalty kick.
Gyasi Zardes converted moments later to send the Crew to a 3-2 win, its second straight to start the season.
The no-doubt penalty was the highlight of what has been a steady first two appearances for the 22-year-old. Argudo also subbed on for the final 13 minutes of the season opener at Toronto as the Crew tried to preserve a 2-0 lead.
"Got a lot of text messages, calls from my family, friends, old coaches saying congratulations on making my debut at Toronto and then obviously helping the team out with the PK last-minute," Argudo said Tuesday. "It's been hectic so far."
Hectic on Tuesday meant something positive. Usually for rookies -- and especially rookies taken in the SuperDraft's later rounds -- it's a word used to describe what often is a rough transition between the college and pro game.
But it's clear that coach Gregg Berhalter so far trusts Argudo, who can play both central midfielder and wing, and has since a preseason scrimmage win over the Colorado Rapids.
"In his first game he played central midfielder against Colorado and scored a nice goal, good combination play and you saw his quality. He's got some talent," Berhalter said. "I think you're not sure how guys are going to step up to the next level and I think he did a good job of doing that."
Under Behalter, the Crew has made seven third-round selections. Four -- Fifi Baiden, Robert Kristo, Tomas Gomez and Vince Cicciarelli -- either made one or zero appearances for the Crew.
Adam Bedell made a string of seven starts during his rookie year in 2014, but played only 22 minutes through the end of May, and Connor Maloney had his option picked up after making two appearances at right back in 2017. Still, neither appeared in the first two games of his rookie season.
The coaching staff's trust, Argudo said, has bred confidence. Now the challenge is maintaining both.
"I want to keep proving them right," Argudo said. "Hopefully I can keep it going and just get more minutes and help the team out."
(c)2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.