In his second year with Columbus Crew SC and in MLS, midfielder Luis Argudo has really come into his own in recent weeks.
With the absence of key players due to international duty and injury, Argudo has had the opportunity to show head coach Caleb Porter what he has to offer the team. Statistically, he has produced one assist in the draw at the Chicago Fire, the team’s first point in a month and a half. However, his speed and work ethic have been outstanding and hard to miss. He was named Man of the Match following Saturday night’s win against the Montreal Impact, the Black & Gold’s first win since May, for just those reasons.
The 23 year old was drafted by Gregg Berhalter in 2018 at No. 67 overall. In his first year, he started in six of the 18 matches he saw time in. He is on track to beat that this season, starting in five of the 12 games he has played in so far. Saturday was his fourth consecutive start of the season, and arguably his best performance to date.
With so many new signings lately, the competition for the attacking midfielder role is becoming more and more fierce. Porter said that the fight Argudo has shown must continue if he is going to keep his starting spot. However, he has been more than pleased with the effort and skill he has seen out of Argudo recently.
“I thought Luis Argudo, over the last few games, was one of the best players on the field in terms of what he brought, the energy, the fight,” Porter said in response to a question about the key players returning or new additions in the midfield. Here’s a guy that’s not been known as a top player on our team and he’s emerged as a guy that’s really, really capable of helping us . . . get the job done.”
Argudo takes a humble approach to the praise.
“For me, I just want to help the team out,” he said. “So that’s all I’m doing.”
For Porter, who as a player was a tough guy in the midfield, having some bite on his team is essential. While Argudo may not be the most skilled player on the roster, Porter values the talent he has seen in Argudo and the effort he put in while filling for others.
“He’s a Colombian immigrant from the Bronx that’s got a little edge, and I love that in him,” Porter said. “He’s bought in. He’s got some talent. He’s got some confidence. I think he’s versatile. I think he’s a really nice player.”
Confidence is something Porter greatly values in his players. He said that once Argudo switched from a college-player mindset to understanding that he was going to have to fight for playing time, it all clicked and he capitalized on the talent he already had.
Being with the team amidst the losing streak, the struggle through this season was not easy for anyone on the team. However, Argudo used it as a time to step up as a leader and show his coaches and fans what he could do to help the Crew. He feels having a year in MLS already under his belt has been huge for his performance this season.
“I think last year I was a bit nervous, but I think now every game I’m getting settled in and just doing my job,” he said.