BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The youth of the United States national team shined on Wednesday night as Mikkel Diskerud and Juan Agudelo combined for the game winning goal in the 85th minute to give the US a victory over South Africa in Cape Town.

Coming into today's game against South Africa, the US national team was not given much of a shot given the inexperienced roster that head coach Bob Bradley had selected. South Africa, on the other hand, were bringing a strong team.

But the young American players would be up for the task.

In the starting lineup, New York Red Bulls rookie defender Tim Ream was given the start in central defense for his first cap. Also, Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj earned the start for his second cap.

The backline was tested from the onset but limited South Africa to few dangerous scoring opportunities.

South Africa's best chance of the first half was in the 20th minute after Ream was beaten by Bernard Parker but Guzan was able to close down on Parker and make a nice save from short distance.

Two minutes later, the US had their best chance of the half when Lichaj moved into the attack and slid a pass back to Eddie Gaven just off the end line.

Gaven found an open Robbie Rogers who unleashed a powerful shot from 18 yards that South African keeper Itumeleng Khune had to make a diving stop to his right.

At halftime, Bradley removed Jonathan Bornstein for Jonathan Spector and also replaced an ineffective Robbie Findley for Teal Bunbury who made his US debut after representing Canada at the youth levels.

The US attack became more organized as a result. In the 55th minute, Bunbury unleashed a shot after receiving a pass from Lichaj. The shot, however, was right at Khune who made the save.

In the 60th minute, South Africa subbed off an ineffective Davide Somma who was making his South African debut. The forward made headlines before the match stating that he wanted to "destroy the US" because he felt slighted that he was never given a chance by the US. It was an odd claim given that he is only a greencard holder and not an actual US citizen.

Also in the 60th minute, Bradley subbed Juan Agudelo into the match for Rogers. It was the first cap for the 17 year old Colombian born Agudelo.

The Bafana Bafana continued to push forward in the attack but were constantly turned away by the US defense.

Bradley then injected even more attack-minded youth in the 76th minute when he brought on 20 year old Mikkel Diskerud who currently plays for Stabaek in Norway.

In the 85th minute, Bradley's substitutions would pay huge dividends when Diskerud collected the ball inside the box and made a great pass through the South African defense that connected with an onrushing Agudelo.

The New York Red Bull was able to shoot with the outside of his right foot past Khune, off the inside of the crossbar and into the net.

With the goal, Agudelo became the youngest player to ever score for the US national team.

In the final minutes, the US fended off the South African attack and the American defense was bolstered by US U20 national team captain Gale Agbossoumonde who, like the others, made his international debut when he came on in the 88th minute.

With the win, the US closed out their 2010 year with an introduction of the talent that Bradley will be using moving forward.

Agudelo, Diskerud, Lichaj, and Ream, whom all played, stand to be regulars with the team moving forward.

After finding out whether or not their bid to host the 2022 World Cup is successful in just a little more than 16 days, the US will next take on Chile in a friendly at the Home Depot Center on January 22nd.
Thursday November 18, 2010 6:23 pm
Good comments by Jeff. Diskerud looked good in his short time. Bunbury looked good. We don't have a "back to the goal" forward who does the dirty work. With our best qualifty for the full National Team on the wings and in the midfield, a forward who can control the long ball is critical to the team's play. Bunbury showed flashes of these qualities. Findlley's problem is as much that he is a square peg in a round hole in a 4-5-1. I agree there are better options but he would fit better in a traditional 4-4-2. However, I think Spector is too young to be thrown under the bus. He got torched by Paul Scholes and now Avram Grant does not even put him on the bench. He wasn't the first to be beaten by the Man U legend. However, if I were a betting person, I would make a lot of money betting against Avram Grant making the right choices. Hopefully, Spector will get a transfer in January and we will see if he has the stuff many thought he did as a younger player. Playing time always helps.
Thursday November 18, 2010 6:58 am
Bam! That was the sound of Juan Agudelo slamming the door on Robbie Findley's national team career. Good showing by the youngsters today.
Thursday November 18, 2010 12:18 am
Finally got around to watching the game. Few thoughts:

-Lichaj looked great. Might be a head-case though.
-Guzan looked great.
-Bedoya looked good.
-Rogers looked pretty good.
-Bornstein is Bornstein. Not great, but serviceable if he's not against a great winger.
-Spector can't cut it at this level
-Goodson doesn't seem good enough at this level
-Findley is just not good.
-Gaven actually looked decent... Pause looked okay, but I don't think he's worthwhile at this level.
-Agudelo (17!) looked promising, and his goal was a great finish. We always need more finishers.
-Burnbury looked promising too, but didn't "wow" me or anything.
-I've always love Mix Diskerud, and he didnt get much run, but he sure as hell didn't disappoint. The goal was all him.
-No one else made any impression on me.
-I wish we had seen more of Agbossoumonde, but he's still young and has plenty of time

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