UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – As he walked off the practice field on Monday morning, Juan Agudelo was in the middle of several Red Bulls Academy players who had joined the first team for training. Agudelo was aflutter, talking and his hands a whirl of motion.
A member of the training staff teased that he was surrounded by his “entourage” – three or four fellow teenagers who, despite being just a couple years younger than the 18-year old Agudelo, looked at him adoringly.
“Just call me Vinny,” Agudelo said, referencing HBO’s Entourage.
Agudelo, of course, was talking to his following about his goal last week. And there’s plenty to talk about.
WATCH: Agudelo's fantastic finish
The goal didn’t matter much in the final equation, but his final tally in last Thursday night’s 4-0 win at D.C. United is already being talked about as Goal of the Year worthy.
Racing into the penalty area, Agudelo collected a Jan Gunnar Solli cross that seemed to trickle harmlessly just behind him. But he chipped it up to himself, swiveled and promptly fired a right-footed volley into the DC net, sending the United fans home with equal parts disappointment and awe.
At least for a moment, Agudelo had his best Thierry Henry impression down pat.
“I used to see that clip in almost every video [of Henry],” Agudelo said. “I tried it in a training session in Mexico and it worked. Then I did it in DC.”
It was a bit audacious of Agudelo to try such a move. The chip to himself was higher than he would have liked, but he timed his shot well.
“I didn’t think before he crossed it that it was going to come to me like that,” Agudelo said. “I thought ‘what the hell – let’s try it.’”
Despite the goal, however, Agudelo started on the bench for the second straight match. The starting nods instead went to Henry and Englishman Luke Rodgers, and the Red Bulls have been careful to make clear the team has depth up top, not just a two-headed hype monster in Henry and Agudelo.
“We have three very good strikers,” assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen said. “There will be room for all three to play. (Agudelo) came on and scored a good goal. He looked very hungry.”
The move out of the starting lineup has translated into training this week, but Agudelo understands that there are minutes to go around for all the forwards. His conversations with head coach Hans Backe have assured him of his role and place within a talented group.
“All we talked about, and not a lot, is that he wanted to rotate some guys. I respect that,” Agudelo said. “Me and Luke get along well. He’s one of my good friends on the team. There’s no arguments; we all want to carry the load.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer