U.S. striker Juan Agudelo scored his third goal since joining Utrecht in (Stanley Gotha/EPA/Landov)
Juan Agudelo is making a strong case for inclusion in the United States' 30-man pre-World Cup camp, scoring the winning goal in FC Utrecht's 2-1 triumph over Vitesse on Saturday.
As teammate Jacob Mulenga cut in from the right flank with the ball at his feet, Agudelo, starting as the target striker for Utrecht, made a run toward goal. Mulenga tried to beat a couple defenders on the dribble, losing his balance. He poked the ball toward the top of the six-yard box, where Agudelo pounced to tap it in.
Despite a hint of offside and the Vitesse defenders' protests, the 78th-minute goal stood. It would prove to be the winning goal.
Watch Agudelo's opportunistic finish here:
Juan Agudelo by goalsandmore
After being denied a work permit upon his transfer to Stoke City in the Premier League, Agudelo moved to Utretcht on loan to get playing time while the club attempted to resolve the issue. Manager Mark Hughes said in late April that he would reapply to get Agudelo a work permit in time for next season.
"He and I were both talking about the work permit, and I hope we're able to get one this time. That's certainly what he's focusing on," Hughes told Stoke City's website after flying to Holland to watch Agudelo play. "I saw enough in the time he spent training with us to get a real understanding of what he can offer, and I've now seen him in a league environment, and he did well in that as well."
Agudelo will be hoping U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann has also liked his progress in the last couple months in the Netherlands, at least enough to give him a look before selecting the final roster for Brazil. Agudelo was called in for the U.S.'s 2-0 loss against Ukraine in March, replacing Jozy Altidore in the No. 9 role for the last five minutes.