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Caraglio set to strike

New DP joins the Revolution

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / August 5, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - Milton Caraglio will not have much time to get adjusted to his new Revolution teammates. Caraglio joined the team for his first training session yesterday and could be placed in a primary striker role for tomorrow night’s game against Chivas USA.

Caraglio, the Revolution’s first designated player, was expected to pair with Rajko Lekic on the forward line, but Lekic is out with a toe injury that will be evaluated today.

The Revolution (4-9-9, 21 points), tied for last in Major League Soccer in scoring, are hoping Caraglio and perhaps another player will solve their problems on offense.

“We’re just expecting him to help the team, that’s the bottom line,’’ said coach Steve Nicol. “That means goals, but if it also means a bucketful of assists, then we’ll take that, as well.

“He’s got qualities we don’t have, certainly he’s got qualities a lot of teams don’t have, so that’s what we’re hoping to see between now and the end of the season.’’

Caraglio, 22, scored 11 goals in 47 appearances for Rosario Central in Argentina, converting against some of the country’s top clubs: Arsenal, Boca Juniors, River Plate, San Lorenzo.

“I’m happy to be here and for the opportunity the club has given me,’’ Caraglio said. “It all happened quickly, but the important thing is I’m happy and I’ll give it my best for the club.

“I don’t know much about MLS, but lately I’ve been watching it a little more and concentrating on opponents. It’s a lot different than I’m used to.

“But I am very motivated to be here. I’m impressed with the level of play, and I’m willing to try hard to fit in and contribute for the good of the team.’’

Caraglio has recovered from last year’s knee operation, according to his agent, Cristian Libehan.

“He can contribute to this club,’’ Libehan said. “He is a classic player in the [penalty] area.

“He had been injured, but he is all right now. His left foot is very powerful, and he’s strong. He’s a bull - they call him ‘El Tanque’ - a young, left-footed player.’’

Caraglio, who was not scouted in person by the Revolution, said he has been competing on an artificial turf surface for the last seven months in Rosario.

“The fact we didn’t actually personally manage to see him is not normal for us,’’ Nicol said. “But with the schedule, there’s no way we could have done it.

“We’ve spoken to multiple people about him, and you look at his record and his résumé, and it’s not much of a chance, is it? There’s not too many guys in this league with his record.

“He can score some goals and he can make stuff for others. That’s what he’s here for and, hopefully, that’s what happens. He scored this morning [in practice], so that was a good start.’’

Vice president of player personnel Michael Burns said the Revolution are planning to sign another player.

“We have an offer out there right now,’’ Burns said. “If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, we’ll pursue someone else.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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