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Agudelo opens European scoring account in Utrecht loss

Juan Agudelo FC Utrecht (Getty Images)


It might have come in a losing effort, but Juan Agudelo has his first European goal.

Five days after setting up a game-tying equalizer vs. Ajax, Agudelo opened his European scoring account by netting FC Utrecht’s lone goal in a 2-1 defeat to PEC Zwolle on Thursday. Agudelo scored the game’s opener in the 24th minute, receiving a pass from the left before turning and rifling a shot into the top of goal.

Unfortunately for Agudelo and Utrecht, they would go down to 10 men in the second half and that paved the way for PEC Zwolle to not only find an equalizer but a winner as well. The visitors scored twice in a span of four minutes in the second half to leave a frustrated Utrecht side winless in its last six Eredivisie games.

The loss is surely a bitter pill to swallow, but what is positive for Agudelo is that he continues to make an impact while settling in at Utrecht. The goal, and his overall 90-minute performance, should help him in his attempt to make it onto the U.S. Men’s National Team’s roster for this summer’s World Cup.

Here is Agudelo’s goal (and his celebration to the tune ‘La Cucaracha’):


What do you think of the goal? Expecting Agudelo to continue to make an impact with Utrecht? Do you see him as having a real chance to make the U.S.’s World Cup roster?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Juan is the man!

    Great shot. The defending was a little poor but all in all, an excellent finish.

    It’s nice to see things finally clicking for him. From moving to Chivas USA from the Red Bulls and then the to Revolution to get denied the work permit, he is getting his due. He stuck it out and it’s coming together for him.

    If he keeps it up, the sky is the limit.

  2. I love how he knows the ball does in without even looking. Hope this kid can make Brazil! He brings an attacking confidence that is lacking on our team.

    • I haven’t seen enough of AJ to judge him, but I think Agudelo could potentially be an even better goal scorer than Altidore. Different players. He’ll never be the hold up player that Jozy is, but he is big and strong enough to learn to hold the ball up a bit. I think he’s a bit more creative and instinctive in the box, but Jozy has a harder, more accurate shot. I think Juan is a bit quicker if not faster and is better in the air. He’s actually very underrated in the air IMO. He’s got a long way to go, IMO, though. He needs to improve his shot, his consistency, and his runs off the ball. He also needs to avoid the constant injuries he’s had in the past.

  3. Mucho Juanito, mucho!

    I would love to see him keep it together and make a strong run towards earning a place on the plane to Brahhhh-zeeee-uhhhhh!

    Go Juan!

  4. Crazy how a few years back, the USA was in need of a consistent forward. Now they have a good consistent group of young forwards to choose from. Selection problems from several options are always a good thing.

    • the USA is still in need of a good consistent forward. Actually they are in need of three of them to be a competitive team with world powers.

      • Not necessarily true. Germany’s got a 36-year old Klose and a schizophrenic Gomez as their main strikers, and Spain’s strikers aren’t exactly lighting up the world (as shown by their steal of Costa).

        Obviously these are extreme examples, as those two teams have the best midfields by far in the world, but perfectly consistent strikers are not a necessity.

      • I would trade all our strikers in a heartbeat for having a comparable quality midfield to Germany and Spain.

      • Spain’s strikers aren’t lighting up the world?


        Negredo has 9 goals for Man City
        VIlla has 11 goals for Atletico
        Llorente has 9 goals for Juventus
        Pedro has 12 for Barcelona

        Their midfield is so freakishly historically great that everyone overlooks the fact that they’re world class stacked at forward too.

      • Good point.

        By definition a midfielder should be serviceable in both defense and offense.

        And by definition the World Cup is a condensed tournament, seven games if you make the final.

        A great forward can take you to a certain point but once they figure out how to shut him down, then what?

        A great defense will also take you far but you have to score sometime to win the tournament.

        So if you have a great midfield you are more likely to get enough of an all-around performance from your team to get you through a short term situation like a World Cup.

  5. Beautiful goal, awesome move on the defenders and well placed shot. 2 games with significant impact for Utlecht…….keep it going Juan

      • Wing doesn’t necessarily connote midfield. In a 4-3-3, the wings are forwards. There are also some systems that play wing backs. Wing refers to the width of the position rather than the the vertical position on the field.

      • At the international level the wing forwards will be expected to fall back into the midfield to fill defensive roles. Our 4-3-3 for example will look more like a 4-5-1.

    • IMO, Agudelo is a more technical player than EJ…and has shown to be better defensively. If we use the 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 he’s a better fit than EJ in the wide positions (attacking Mid or forward). But EJ is currently a better option as the lone striker…(backup/impact sub to Jozy).
      If I were selecting the forwards for Brazil they’d be Jozy, Dempsey, Johannsson, Agudelo, and either Boyd, EJ, or Gomez.

      • I remember they tried to play him wide a bunch w NYRB but he struggled. He was much younger then it’s true but not sure it suits him. He is a very strong guy, he’s great in the air, and he’s very creative in tight spaces. All of these things make me think he’s best in the middle. I also don’t think he’s a good crosser at all.

    • His problem, like Shea’s, is that he has to convert potential into performance more often. You can only ride the promising player thing so far and then people want to see goals and work rate and such.

      I think he has an exceptional cross, some dribbling skills, and enough athleticism where he can separate himself at the international level. But he hasn’t come across like he gave a darn for a while. Maybe since he’s more or less where he wanted to go — Europe broadly if not Stoke — we may see the effort and effectiveness he needs to stick in the 23.

      If he’d stayed healthy at the U23 qualis…..

      • The comparison to Shea is not good at all. Actually comparing anyone to Shea is never going to be a good comparison. And when healthy Juan has performed rather consistently.

      • People have harsh opinions of Shea but Brekken had 11 goals one season for FCD and has actually gotten his work permit and played for Stoke, where Agudelo fell so far out of the picture he can’t get a permit and thus is on loan to Utrecht.

        I actually see them as peas in a pod, since they were elevated to the senior team at a similar time, and both offer a lot of flash and potential but perhaps not as much work rate and consistency. All fairness, same could be said of Dempsey several years ago. Test for both is can they become harder working, more consistent wing players. There is a point where Dempsey quit being known as much for stepovers and freelancing and became known as a clinical finisher and for working his tail off.

      • Unfortunately, staying healthy and fit is part of being a consistent player, which is what Juan should be striving for.

      • Shea was injured that entire second season at Dallas. He was complaining about his foot in the first month of the season and it took Klinsmann flying in someone to finally get the proper treatment. Then of coarse he gets injured in a friendly going into this year. So lets give Shea get a real run of matches before we judge him because you can’t say he hasn’t shown flashes of ability.

  6. I am starting wondering how much better the Dutch League is that MLS. Agudelo seems to be having no adjustment issues. You would think he would need some time if the level of play were that different.

    • Depends on the player.

      Someone like Agudelo who wants to play possession and technical football will look average on a team (MLS COUGH) that values hoofing the ball and using him as a target player–NYRB.

      Revs system was set up perfectly for him. They played on the ground often and were about strong offball movement. In his case, the quality of his teammates was holding him back.

      So he’s upgraded teammates and is still playing the style he was–hence not a big adjustment period.

    • Juan is one player not much of a sample size.

      Since his USMNT debut it has been clear that Juan has the talent to score anywhere.

      Doing it consistently over a reasonable period of time is another thing.

      You can’t tell if that will happen off of one game.

    • Stupid question. The Dutch league is a lot better then the MLS. The question you need to ask David is why is the Dutch coaching better then our coaching. They know how to develop players while our guys don’t really get much better unless they move to Europe for the proper training. Freddy Montero is 10 times the better player today in Portugal then under Seattle a few years back

      • There’s nothing stupid about asking a question like that. It opened a good discussion with lots of interesting comments. I’ve found that usually the people calling others stupid are generally the ignorant ones.

      • Agreed, TomG. Also, I’m not sure how a question about player development logically follows from Agudelo’s performance, given that he’s been with this team for 3(?) games. I wasn’t aware that Dutch Coaching is so great that its effects are instantaneous. If so, I sure could use some Dutch Coaching in my everyday life…

      • if MLS teams was to play like the Dutch league we would pack every stadium during games.

        for what it worth, we are getting there little by little.

    • It’s a technical league with a lot of open play, so if you’ve got some technical ability combined with something special in the open field, you can thrive, it seems. Beasley had that blazing speed that made him effective at PSV. Altidore and Agudeo are big, strong, fast, and technical, MB could read the game so well and make that trailing run at just the right time for the easy knock in. A guy like Nguyen struggled, on the other hand, because he was technical, but didn’t have anything special to set him apart from the rest of the players who were just as technical and often bigger and faster. At least, that’s my read.

      • It’s also not a league that has a lot of defenders who get “stuck in”. They tend to play more of a low-contact style that allows for those more technical players to thrive.

    • I would say the Dutch league is more technical and there is better passing then you see in the MLS. However MLS has just as good if not better pure athletes. Some of the defending in the Eredivisie is honestly just poor as you could see in the last AZ match.

      • John,

        If you are talking about can a given MLS team beat a given Eredivisie team on a given day, sure they can.

        But if the idea is to go somewhere to become a better player MLS has a ways to go before it can catch up to the Dutch.

        Since at least the late 60’s, the Dutch have always been, in terms of talent if not team harmony and professional behavior, a serious contender to win any competition they enter. The Netherlands is arguably second to no one in terms producing managers, coaches and players in terms of quality and numbers. They have been doing it a long time and there is no reason to think it is changing anytime soon.
        And almost all of these guys got their start in the Eredivisie which is ranked 8th in Europe by UEFA.

        It is true that Jozy plays the Dutch way and has been having a hard time at Sunderland but that is a smaller part Jozy’s fault and a bigger part Sunderland’s fault. Wilfried Bony, Jozy’s scoring rival in Holland who went to Swansea looks pretty good and I attribute that to Swansea being a lot better team and a better stylistic fit for Bony, than Sunderland was for Jozy at the beginning of the season. I’ll bet Jozy would have done quite well at Swansea.

        The Eredivisie has had the best players in the world play there, guys like, Cruyff, Maradona, Ronaldo, Romario, Dennis Bergkamp, Suarez,RVP, etc.

        The difference between them and MLS is these players played in the Netherlands when they were on their way up not on their way down.

      • Yeah I think we are pretty much in agreement. There’s no doubt the Dutch league produces a higher quality footballer but I think MLS players on the whole have a bit more raw athletic ability.

      • Raw athletic ability? These guys are proffesional athletes. In every country they have great athletic ability

    • There were some pretty good players that played in Eredivisie in the last 10 years: Robben, Suarez, Van Persie, Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, Wesley Schnider, Van Der Vaart, Vertonghen and I probably missed quite a few more.

    • I’d expect the best of the best mls players to immediately look better, not worse, when they jump to a better league.

      Dempsey recently claimed in an interview that one of the biggest differences since coming back to mls is that players don’t think/act as quickly on and off the ball. They take a half second longer to recognize and execute a pass or make a supporting/attacking run.

      If instead you’re surrounded by teammates who think the game more quickly, they’re going to put you in better positions more often.

    • Stop it. Just stop it. We are starting to get flooded with a bunch of all cap Frank copycats and it’s getting annoying. Please stop.

      • I agree with the Frank copy-cat thing but I do find it interesting that a player like Wondo scores 2 against international competition and he’s just “not cut out for the international game.” Then, JA scores a single goal for Utrecht and folks (not saying you) immediately begin discussing how to work him into the USMNT roster…

      • Then again, Wondo is probably not getting a lot worse or a lot better between now and June.

        It’s always personal. Wondo is boring, he stayed in the US. Jozy doesn’t sing the national anthem and stays in a half crouch for the game photo.

        Criticising them is a relfex action here.

        Juan and AJ are the bright shiny new boys in town who have not played enough yet to piss anyone off.

        Praising them is a reflex action here.

      • Apples and oranges. Ten years younger, more technical and esthetically pleasing player and goal. Wondo, because of his age, lack of Euro experience, and relative lack of technique and athleticism, will always have to do more in order to gain credibility, unfortunately. It’s like a AAA pitcher who throws 85 mph. No matter how good his stats are, he will never be considered good enough.

  7. really wish his teammate had finished his would-be assist right after his goal. how bad was the red card Utrecht got? it was a straight red, was it warranted?

    • It’s the eredivisie. People wonder why Jozy scored 30. The liberal Dutch approach extends beyond smokeable substances and red lights. But I think the league actually suits Americans who are athletic and fairly but not overly technical, because it’s fast break soccer with defense de-emphasized. It also might help that we’ve moved towards a passing style from British-derived 442 hoofball (which Jozy looks like he’d thrive in but is actually not suited to).

      • please produce a list of these top scoring, athletic but non technical Eredivisie forwards that turned out to be useless internationals or ineffective outside of holland…

      • Wifried Bony. Bryan Ruiz. Luc Castaignos. Vleminckx. Bas Dost. Blaise Nkufo.

        All I really had to do was subtract Suarez and Huntelaar from 07 till 2013. Noone else has really done anything outisde of Holland.

      • +1. I guess if it doesn’t skim the inside of the post and the underside of the crossbar at the same time, it’s poor placement.

    • Oh relax. Please don’t misquote me, it’s only two sentences, so I don’t know how you are misreading such a short comment. I didn’t say it was poor placement, I said not the best placement. It was about 4 feet inside the post. Not bad. Not clinical, but it didn’t have to be. Juan has a great game. Size, speed, work rate, creativity, ball skills, and he’s actually surprisingly good in the air for such a young player. I’ve long thought that the biggest thing he needs to work on is his shot which is not particularly accurate from what I’ve seen. I feel like that is one of the reasons he has never been able to put up big numbers despite his obvious talents. That’s why I thought it was worth mentioning. I think to be an EPL player, he needs to be a bit more clinical in his finishing. He had that keeper beaten badly and didn’t have to cut it so fine, but against a better keeper, his shot would have to be better. Not sure if he knew the keeper was beaten so didn’t take any chances or if he was just turning and shooting and that was his best shot, but yes, I’d like to see him consistently get it a little closer to the corners. I think that would indicate a big improvement in his shot. Like I said, though, the power was impressive and the turn was great. I’m not nitpicking to say he’s a bad player. I’m just scouting him a bit. You’re being too sensitive. I said it was a nice move and the shot had great pace. It’s not like I was like, “lucky shot, poor placement.”. I’m a huge Juan supporter but im a realistic person. at his age, of course he has things he needs to improve.

      • Whatever. I’m trying to evaluate him as a young and improving player. You want to be immature and call me names. If you want to debate me with some actual analysis, I’d love to hear it but I guess its beyond you.

      • Mr. T.

        Once you get the ball past the keeper and any other remaining defenders and over the goal line it does not matter if the ball is 4 inches inside the post or 4 feet inside it..

        Your criticism of Juan on this matter is nitpicking and would not help him improve in any way.

      • Dude, do you really think Juan reads this and improves his game based on our criticism???? You can’t be serious. You can argue it’s nitpicking, sure, but you and others are not acknowledging that I said it’s a nice goal. I said above that he may have seen that he had the keeper beat and knew he didn’t need to cut it fine. You need to read my whole post. The thing about Juan I’d like to see moving forward is improvement in his shooting accuracy. That’s all. If you’re not addressing Juan and his skills and what he is good at an or what he needs to work on, then this isn’t your thread. Just comment on someone else. If I’m offering more analysis than you want, then just go comment on someone else. It’s kind of ironic that you’re nitpicking me in accusing me of nitpicking Juan. Just move on unless you want to analyze Juan’s game and add something to the thread, otherwise you’re just nitpicking.

      • “The thing about Juan I’d like to see moving forward is improvement in his shooting accuracy.”

        That’s interesting.

        I always felt his shooting was a strong point from day one.

        Juan has everything he needs

        He just needed to grow up a little.

        I expect his European adventure will provide useful lessons.A long talk with Jozy would not hurt him in the least.

      • Okay, well I disagree. That’s not what I’ve observed, but good to get your point of view. In looking at youtube highlights of his goals, I really don’t see many if any of them being high level shots in terms of accuracy. Not a lot of corners hit, more of them are nice headers or creative touches. Maybe double check me, though.

      • I’m with you 100% TomG, great explanation. I also really like his positioning. If Agudelo gains confidence and continues to regularly contribute to the offense, he could be our third striker in brazil, possibly second.

    • i think the biggest reason he scored was that he didn’t take the time to look up and place the shot. He knew where the posts were and rifled a rising shot on frame, giving the keeper no time to react. Instinctive goal, from the run to the finish.

      • Yes, very quick and instinctive move. He’s the one guy in the pool right now that I think has an even higher ceiling than Jozy. You might argue AJ, maybe, but I haven’t seen him enough to judge. Juan is not as big, but he’s plenty big and strong and I think he’s quicker and just as fast if not faster. He’s better in the air and I think maybe more naturally creative and instinctive in the box. The only big edge I see for Jozy right now, is his shot. Jozy’s always had a very hard and accurate shot and he generates a lot of power with very little backswing.

    • Apologies for any misunderstanding on this thread. I thought I explained everything well, but now realize it’s impossible to start a topic that involves what Juan is great at and needs to improve on in the context of him scoring a great and important goal for him. I’m a huge Juan fan and have been since his NYRB debut. I think he has the highest ceiling of any striker we’ve ever had in the pool. I wanted to celebrate the goal but also discuss his future, his strengths and weaknesses, and how you guys think he will progress moving forward, but that will have to be brought up in a different context.


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