We dream of football and the world is full of dreams

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back to the future: USA defeats South Africa


USA defeated South Africa in Cape Town today thanks to 17-year-old Juan Agudelo. It was a clear message. Youth is the answer for the United States. Bob Bradley may not be the first choice for many fans and critics, but he had the right ideas today when he picked a youthful squad and had it pay off.

What a match indeed. The defense was stout with Ream-Goodson in the middle and an infallible Eric Lichaj at right back. Guzan showed why he deserves to be playing for Aston Villa...or perhaps another team. Bornstein struggled a bit on the left but still kept the Bafana Bafana from scoring. Up top Findley found little space as the lone forward. Gaven couldn't get through to him and Rogers took his own chances. Bedoya was also impressive on the left.

Enter the substitutes. Bunbury was a spark plug when he entered the game. Spector struggled some on the left (that's not his usual spot) but still got the work done. Borchers and Agbossoumonde would enter the match later in the second half to get some experience in defense at the international level. Then came Diskerud and Agudelo. Agudelo was dangerous from the start but it would take Diskerud's inventiveness for the teenager to make history. And history was made indeed. Diskerud did some fancy footwork in the area late in the game and provided an excellent pass to a streaking Agudelo. The youngster gave placement and pace to the ball. The shot hit the cross bar and bounced in behind the goal line.

Agudelo thus became the youngest player to ever score for the national team. At 17, he is in prime position to start fighting for minutes as a striker. Given the US' recent lack of scoring by forwards, his time with the national team may continue to rise. Expect him to be present at the January camp. Indeed, he and Diskerud are likely to be together early next year and may be featured in the match versus Chile (first international game of 2011).

We have seen the future today and there's plenty to be excited about. Agudelo, Diskerud, Lichaj and Ream comprise the next level of US soccer. Best of luck to them and also plenty of credit for Bob Bradley.

Player ratings:
Guzan........................8
Lichaj........................8
Ream.........................6
Goodson....................7
Bornstein..................5.5
Bedoya......................7
Rogers.......................6.5
Carroll.......................5.5
Gaven........................6
Pause.........................6
Findley......................4.5

Subs: Bunbury (6), Diskerud (7.5), Agudelo (8), Agbossoumonde (N/A), Spector (5.5), Borchers (N/A)

photo credit Schalk van Zuydam


The goal:

3 comments:

USA Soccer Stud said...

Easy there. This might bring you down to reality: http://usasoccerstud.com/are-we-getting-worse-despite-win-over-south-africa-u-s-soccer-finish-year-under-500/

:)

rjmera said...

Point taken... Consider the type of friendlies we had this year. Not necessarily an excuse but it's worth keeping in mind. Last year included Gold Cup, Confed Cup and qualifiers...which means, besides the Confederations...easier, more winnable matches (Grenada, El Salvador instead of Brazil, Czech Republic, Ghana).
Coaching is still up in the air and contingent on the Gold Cup. We'll see after that.

Alastair McCandless said...

Diskerud was the most impressive to me and the defense was much more solid than usual, although Bornstein is still just absolutely useless except for use as a cone to dribble around.