A Little Puffery, But: Chicharito vs. Agudelo

Juan Agudelo may not be starting for the Red Bulls tonight (or in the future for that matter), but you knew with the hype surrounding the teenager that, thrust onto the Gold Cup stage this summer, he would be forever linked to Mexican superstar Chicharito.

Will the be a tete-a-tete this summer or will it be a case of Derek Jeter vs. Rey Ordonez. (NY fans know exactly what I’m talking about.)

(Was waiting for this video to hit–had it in my Google Alerts).

56 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Braden on 2011/05/15 at 3:50 PM

    Let’s keep perspective of course, one just wrapped up a premiership title with Manchester United in which he played a major role. The other isn’t getting regular starts for a New York team that exited the MLS playoffs early. How, oh how I hope Agudelo’s future holds possibilities such as those Chicharito has already realized. In the meantime, it sure would be great to see Agudelo hit a winner against Mexico this summer, but for those who think they have a better sense than I do of player development, how does Agudelo compare to where Chicharito was in 2008? Is there any reason to expect he might have similar upside? What did Sir Alex see in him to cause him to make the investment? I’d love to hear opinions, there is some great soccer knowledge on this site.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/15 at 4:01 PM

      Chicharito in 2008 was thinking about quitting soccer because he couldn’t get a game for Chivas. Just goes to show you development is unpredictable. So Agudelo’s certainly ahead of Hernandez, if that means much.

      That said, I don’t think the comparison makes much sense. Not just the production stuff–it’s highly unlikely that Agudelo will ever be as good as Hernandez because no other American player has been as good as Hernandez is (which isn’t even world class), so until an American goes and does it, the proposition will always be unlikely–but also the playing style. Hernandez is a straight finisher, and while very athletic, also a small body. Agudelo has more versatility in his game, at least in MLS, and while he can’t unlock a defense he can keep the ball circulating around. Agudelo likes to try to take people on, and while he’s not all that great at it (yet?), that’s also something that Hernandez doesn’t really try and do.


      • Posted by KKS on 2011/05/15 at 5:11 PM

        Chicharito isn’t world class? Really? Scoring twenty goals for Manchester United and being selected by SAF to start over Dimitar Berbatov isn’t enough to be considered world class? I have a certain deal of trouble believing that.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/15 at 5:49 PM

          Yeah. World class forwards do more than just score goals. Name a great forward, and they all give their team more than goals. Messi is a great passer and presser. Rooney drops deep and can dictate as well as unlock a defense. Maybe the closest world-class forward to monodimensionality is David Villa, but his pressing and energy gives Barcelona quite a bit (and it’s why I’m sure Barca is still happy buying him and shipping out Ibrahimovic.)

          No reason why Chicharito can’t add the pressing part of his game, of course, but until then, he’s short of world class.


          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/16 at 4:11 PM

            I’d agree, he’s probably not World Class – yet.

            But to say that he’s just a finisher is also a little off the mark too. Have you not seen his movementinto the channels, or his dropping deep?

            Have to say, the GBP 6M Man Utd paid for him seems to be a bargain [if you were to value him today, his unrealised gain on their accounts probably gives the Glazers a hard on].


            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/16 at 5:02 PM

              Hernandez’s movement is of course wonderful, though I don’t think he drops deep so much–that seems to be left to Rooney, which is a pretty good idea, since Rooney has accidentally evolved into something like a #10.

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/15 at 5:19 PM

        On your last line. Chicharito is the top of the 4-4-1-1. He could take people on. It’s just not his job.

        And on the class comment. I think he’s heading to World Class. He’ll shortly be in the league of a Michael Owen or Fernando Torres. http://theshinguardian.com/2011/01/03/a-smattering-of-shaky-2011-predictions/


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/15 at 5:51 PM

          I don’t know, I’ve seen Chicharito drift out wide and suchlike, and he’s tried to take people on but not been particularly successful at it. Maybe it’s just a role thing, but still.

          I don’t regard Michael Owen or Fernando Torres as world class, even at their (since-departed?) prime.


          • Posted by Durant Durant on 2011/05/16 at 7:22 AM

            Yeah, I see a lot of similarities between a young Michael Owen and Hernandez. Both players used their speed to be in the right place at the right time on breaks. However, before all of the injuries, I think Owen was a better attacker with the ball.

            If Owen and Torres at their primes were not world class, who the heck is?


            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/16 at 7:56 AM

              Currently I’d say the world class forwards are: Messi, Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Villa, Carlos Tevez and that’s it.

            • Posted by Jake C on 2011/05/16 at 9:13 AM

              World class is a tricky term to throw around when your criteria are that hazy. Villa doesn’t hold a candle to Chicharito on current form, for instance. You could say that Villa makes the world class category based on his stats over time, but he’s also been playing with higher quality teams for longer than Chicharito has.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/16 at 9:46 AM

              Well, the key to David Villa is he contributes so much to Barcelona’s pressing game and gives so much to Barca even though he’s found it difficult to score this year for whatever reason.

              And I’m not sure the higher-quality team thing holds either: Villa was contributing to Sporting Gijon, Zaragoza and Valencia–only Valencia looks anything like a top-flight club in its league…

              World class is always going to be hazy in soccer, because value measurements are so imprecise. That’s why I prefer to reserve the term “world class” to a pretty small group of players.

            • Posted by John on 2011/05/16 at 9:54 AM

              Incidentally, while I do tend to think that Hernandez is finishing on a better form than Villa…. Villa still outscored Hernandez in total goals. Villa just has such a high standard to live up to (his own and Messi) that it seems to pale in comparison to previous years.

            • Posted by Jake C on 2011/05/16 at 1:28 PM

              Chicharito also had a great season his last one with chivas. Villa did great at Valencia for sure, and I’m not questioning that he’s world class. Just saying it’s a tough term to nail down, and Chicharito may replace him if current trends continue (however unlikely that is).

            • Posted by John on 2011/05/16 at 1:55 PM

              I gotta be honest that I deem it (Hernandez replacing Villa) highly unlikely. If only because Villa was utterly clutch of Spain during the world cup, essentially providing the cutting edge to their paper cut attack.

              Also Villa scored 30 goals in 40 games for Valencia in 08 – 09 and scored 28 goals in 42 games for Valencia in 09 – 10. Not only that but he has had 3 double diget assist years 06 – 07 (with a staggering 17) 07 – 08 and 09 – 10. He barely missed having another double digit assist year this year, and scored 18 total goals in the league.

              Of course Villa doesn’t really have anything to do with this potential discussion of Hernandez v Agudelo, but I don’t think people should put Hernandez any where close to Villa right now.

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/16 at 4:16 PM

            Also got to look at the time Owen was playing – the game has definitely evolved. Owen was World Class [when he wasn’t injured] 8-10 years ago.

            Next thing somebody is going to post is that Rummenigge or Papin were not World Class…


  2. Posted by Eli on 2011/05/15 at 5:49 PM

    This has to be a joke, are you serious about this article? If you are,wow is all I gotta say


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/15 at 6:13 PM

      So what are you saying?


      • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/15 at 6:39 PM

        What I’m saying is don’t compare agudelo to chicharito thats just plain dumb. Chicharito is far better then agudelo. Chicharito 20 goals plays for Manchester united soon to be champions and about to get his first title his rookie year Juan agudelo what 2 goals plays for red bulls in the MLS c’mon really bro?


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/15 at 8:11 PM

          They are linked together in the US as CONCACAF strikers. Much like Greg Oden is linked to Kevin Durant, Ryan Leaf to Peyton Manning.

          Players don’t need to be debatably equal talent wise to compare them.


  3. Posted by Adam on 2011/05/15 at 6:21 PM

    Chicharito is 4 years olders than Agudelo and Agudelo is miles ahead than Hernandez was at his age already a national team player and being linked with clubs across Europe. Hernndez is a player that people willearn very easily how to defend against him like they did with similar players like Owen. Agudelo has a lot more in his locker and watching him and Henry play fo NYRB there is a lot of similarities.


    • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/15 at 6:50 PM

      So what they didn’t rush him and had no pressure and look where chicharito is now! Mexico took care of him or chivas did and made him into a humble brilliant striker, weare rushing agudelo and expect him to be the best USA striker he’s only what 18 and already has all the pressure exactly what we did to altidore and adu.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/15 at 7:01 PM

        I wouldn’t call what Chivas did to Chicharito “not rushing him.” They didn’t have much of an idea what they had (or Hernandez wasn’t that good), as Hernandez was thinking about quitting soccer out of frustration.


        • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/15 at 7:50 PM

          How much of Chicharito’s game depends on service? Most of the goals I have seen him score are the result of a good run by him and seemingly a great pass by one of the Man U stars. I am curious how productive he will be with Mexico in the Gold Cup without that service.


          • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/15 at 11:41 PM

            LOL chicharito will be in good hands. Torrado set up Hernandez with a goal against Argentina, against France Marquez chipped the ball to Hernandez (btw Marquez read Hernandez perfect) andres guardado set up Hernandez with a through ball, Paraguay he scored twice thanks to osorio and Pablo Barrera so trust me Hernandez will be a BIG threat to any team in the gold cup haha


            • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/16 at 5:00 AM

              Not suggesting that he will do nothing at the Gold Cup just curious about how he would do if he played for West Ham or Blackburn, etc. I don’t think he scores 20 goals.

              As a better comparison to Chicharito would be how many goals would Dempsey score if he was at Man U playing in Rooney’s midfield/withdrawn forward role?

            • Eli – I don’t disagree with you that Chicharito will receive some decent service from Mexico, but that level of service won’t be on-par with what he gets at Man U. He’ll obviously be a threat to any CONCACAF team he plays against, but not the same level of threat he is with Man U.

          • Posted by Alex Song on 2011/05/16 at 2:50 AM

            This is what I was wondering. Berbatov scored like crazy for Man U this year when he played. Same with Chicharito. I’m sure those guys are good players, but maybe any halfway decent EPL caliber forward would light it up in the same spot? Seems like Giggs, Nani, Rooney, etc. do a lot of the grunt work.


          • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/16 at 1:28 PM

            Honestly not as much since Dempsey isn’t that great of a striker,Rooney admits that he likes playing behind Hernandez cause he can read him well and like his style of play,you never know if Dempsey and Rooney wil be a bad pair up. Oh and for me I think andres guardado I’d a better play make then Valencia and Marquez is well I mean he played for Barcelona what 6,7 years won like 7 titles with them. All of mexico players know what Hernandez is capable of doing I honestly think that Hernandez goal chances won’t be a problem at all if they put like 3 defenders on him like USA did to messi it’s gonna be very difficult if any team does…andres guardado is a better play maker then guardado****** also giovani dos Santos if you think about it his play is like rooneys since gio can play a strikers roll and midfield too no doubt kids amazing


            • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/16 at 1:30 PM

              Valencia*** sorry for my mistakes having trouble typing on the iPad today lol

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/16 at 5:11 PM

              Rooney and Dempsey are more or less the same player; though Rooney is more accomplished.

              It would be more interesting to see Dempsey and Chicharito playing for Man U.

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/16 at 5:51 PM

            “How much of Chicharito’s game depends on service? Most of the goals I have seen him score are the result of a good run by him and seemingly a great pass by one of the Man U stars.”

            It’s true the chances have to be there but you still have to make them.

            Not only do you have to make them but you have to put yourself in the position to make them.

            A great goalscorer is like a great goalkeeper. They both make it seem easy:

            “Oh that was an easy save, the forward shot right at him!” or ” It was only a tap in from the six yard box, how hard could it have been?”.

            Watch the great ones closely and you will realize they get a lot of the “easy” ones(saves or goals) by working like dogs before the game to make it look easy.

            They read the game well,understand what is about to happen and then have the ability to get where they need to go and then have the skill to do what needs to be done. Screw up on any one of these variables and you have no goal or save.

            Ohterwise, we’d all be out there for Manu U. scoring from tap ins and making easy saves off of forwards shooting right into your hands.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/15 at 7:15 PM

      Altidore was also miles ahead of Chicharito in terms of professional accomplishments at age 18. Not sure we can read anything into that.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/15 at 7:36 PM

        True, of course.

        But I’d also warn against doing the opposite–i.e. implying that because Chicharito started late really good players in general do. That’s not true–the only late bloomers among really good players that I can think of are Hernandez and Didier Drogba. Other than that, the really good/world class players all start doing significant stuff early.


        • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/16 at 5:24 PM

          The Drogba analogy is a little thin.

          He got his late start (21) mostly because he had trouble settling in France (homesickness, domestic issues) and then he had injuries. Once he got his head on straight he immediately started to show well. I’d bet if he could have gotten his head together sooner he would have been making an impact sooner but we’ll never know.

          You are correct in saying that the great ones usually start showing early but every player is different. What usually separates the great ones is that they find a way to sustain their greatness for an extended period, long enough to make a lasting impact.

          In American terms that means we celebrate Reyna and McBride , Keller and Friedel because they stayed around long enough to make a difference but we shake our heads about Mathis(alcohol poisoning), JOB (injury), or Adu (hype overdose).


          • Posted by dth on 2011/05/16 at 5:47 PM

            Yeah, we’ll never know. But to me this really just reinforces my point: if you want to be an elite/world-class/whatever you want to call it player, you’d better start early.

            Anyway, I did want to point out Adu for a moment. I’m not sure I buy “hype overdose” as a reason for his seeming failure. If Adu peaked out in MLS, I’d buy it, but Adu made the move to Benfica, far away from the hyping American media, and made 20 appearances and scored 5 goals his first season. So whatever huge hype he’d received until then wasn’t enough to derail him to that point. Obviously Adu continued to be hyped beyond that, but it wasn’t with anything like the same intensity or fervor, and so it’s tough for me to believe that THAT burst of hype was somehow the one that did him in.

            Benfica had a pretty incredible transfer record that year, too. As far as I can tell they brought in four players that year. Adu we know. The other three were: Angel di Maria (who made 44 appearances), Fabio Coentrao (who made 4) and David Luiz (who made 10).


            • That’s an extremely sad/interesting stat there….Benfica brought in Freddy Adu, Angel di Maria, and David Luiz in the same year. Di Maria and Adu made the most appearances that year, and yet di Maria has been transfered to Madrid, Luiz to Chelsea, and Adu to a D2 Greece side.

              Overhyping can’t be the sole reason for such a fall from grace. The complaints about Jozy are the same for Adu, poor work-rate in practice, over-inflated sense of self-worth, etc. I wonder how much of it is the poor work ethic and how much of it is Freddy Adu not being as young as he claimed to be…if you think about it he hasn’t grown or matured in any foreseeable way since he burst onto the scene.

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/15 at 7:52 PM

        How much of Altidore’s advantage was physical gifts that he used to his advantage in MLS and not technical skill. I get the feeling that Altidore scored by being bigger, faster, stronger in MLS and once everyone was as big, as fast, and as strong he had little left to offer.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/15 at 7:55 PM


          It’s also hard to imagine a 17-year-old could beat out grown men on physicality alone. Especially in MLS, a league which has a pretty high average level of athleticism.


          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/16 at 4:48 AM

            Soccer is very different than football so I do think a 17 year old can beat out grown men…

            Speed generally doesn’t trend increase as you age. At 17 you are basically as fast as you will be or close to it.

            Looking at the video Altidore is as big if not bigger than most players on the pitch. In 2008 Altidore was listed as 6-1 175 which makes him one of the larger strikers in the league and he had a reputation for being strong. Bursapor has him listed at 173 so its not like he filled out significantly.

            I would argue that he has the same physical talents as he had in the MLS but has not technically improved. The talent outside of the MLS is either as physically talented (as fast as strong) or has the technical skills to offset the deficiency.

            Sadly looking at the MLS highlight reel I saw a lot of goals that I don’t think Jozy could score now.


            • Posted by dth on 2011/05/16 at 6:25 AM

              Soccer is very different than football. But the players who make it really early don’t generally make it just because they’re freaks; they usually have a lot of skill too. The only real exception I can think of is Romelu Lukaku, but even he’s pretty skilled.

              As for Jozy: Jozy was skilled in MLS and he remains skilled in some ways now. He’s a good dribbler–he’s a better dribbler, for example, than Juan Agudelo. The problem is that his first touch isn’t great, and his confidence is worse. And of course “as big” is a huge difference than “bigger.” If your thesis is that Altidore was beating people physically, then it doesn’t make sense to say “as big” because those “as big” guys should’ve been able to body Altidore right back. 6-1 175 are good physical dimensions, but they’re not exactly exceptional in the MLS–I bet nearly every team in the league has a guy of comparable physique. The MLS is a league of high athletic ability–I don’t agree that the leagues outside of MLS are as physically talented on average as MLS. Like the league in general, there’s a fair amount of parity–there aren’t many SUPER athletic guys, aside from maybe Brek Shea and Marvell Wynne–but that doesn’t change the reality that the players on average in MLS are of high athletic ability and generally higher than most leagues, even most European leagues.

              Furthermore, I’m not even sure Altidore has the same physical gifts now as then. Altidore then was a graceful mover, and quick too. I’m not sure what happened in Europe–did he bulk up too much?–but he looks less explosive now than he once did.

            • Posted by Jared on 2011/05/16 at 6:40 AM

              Didn’t Jozy have a string of foot injuries that slowed his progress when he first moved to Villarreal? I thought he kept having turf toe or something along those lines so he basically lost a season when he was on loan.

  4. Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/15 at 7:38 PM

    I don’t think anyone is saying one will clearly be better than the other, in their prime, but the point is it is hard to predict considering that Chicharito was a late bloomer. And Agudelo has already sprung onto the stage. As far as we know, both could be done developing (which I highly doubt). On the other hand one could be near done the other could just be starting, or both could still be developing (the more popular assumption). Their both clearly on different development tracks and at different levels at the moment, but the point of this video is that they both have tremendous potential. What if Barcelona saw Messi at a young age, and said “He is obviously good, but I think he’s just an early bloomer. I don’t think it’s worth it.” Young players are the ones you have to entrust the future of your club and country to, so all you can really do is give them a chance and let them prove themselves.


  5. Posted by Kick-Ass on 2011/05/16 at 11:32 AM

    The comparison is dumb for they are about five years apart in age.
    I do agree that Agudelo is at a far superior level than Chicharito was at age 18. I believe Chicharito is 23 years old and is currently in his prime. I also agree that I do not believe Chicharito would be scoring as much if he was not at Manchester United surrounded by Rooney, Valencia, Nani, ..etc to serve him balls to just push in. Chicharito is an efficient scorer in the goal are if he is given an accurate pass. He is not a great all around striker for this title belong to players like Messi, Ronaldo, Villa, Rooney.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/16 at 5:28 PM

      He has done very well but, one thing no one mentions is that Chicharito came to Man U at a perfect time.

      If Rossi, who I regard as equally talented, had the same opportunity he likely would have done as well.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/05/16 at 5:52 PM

        Hernandez has done remarkably well – I didn’t think he would settle in England / PL as quickly as he has. Definition of somebody taking their chance with both hands.


    • Posted by Chipzsz on 2011/05/17 at 2:58 PM

      Hernandez has scored 40 times in the last 50 matches with ManUtd, Chivas and Mexico, to do that you need to be better than the defense and also in touch with the midfield / central players. He scores no matter where he plays, no matter if it’s the World Cup, Friendly Games, Mexican or English league or Champions League. To score in his position you need Speed, Movement, Intelligence, Knowledge of the enemy, Fast decisions and Patience. Here is an analysis of his goals to understand why he scores: ‘www.bigsoccer.com/forum/blog.php?b=11382’


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 3:04 PM

        I don’t want to disagree with your logic, because Hernandez is quite good.

        However Hernandez has only scored 20 times in the last 44 games for Manchester united.

        Therefore, unless he scored 20 times in the six games with Mexico or Chivas before that, your number are incorrect.

        He still is quite good though.


      • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/17 at 10:04 PM

        That article was very good thanks for sharing


  6. The Gold Cup can’t come soon enough. Anyone know any updates on when BB is supposed to announce his roster? Seems like he’s lagging behind other coaches here…


    • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/16 at 1:14 PM

      Idk seems like he doesn’t know what to do with the squad or who to put he should have one up already I mean gold cup is just around the corner


    • Posted by Eli on 2011/05/16 at 1:34 PM

      Ohh checknout goal.com and just find the USA forum they always come up with info that’s where I go most of the time


  7. Posted by Troy on 2011/05/16 at 12:45 PM

    dth- Jozy is a physical player but is not a better dribbler than Agudelo. Jozy is too big to be an effective play-maker himself. Jozy does draw fouls and used to be able to finish. Agudelo has moves and can beat defenders, as well as put the ball in the net.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/16 at 5:56 PM

      Agudelo has footwork, but never actually beats people in MLS, at least. Actually, that’s not quite true–he beat a guy against Chivas, but that was because the Chivas guy leaned in and overcommitted. Other than that he rarely beats guys off of the dribble; usually he explodes onto through balls or balls over the top.

      Meanwhile I haven’t seen Agudelo have moves like this:

      Or this:

      I’ve seen basically every Agudelo professional game, and I just haven’t seen him beat too many guys off of the dribble, and certainly not as well as Altidore does.


    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/05/16 at 6:33 PM

      Jozy is a better dribbler than Agudelo. My biggest USMNT Jozy complaint is the amount of 1 v 1 challenges he makes. He tends to draw a lot of fouls but in the hold-up role that Bradley has him in anytime he makes progress 1 v 1 its useless unless he can beat 4 more guys. I honestly think Jozy’s issue (at least with the USMNT where I have seen him) is that he is an outside forward (like Villa at Barca) stuck in a target man role.

      Agudelo is better at linking between midfield and forward. He is also much better at making runs and recognizing runs made by others.


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