American Exports: Juan Agudelo closes Utrecht loan spell with a man-of-the-match performance
AMSTERDAM – Juan Agudelo said goodbye to his FC Utrecht loan spell with a Man-of-the-Match showing, scoring the winning goal and adding an assist in a 2-1 closing day defeat of visiting Vitesse on Saturday evening.
The busy US forward took six shots on the day, starting with a seventh minute attempt rudely tipped away by Vitesse netminder Piet Velthuizen. Agudelo was again foiled in the 40th minute, but quickly got revenge by teeing up Steve De Ridder for the icebreaker.
The visitors equalized past the hour, but Agudelo would give Utrecht the last laugh by depositing his third goal of the season from a goalmouth scramble 12 minutes from the final whistle. The strike not only gave the hosts three straight wins at Galgenwaard to close the season, it also boosted them two spots to 10th place.
However, Aron Jóhannsson missed out with an ankle knock as AZ Alkmaar earned a trip to the Europa League playoff by finishing eighth after a 1-1 draw against visiting runners up Feyenoord.
Across the North Sea in England, Tim Howard and Everton lost all hope of a UEFA Champions League place by falling 3-2 to visiting title chasers Manchester City.
The US No. 1 logged three saves, including a late job on Pablo Zabaleta that kept the Toffees in it with a shot. It was Howard's first home loss in four against the nearby rivals, who dealt fifth-place Everton their third defeat in four.
Over in Turkey, Jermaine Jones pulled 65 minutes of injury relief duty as Beşiktaş kept pace in the race for the Süper Lig's only Champions League group phase invite with a 2-1 home win over Kasımpaşa.
The US midfielder picked up a yellow card as the Black Eagles snapped a three-game slide to stay a point behind arch rivals Galatasaray for second place.
Greg Seltzer covers Americans based in Europe for MLSsoccer.com.