Agudelo looks to Gold Cup for U.S. springboard
Juan Agudelo (blue jersey) has earned 23 caps for the USA, five in CONCACAF Gold Cup play. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Only six days shy of his 18th birthday in November 2010, Juan Agudelo became the youngest United States player at the time to score an international goal in a 1-0 win at South Africa.

Since then, he has struggled to remain regularly on the national team’s radar.

Now the New England Revolution striker has an opportunity to prove himself again in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“It's an opportunity you have to take,” Agudelo said.  “You don't know when you'll have another chance like this in a major tournament before a World Cup.  As a kid, I always wanted to play in a World Cup; Russia, no matter where it is."

While Agudelo has scored three goals in 23 games for the U.S., call-ups have been sporadic due to injuries or his club form.

The 24-year-old, who has seven goals and one assist in 15 matches during the current Major League Soccer season, said he was more disappointed in himself than frustrated.

"I don't show myself at the club level,” expressed Agudelo.  “That's the only thing I'm disappointed in, just myself."

The U.S., which plays Ghana in a friendly in East Hartford, Connecticut, on Saturday, kicks off Group B play against Panama here on July 8

"It takes a full lineup [to win the cup]," Agudelo finished.  "There's got to be a bunch of 23 players ready to play.  There's a lot of games, short time in-between to recover.  I feel the deepest squad wins the tournament."

Agudelo has competed in only one previous Gold Cup, appearing five times in 2011 without scoring.