Photo by ISIPhotos.com
Juan Agudelo's birthday is six days away, but he got his best present a week early, scoring the game-winning goal to help the U.S. men's national team top South Africa in exhibition action in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Fellow debutant Mikkel Diskerud worked a give-and-go with Agudelo, who took a touch in the penalty area before coolly chipping a shot off the bottom of the crossbar for the only goal of the match.
The goal made Agudelo the youngest player to ever score a goal for the U.S. men's national team.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, the captain for the young U.S. side, preserved the shutout with a handful of clutch first-half saves.
On a night when five players made their U.S. national team debut, every one of the newcomers made a positive impression. Along with Agudelo and Diskerud, Tim Ream was solid as a solid central defender, while Teal Bunbury played the target forward role well for 45 minutes. Gale Agbossoumonde came on in the 87th minute and helped hold the lead.
It wasn't just the newcomers who impressed. Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and right back Eric Lichaj were standouts on the right flank for the Americans, while veteran centerback Clarence Goodson was a rock in the middle of the defense.
Not all performances were good. Robbie Findley floundered yet again as a starting forward, while Jonathan Spector struggled at left back, as did starting left back Jonathan Bornstein.
The U.S. national team ends the year on a high note and will return to action in January against Chile, a game that could feature several of the same players who played in today's victory.
What did you think of the victory? Ready to order your Agudelo jersey? Excited for the future of the national team?
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