March 23, 2012
TAKING NO CHANCES
Agudelo leaves game as a precaution
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- U.S. Under-23 national coach Caleb Porter decided to pull Red Bulls striker Juan Aguelo at halftime from the 6-0 Group A victory over Cuba in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament for precautionary reasons.
"He got a knock," Porter said after the win at LP Field on Thursday night. "I didn't want to take a risk."
Agudelo scored one goal in his brief appearance and almost tallied a second one had not Cuba defender Arturo Dix Pe deflected Brek Shea's cross into the net for an own goal in the 43rd minute.
“I thought he did great," Porter said. "He scored a goal, and the own goal he was right there as well. At the end of the day, he’s started two games for us and has two goals – Mexico and this game. So that’s pretty good production.”
Agudelo looked so comfortable playing with the U-23's, much more than when he has played for the Red Bulls. Agudelo was rushing the net and was in the middle of things. In fact, he looked like has having fun, which has been a far cry from his Red Bulls experience as of late.
“We just tried to transfer what we did on the practice field to the game," Agudelo said. "I feel like in our last friendly against Mexico we all started to gel around the midfield, and everybody was just playing as a team.”
The U.S doesn't have much time to catch its collective breath. The Americans will go through regeneration on Friday as they prepare to meet Canada here on Saturday.
“We’ll do recovery things to get the legs back, and just focus on our style of play," Agudelo said. "I feel that if we play our game, we can beat any team.”