Time off suits Agudelo just fine ahead of US friendlies
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The cancellation of this past Sunday’s New York Red Bulls-LA Galaxy match due to Hurricane Irene is working out well for Juan Agudelo.
The Red Bulls striker, called up for the United States’ friendly matches against Costa Rica on Friday and in Belgium on Sept. 6, will be a bit more rested than the rest of the pool coming into camp.
“It actually works out pretty well for me, getting the chance to get some rest after a busy summer,” Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com. “[US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann] likes to work us hard in practice, sometimes twice a day, so having a break before joining the national team is a good thing for me to get ready.”
Agudelo will be looking to get international caps Nos. 12 and 13 in the two upcoming matches. With five goals in 19 appearances this season for his club team, there is an expectation for him to build on his form and his recent strong showing in the early August friendly against Mexico in Philadelphia.
In Klinsmann, Agudelo has a coach who should be able to help him along that path. The former German international scored 47 goals with Die Mannschaft, and became the first person ever to score three or more goals in three different World Cups.
“I know he’s scored every way, that he was creative but he always put himself in the right spot to score,” Agudelo said. “That’s one thing I want to learn better, to learn how to put myself in a better position to get the ball in areas to score, the right runs to make.”
With two friendly matches — including one in Europe — Agudelo doesn’t feel added pressure to perform despite the fact that scouts from European clubs surely eyeing his performances. His name has already been bandied about in the foreign press, as there has been speculation over suitors in England, the Netherlands and Spain.
“I don’t think about that,” Agudelo said of the transfer rumors. “Not anymore with the national team camp than at any other time. There’s always eyes watching you, so this isn’t any different. If I focus on playing well here, playing well for Jurgen, then that will take care of itself.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer