Juan Agudelo: New York Red Bulls Striker Caps Dream USA Debut With Late Winner
One of five promising American talents which USA boss Bob Bradley handed debuts to, Juan Agudelo, shone in the 30 minutes of playing time he was given against South Africa after coming on for Robbie Rogers.
The New York Red Bulls striker became the youngest player ever to score for the USA national team with his dramatic 85th minute winner in the international friendly.
Agudelo will turn 18 on November 23, and has only appeared three times in a Red Bulls shirt. But there were no signs of inexperience, as his clever run into the box and neat finish off the crossbar handed the USA a last-gasp, 1-0 victory at Green Point Stadium.
The young striker has been in sensational form for the USA U-17 team, which he represented at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scoring a total of 12 goals in 16 games before he went on to notch an additional three goals in seven appearances for the U-20 side.
After moving from Colombia to the US at the age of eight, he started his career with New York Red Bulls in 2007, but did not officially join the club's senior ranks until March 2010.
Agudelo has recently begun to receive more playing time for the New York outfit, who lost in the recent Eastern Conference semifinals due to an injury to veteran French striker Thierry Henry.
He only made his MLS debut last month, on October 9, 2010, as he came on for five minutes in a goal-less draw against Real Salt Lake.
Juan Agudelo: Strengths
Very powerful and stands 1.85m tall and possesses fine technical skills.
Keeps the ball well, and showed vision and agility in the build-up and a good finishing touch to score his debut USA goal.
He can deliver an accurate cross and knows how to use his physical strength to his advantage.
Watch Agudelo's run into the box and excellent assist for Juan Pablo Angel in the recent match against San Jose Earthquakes.
Juan Agudelo: Weaknesses
Of course, lacks experience. Still largely unproven, he has only just begun tasting action for club and country.
Will need to work on his finishing ahead of next season as he sometimes seems too nervous in front of goal.
Juan Agudelo: Verdict
All in all, Juan Agudelo has only shown a glimpse of his abilities so far, and fans will be eager to see what he can contribute next year, when he is perhaps given a more important role on the team.
His recent performances have indicated that he can handle pressure well and slot straight into a new set-up, and he should look no further than former Arsenal striker and legend Thierry Henry as his mentor.
Potentially, the talented forward has the physical attributes and footballing brain to land a move to the European continent over the next few years.
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