New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo will be 29 before he has the next chance to play in a World Cup.
The 24-year-old watched helpless from the sidelines as the U.S. Men’s National Team shockingly fell 2-1 at Trinidad and Tobago, failing to qualify for the World Cup after a perfect storm of events. Although Agudelo was called up for both October USMNT matches, he didn’t make the gameday squad of either.
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“The first thing that I thought was that four years of my life had been taken away,” Agudelo told the New England Soccer Journal.
Agudelo’s career is at a bit of a crossroads. The striker is coming off his seventh professional season, almost all taking place in the U.S., and finished with a career-high eight goals this past season. Part of the so called “lost generation,” Agudelo showed great promise as a teenager, even making his USMNT debut as a 17-year-old in 2010, but he’s failed to perform up to expectations, now finding himself on the fringe of the national team.
For a player who should be entering the prime of his career, Agudelo now misses out on a chance to show his talents on the world stage and perhaps earn another chance abroad. In an alternative universe, Agudelo and Jozy Altidore, a pair of former New York Red Bulls players, would be leading the line for the U.S. at the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Instead, it’s another long offseason for Agudelo and a five-year wait until he can make his first World Cup roster.