Andrija Novakovich scored his first goal for recently promoted Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard in a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven. The Wisconsin native leveled the match in the 61st minute with a superlative effort, taking on two defenders and slotting his shot past the keeper. Unfortunately for Novakovich’s squad, the reigning Dutch champions escaped with three points thanks to a 90th minute goal from Dante Rigo.
Andrija Novakovich's first Eredivisie goal against PSV. Such a nice goal.— USMNT (@USMNTvideos) August 18, 2018
Courtesy of u/Meladroit1 on Reddit. pic.twitter.com/ayV2H0X566
Despite standing 6’4”, Novakovich possesses fantastic ball control and agility, both of which he demonstrated on the goal. “He’s different because he’s big, lanky and long,” former USMNT assistant Richie Williams told The Washington Post in March. “But he’s got some pretty good feet and pretty good technical ability.”
Novakovich has started both of Fortuna’s matches to open the season. The Limburg-based club has one point from two matches and faces Den Haag on Friday.
The 21-year old attacker is currently on loan from English Championship club Reading, with whom he recently signed a contract extension that lasts through 2020. Novakovich spent last season in the Eerste Divisie (second division) with SC Telstar, scoring 19 goals in 35 appearances. He made his national team debut in March against Paraguay and appeared in May’s 3-0 win over Bolivia.
Novakovich is perfectly positioned for a breakthrough at both the club and international level. He’s already proven himself in the lower levels of Dutch soccer and (based on the very, very brief sample size against the league’s top team) should be able to continue scoring in the top division. With his recent contract extension, Novakovich will likely be given an opportunity to prove himself with Reading next season. He told USSoccer.com he turned down “a few clubs” this summer because the Royals see “a future for [him]”. Whether that English future is in the Championship remains to be seen; Reading, which narrowly avoiding relegation last season, currently has zero points from its first three matches.