Costa Rica international Johan Venegas (pictured) scored two goals for Minnesota United in a preseason friendly against the host Portland Timbers on February 12, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota United)
PORTLAND, Oregon -- If Johan Venegas' first game with Minnesota United is any indication on how he will perform in 2017, the Costa Rica international is primed for one memorable year, domestically and internationally.
In a preseason friendly on Sunday, Venegas tallied twice in a 2-2 draw with the host Portland Timbers as the 28-year-old attacker showcased a nose for the goal and an ability to adapt quickly to his new teammates.
First, the former Alajuelense standout converted a rebound of a shot by Trinidad & Tobago international Kevin Molino in the 25th minute.
“It was the build-up play before that I liked a lot, because it was some outstanding one-touch, two-touch play," said Minnesota coach Adrian Heath. "You know Johan has a goal in him. We know that, and he'll be a lot better for having 45 minutes as well.”
In the 32nd minute, Venegas turned Bashkim Kadrii's backheel pass from near the top of the penalty arc into a goal.
“Our combination play that we had with Molino, Venegas, Kadrii and Ibson was really top drawer, so the fact is I'm really pleased," stated Heath.
Venegas, who scored a goal in last month’s Copa Centroamericana, is poised for a busy year. Minnesota will be playing in its inaugural Major League Soccer season, while Costa Rica will have World Cup Qualifying and the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup to manage.