BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, February 28, 2011
With the US U-20 qualification tournament now a month away, the US team may have to be without their best player in Juan Agudelo who has pulled a muscle in his groin.
Agudelo, 18, is an emerging player for the US senior team and the U-20 team's top forward. BigAppleSoccer reported today that the injury to Agudelo is serious enough that New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe fears Agudelo may not be ready for the team's season opener on March 19th.
If Agudelo is not healthy by then, it will put his US U-20 availability in question with their camp set to open just a few days after that.
US head coach Thomas Rongen will certainly be scrambling to make up a team since it is also very possible that many of the European based players in the U-20 pool may not get released by their clubs.
It is important to note that clubs are not required to release players for the CONCACAF U-20 World cup qualification tournament.
The players most likely affected is the team's second best forward Bobby Wood of 1860 Munich, winger Josh Gatt of Norway's Molde FK, central defender Gale Agbossoumonde of Sweden's Djurgardens, forward Conor Doyle of Derby County, and winger Alex Zahavi of Haopel Acre.
With the potential absence of key forwards and wingers, Rongen will most likely look to Santos Laguna's Adrian Ruelas, Philadelphia Union's Jack McInerney and Chivas USA's Tristan Bowen to help fill the void.