Juan Agudelo nets assist, scores winner in FC Utrecht win

Juan Agudelo FC Utrecht (Getty Images)

By RYAN TOLMICH

With just 39 days remaining before the start of the World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team roster is anything but set. With that being said, Juan Agudelo made his case to be on the plane to Brazil with his performance in FC Utrecht’s 2-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday.

The 21-year-old picked up an assist on the game’s opening goal before securing all three points for his team by scoring the game-winner in the 78th minute.

Agudelo’s assist came in the 40th minute to give Utrecht a 1-0 lead late in the opening half. The American received the ball deep in the box before taking a touch right into the path of an incoming Steven de Ridder, who found the back of the net to give the hosts the lead.

Agudelo’s big moment came late in the second half. Utrecht’s Jacob Mulenga brought the ball into traffic from the right side and toe poked it across the box to a streaking Agudelo. The former New York Red Bull pounced on the ball just outside the six yard box to lead his team to victory.

With the win, Utrecht move up to 10th in the Eredivisie table, while Agudelo picked up his third goal since joining Utrecht in January and his second in as many games.

Agudelo’s push comes just days after U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann announced that he would bring a full 30-man squad to a preliminary camp later this month. With performances like these, Agudelo, whose last international appearance was in March’s 2-0 loss to Ukraine, will certainly earn some consideration before the team is selected for Brazil.

What do you think of Agudelo’s big game? Think he earns an invitation to the pre-World Cup training camp? Would you bring him to Brazil?

Share your thoughts below.

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74 Responses to Juan Agudelo nets assist, scores winner in FC Utrecht win

  1. MikeG says:

    Regardless if he gets called up or not keep up the good work. A bright future is ahead.

  2. Shawn says:

    After watching this match I now come to the conclusion Juan is the most all around skilled striker in the us pool followed by atom Johansson. Juan makes 23

  3. Jake Lassiter says:

    Juan makes the 23? That’s a bold statement. I like him a lot, but I don’t see it happening this year. Now in 2018, he may very well be the star of the show along with Green.

    • Shawn says:

      There is something wrong if he doesn’t easily could’ve had an Garrick today. An he has flair and is technically gifted. It’s not just potential right now he is very good

    • slowleftarm says:

      How about Green starts playing above the fourth division before we anoint him the “star of the show” for the USMNT? When Agudelo was Green’s age he was playing regularly in MLS and had already scored for the national team.

  4. John says:

    The striker pool just getting even more murky now. Boyd, Wondo, and Juan finding goals while Jozy, EJ and Johannsson (now injured) are struggling to.

    • Nate says:

      Slow it down. The odd goal here or there at this stage of the season is not going to make or break anything. Jozy, Johannsson an EJ are safe. There might be a question between Boyd, Wondo amd Agudelo.

  5. Ron says:

    Jozy, Johannsson, Agudelo if the plane left today. Boyd too if there’s room but he doesn’t have the all around game of Juan. Wondo is a good MLS poacher but he’s gotten his chances and hasn’t impressed against elite international competition.

    • Bach Beard says:

      When has he got his chances and failed at the international level?

      All the guy has done is score lately.

      • Jack says:

        I think Ron may be referring to Wondo’s awful start at the international level (2011 Gold Cup comes to mind), but I do agree he has been tearing it up lately. However, I believe only 2 of his international goals were quality goals against quality opponents. (2nd goal vs South Korea and his latest against Mexico). He just has not impressed me that much for the MNT.

      • JayAre says:

        Klinsmann said he’s make his WC roster based on the last 4 years of work. so lets put that into perspective here. Juan kept getting trade in MLS but was still somewhat successful ( Killed it in NE ). Wondo had a stable club situation. While wondo had all this stabilty around him, he made the Gold Cup roster in 2011 and so did Agudelo but you know what happened at the GC? He flopped big time and Agudelo was actually a starter and Agudelo go more minutes. It bothers me when people really consider roster fillers for WC spots. We need players to practice against thats why wondo even got called up. Everyone seem to forget that our A team was undefeat in the 3 games before the GC

    • reignman says:

      Boyd will be on the plane. He is the only striker in the pool who has a similar body and style to Jozy. Jozy needs a direct replacement just in case and Boyd is that

    • John says:

      Boyd’s still well ahead of Agudelo, could be moving ahead of Johannsson as well

    • Duke says:

      It annoys me to no end that Jozy gets such a pass. He has dont nothing anywhere lately and has serious holes in his game. Does anybody really think he’s have any chance of producing anything in Brazil when going against better teams than he sees in England? I don’t see him doing anything there either

      I know its a pipe dream but my dream is JK goes into the camp with a completely open mind and picks the 23 that show the best there. NO PASSES. If Jozy outplays the others he should go but if the others outplay him… leave him home

      • GW says:

        “I know its a pipe dream but my dream is JK goes into the camp with a completely open mind and picks the 23 that show the best there. ”

        That’s how you choose players for a Sunday league pick up game.

        If you want to just throw away the last two years of preparation that’s fine but the US does not have enough exceptionally talented players to take a pickup team to the World Cup and do well. Few teams if any, even Brazil, in the modern game do.

        You would be throwing away the one traditional advantage the USMNT has always had, a disciplined team effort.

        • GW says:

          Duke,

          The thing is Sunderland are not playing in the World Cup in Brazil.

          The USMNT are and over the last year and a half Jozy has played very well for them.

          • Louis Z says:

            He begun to hit the skids late August of last year, pretty much when the PL league season started. Sure he had a good 2 seasons at AZ but he is not going to be getting that kind of service from us at the WC. The opponents are going to be too tough for that, he may get a couple of chances but he doesn’t strike me to be the player that will make few chances count. I also wonder how much weight JK is going to put on current form vs. how good a player once was.

            • Nate says:

              Insane comment. He scored a hat tick against Bosnia in August of 2013. No coach in their right mind would not consider a player’s experience in evaluating them for a world cup roster spot.

              • Louis Z says:

                insane because that was it? he only scored once since then for USMNT and it was a tap in fed by Castillo.

                I’m not saying JK isn’t going to take him, in fact, I would be very surprise if he didn’t. My point is he is going to the WC and starting on reputation rather than current form.

              • Nate says:

                Hes only played in 4 matches since the Jamaica goal, and in 3 of those matches, Johannsson did not score either. In fact, no ne scored for the US in those matches…so what point are you trying to make? Who specifically would you start over Altidore at this point?

              • Louis Z says:

                I let JK figure it out, some folks think a 4-4-2 may be a better formation with Dempsey + AJ/someone else. AJ’s strength is not as a single striker either.

              • GW says:

                Louis Z,

                What is” starting on reputation rather than current form’?

                And what is wrong with that?

                I just watched Jozy vs Man U. He did not score but he looked to be in good shape, like he could lead the line and help someone else score. And I know Jozy is unlikely to be overwhelmed by the occasion. I also know that the likely USMNT starters know all they need to know about how Jozy plays and what he needs from them.

                It does not look like he is sharp enough to score against the Death Group teams but neither do AJ, EJ or any of the other candidates.

                And if we are talking about predicting this off of how a player looks in a given game my guess is JK and his staff are better informed and would be better practiced at it than you or me.

                For example Juan’s current form tells you he can score three goals over a couple of weeks in a league where AJ and Jozy scored tons more goals. So how does Juan compare to Jozy and AJ both of who are currently not scoring ?

                Does the fact Juan scored this week mean he is more likely than Jozy or AJ or even Wondo or EJ to score against Ghana in little over a month or so?

                Can you tell me how you come to that decision using current form?

              • Louis Z says:

                My comment about Juan was before even Jozy went on a hot streak last summer, Juan is a player that will change how the team plays, he has shown that as far back as BB reign not just now, even in his last friendly he shown that he make this happen, is that good enough to get some playing time? I believe so but like I said, if he gets the invite, JK will be able to have a good comparison between what each forward brings and for what situation he may envision us getting in to.

  6. Twosevenstreet says:

    He gets into extremely dangerous spots, that would not exist in the world cup

    This is the issue with the Dutch League. Players would be better off just staying in MLS. I for one can not wait for the day that all Americans with the exception of a few superstars play in MLS.

    • arsenal says:

      The dutch league as developed some great players over the last 10 years. Robben, RVP, Suarez, Van Der Vart, Krul, Strootman, and dozens more I’m forgetting now. It is certainly better than the MLS overall right now. The defense could be suspect, but many clubs play total football and the backlines get burnt sometimes. They also know how to develop attacking players.

    • 504_soccerfan says:

      I do like when players go abroad. I know it would be excellent if they would stay in the MLS, however I think there is something to be said for being pushed outside of your comfort zone.

      In the Netherlands, Juan is exposed to a variety of players, tactics, and coaches. Also, because the MLS has not adopted relegation, there is something to be said for some of these foreign based players to be stuck in the relegation battle.

    • bryan says:

      Juan is there on loan from his EPL side, don’t forget that.

    • Maykol says:

      Ahh better off staying in mls? Ok how many strikers developed by MLS compare to Huntelaar, Suarez, and RVP?

    • Lilo says:

      I think Bradley, OBrien, Beasley, even Gibbs and Altidore would disagree with you, as they should. Tactics, exposure, coaching, salaries, quality of play it’s all far better there.

      Forget attackers. Ajax produces CBs like Heitinga and Vertonghen as WC-ready players. Even if the Dutch league has holes on defense, MLS has bigger. Gonzales – Besler are the best MLS defenders our attackers have to beat…that’s far worse off prep, not the same.

      • foooo says:

        Correction… Gonzalez and Besler are the best American defenders in MLS our attackers have to beat. They are not the best defenders in MLS.

    • Kevin says:

      Just wow, man.

  7. Jack says:

    Very happy to here this, but I think it is a little too late to make Brazil now. He’s still 21 so we can expect 2 or 3 future World Cups out of him. Hopefully he starts bagging some goals for Stoke next year!

  8. Yusef says:

    Not too concerned whether he goes to the World Cup this time around. I just hope his performance is strong enough to get him a work permit in the UK so he can play for Stoke next season. All of this talk about the US strike pool even though an American forward has not scored in a World Cup since 2002. I just hope one of them breaks that trend this summer.

  9. MLSsnob says:

    Highlights?

  10. SingularityCup says:

    Juan or Wondo? I would go with Juan.

  11. rph says:

    Yeesh, now even the writers are using “on the plane.”

  12. Steve says:

    I am of the opinion, although completely unsupported, that Agudelo and Johannson would make the best pairing of our forward pool. Not necessarily the two best forward, just the best pairing. Would love to see them run out together.

    • Shawn says:

      After watching the game i think those two are most skilled and have most flair. Altidore has been out of scoring form for a while now and he would be a good start if we had very good wing players that play as inside forwards.

      Agudelo has a better first touch (by a mile) i think and in-form altidore probably finishes better than agudelo, Imo Agudelo is better in the air. Passing is a toss up. and agudelo has much better defensive work rate.

      Basically i am saying right now agudelo is better than altidore

      • Duke says:

        Not just right now…all the time

      • GW says:

        Shawn,

        Really? Juan has how many goals for Utrecht?

        And don’t Utrecht play in the same league that Jozy dominated for two years ?

        I like both players but you have no objective proof that Juan is a better forward than Jozy..

        • Louis Z says:

          Sure they both played in the same league but Jozy played in a very good team while Juan is playing in a weak one.

          When Juan was getting playing time with the USMNT and he would come in for Jozy late in games you could see how different his game is to Jozy, Juan immediately would help change the tempo of the game. Jozy expect to be served to be productive and he needs lots of service to knock one in. The safe bet is JK will go with Jozy come WC time. Long term I think Juan is better because he is more dynamic of a player.

          • Nate says:

            Both Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann as well as Villareal, AZ and Sunderland have preferred Altidore to Agudelo, so…

            WhenAgudelo wins USMNT player of the year, maybe we can reassess.

            • Louis Z says:

              I’m not saying Agudelo is better than Jozy but the gap is not nearly as big as you may think.

              • Nate says:

                This is based on…what exactly? You do remember that Altidore is only 3 years older than Agudelo…At juan’s age, Jozy had already scored in a major tournament against the number one team in the world, and played in both the Premier League and La Liga.

              • GW says:

                When choosing who goes to Brazil and who stays you don’t need a big gap.

              • Louis Z says:

                is based on my observation of both players and the many years of being with athletes in the sport of soccer. It may not be the status quo choice but it is what I believe will happen one day. Just like no one gave AJ a chance at the beginning or when Boyd was selected out of the blue by JK when he took him for his first friendly. Just going by the numbers is half the equation, there is intangibles that plays a part in determining if a player has what it takes to go to the next level.

  13. Jake Lassiter says:

    Juando. Brilliant.

  14. Bolton Wonderer says:

    Screw Juan Agudelo.

    • Jake Lassiter says:

      Sour grapes from still watching your team play in the Championship I presume?

  15. JakeTheSnake says:

    Agudelo is 21. The boy has time to develop over the next 2-3 years. Let him.

  16. Jon says:

    If we are under the impression that 4 forwards are going I think that 3 have booked their flight. Jozy, AJ and EJ. I’ll be surprised if Wondo or Juan make it.

    • Jon says:

      note…I don’t think 4 are going…I think those are the 3…I think the value is in the mid….donovan ad dempsey can push up top if the need be

    • John says:

      So you’re going to take 3 strikers who in there last 10 matches combined have 1 goal between them.

      • GW says:

        John,

        Herc Gomez went to South Africa in 2010 smoking hot. He had scored so many goals in Mexico that BB could not ignore him. I thought he played well but he scored zero goals

        It’s like the center back situation. The US has no uber talented players that any of the death group teams will be worried about. No Suarez, no RVP, Zlatan, Cavani, or Lewandoski.

        I like Juan and he has great potential but this year he’s not scaring anyone on Ghana, Portugal or Germany. A few goals for Utrecht in a league that Jozy terrorized for two years? Forgive me for being massively underwhelmed.

        If I’m the USMNT manager I prefer the guys who I know work well with the team. I think JK understands the dynamics of goal scorers and forward play as well as anyone in the game. In spite of his bad year I take Jozy by a wide margin. It’s the USMNT Jozy will be playing for in Brazil not Sunderf+++ingland.

        USMNT goal scoring has always been more about the lack of chances created as opposed to poor finishing.

        If it were about the finishing quality, Wondo would be a stone cold lock but he is not.

        • John says:

          I wasn’t saying you should take Juan, he’s still well behind a good number of strikers for me. I just think taking 3 strikers struggling to score could be a bad mix. Taking at least one guy playing with some confidence could help raise group. If that’s Wondo or Boyd, a lot is still going to be decided in the camp and friendlies.

        • Nate says:

          GW +1000

        • foooo says:

          “USMNT goal scoring has always been more about the lack of chances created as opposed to poor finishing.”

          Hmm? Do you mean LACK of goal scoring has always been about lack of chances created?

          • GW says:

            I meant what I wrote.

            The USMNT games that I have seen over the last eight years or so have,for the most part, been characterized by a lack of scoring chances in the first place..

            That is why Dempsey became so critical to the US because he is the best US player at scoring for teams like that.

            The scary part is not that Jozy needs service, he always has, but that Donovan has lost his scoring touch. Landon was always the guy you looked to if Clint was not scoring.

            Wondo, who is good enough to be a regular international level scorer would be a lock starter if the US consistently generated more chances but they don’t.

            Jozy, Clint and LD all are more versatile than Wondo All three make more non scoring contributions than Wondo does which is why he does not get more chances to play and why he probably won’t go to Brazil.

  17. J. Fray says:

    Jurgen has some interesting roster choices. If he lists Donovan/Dempsey as forwards, it’ll likely be those two with AJ and JA. If not, I could see both Boyd and Agudelo making the team.

    Both are more deserving than Wondo is. It’d be a joke if Wondo is on the roster.