He was worth more than seven figures.
The Revolution acquired forward Juan Agudelo from Chivas USA last May in exchange for the proverbial undisclosed amount of allocation money. Two months later, the 20-year-old would sign a pre-contract with English outfit Stoke City. The Potters, however, refused to wait, offering New England close to a $1 million offer to land Agudelo overseas during the summer transfer window.
MLS and the Revolution rejected.
It's easy to see why.
The American's impact extended way beyond his seven goals in 2013. In his 11 starts with the club, the Revolution were a solid 7-1-3. In the other 15 matches that didn't feature Agudelo as a starter, New England was a much less consistent 5-7-3.
That's an MVP-type impact.
The season ended with the club's first playoff appearance since 2009.
Fast forward to today. European aspirations were finally achieved, but what's left behind is now a desperate search for a suitable replacement.
Is it Patrick Mullins?
The two-time MAC Hermann trophy winner was selected 11th overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. His stellar collegiate career was highlighted by 47 goals and 35 assists in 92 matches. But anyone who's distraught and remorseful for using his hand to score a crucial goal lacks the tenacious instinct necessary to succeed as an elite striker at the professional level.
Kyle Franko carried Mullins' quotes in the Trentonian following a 2-1 loss to Notre Dame:
I'm very disappointed in myself for doing that. In the heat of the moment, I hit it down with my hand and like any good forward, I put it in the net. That's not who I am and I'm very disappointed in how that play resulted. All I can control is my actions and I'm not happy with that action. It's definitely hard for me to swallow because that's not the type of player or person I am.
Those are humbling words you'll never hear from Thierry Henry.
He sings a different tune in Mark Ogden's piece in the Telegraph following a 2009 World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland:
I will be honest. It was a handball, but I'm not the ref. I played it. The ref allowed it. That's a question you should ask him.
Say what you want about "dignity" and "self-respect," but your fandom wants that goal at any cost. Luis Suarez bit someone. There's no way you're not taking his 23 goals, no matter how holier-than-thou you try to come off as. Does Mullins have that killer instinct his counterparts confidently boast?
Is Agudelo's replacement Steve Neumann?
The 22-year-old was selected fourth overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. The 2012 Hermann trophy finalist finished his collegiate career with 41 goals and 34 assists in 86 appearances for the Georgetown Hoyas.
And what about Teal Bunbury?
The 24-year-old was acquired from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for the Revolution's first-round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and—you guessed it—allocation money. But a torn ACL in 2012 limited him to just one regular-season start in 2013.
With what it cost to acquire him, the Revolution are betting on his weakened ligaments.
Those bets will have to pay off if New England hopes to return to postseason glory in 2014.