BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, September 30, 2009
After getting blasted in the opener by Germany, the insertion of Dilly Duka into the starting lineup was one of the major factors as the American turn the tide to waste Cameroon in Egypt.
Following the opening game disaster where the US was thoroughly outplayed in a 3-0 loss, Duka lead the USA to a convincing 4-1 victory over Cameroon at Mubarak Stadium in Suez, Egypt.
"He just told me to attack, to be a playmaker, to work hard on defense, to play for the team and that's what we all did," Duka said of head coach Thomas Rongen, "We played really hard, it was all teamwork today and we got the good result."
Duka had a hand in the first two American goals before scoring the third on a shot that will be talked about for a long time by many USA fans.
Approaching halftime he USA scored their first goal when Duka hit a free kick into the box which Ike Opara was able to head on goal. USA forward Tony Taylor was able to control the rebound and set up Bryan Arguez for an emphatic finish.
Just two minutes into the second half, Duka lead a break up the left side and was able to set up Taylor for an easy goal.
"I think Jared [Jeffery] won the ball at midfield and sent me long. I ran with it. [Taylor] was on the other side and countered. I ran up to the goalie and defenders were pressuring," Duka explained. "I saw Tony open, slipped him the ball and he finished. It was a simple goal on the counterattack and it put us up by two goals."
In the 68th minute Duka put the game out of reach when he scored a highlight reel goal that will surely be one of the goals of the entire tournament.
After streaking down the left side, Duka held the ball up on the outside of the box to look to cross. Noticing the Cameroon keeper was slightly out of position, Duka managed to hit an extraordinary left-footed chip that found its way just inside the far post.
"It was a pretty nice goal. I received the ball from Brek Shea and got it down the line, then a [defender] came over to pressure me," the former Scarlet Knight recalled. "I was seeing the coaches on the bench [signaling that] the keeper is out. I decided to chip one and it went in."
"When I chipped it, it was flying high and saw the path where the ball was going and thought, 'alright it's in.'. It was a great goal, I'm very happy and it put us up [3-0]. I'm excited"
After proving to be an impact player for the USA team, Duka will surely be the subject of interest by the numerous club scouts that are watching him and his USA teammates in this World Cup.
After leaving the Rutgers University team in the spring to explore professional opportunities, Duka attempted to sign with the New York Red Bulls of MLS only to see league rules prevent the signing.
Currently without a club, Duka will certainly have several options after the tournament. For now, however, he remains focused only on helping the USA team advance into the knockout rounds of the World Cup.
"I'll definitely be getting some looks after that, but we've got to play hard and win more games," Duka admitted. "Hopefully from there I could play somewhere in Europe or in MLS. I don't know yet."
"Right now I'm just worried about the next game. After this I just don't know. I'm probably going to go home and hopefully go pro. But right now I'm just looking forward to the next game."
Duka will now lead a confident USA team into their final group game on Friday against a formidable South Korean team.
"Our confidence is up and we're just looking forward to getting out of the group."