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US Breaks Winless Streak, Defeats South Africa 1-0

On Wednesday in Cape Town, a very youthful US Men’s National soccer team defeated the South African national team 1-0 in the Mandela Cup international friendly.   It was the first win for the Coach Bob Bradley since the 2010 World Cup.  Since being ousted from the 2010 World Cup by Ghana this summer, the USMNT has lost to Brazil and drawn with Poland and Colombia in international friendly competition. 

And a Child Shall Lead Them

The match between the USMNT and South Africa was scoreless late into the match.  But 17 year-old Juan Agudelo, who plays forward for the NY Red Bulls of MLS, took a piece from fellow national team debutante Mikkel Diskerud and notched the game-winner in the 85th minute.  Agudelo, who turns 18 next week, is the youngest ever goal-scorer for the US. 

Coach Bradley also gave debuts to KC Wizard’s forward Teal Bunbury and the NASL’s Miami FC defender Gale Agbossoumonde,  who is currently on loan to Portuguese side Estoril as substitutes, and Agudelo’s Red Bulls teammate, Tim Ream of St. Louis, started on the backline for Bradley.  Brad Guzan, who wore the captain’s armband for the USMNT, gained the shutout in goal for the USMNT.  Celtic backup goalkeeper Dominic Cervi received his first USMNT call-up but did not see action.

South Africa were the dominant team in front of 55,000 fans during the first 20 minutes of the match, but could not cash in on their opportunities.  Davide Somma, the Leeds United striker who grew up in the United States but chose to play internationally for the nation of his birth, was a force, as was Everton’s Steven Pienaar.  Robbie Rogers of the Columbus Crew had the best scoring chance for the USMNT in the 1st half, but South African World Cup goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune made the save.

The USMNT played better in the second half.  Teal Bunbury, the KC Wizards’ youngster, added some spark to the US attack, getting off a shot that Khune handled rather easily.  But the USMNT kept up their attacking ways, and finally they paid off when Agudelo settled Diskerud’s pass nicely and coolly knocked in a six-yard shot.

A good win for very inexperienced  US squad against a determined and more experienced Bafana Bafana team.  Next up for the USMNT is the recently announced friendly with Chile on January 22 at the Home Depot Center.

Notes:  It looks like the long-rumored news that USMNT World Cup defender Jay DeMerit will sign with the MLS expansion Vancouver Whitecaps for the 2011 season has become final. 

US Starting Lineup:  Guzan, Lichaj, Goodson, Ream, Bornstein, Bedoya, Carroll, Pause Gaven, Rogers, Findley  Subs Used:  Bunbury, Spector, Agudelo, Diskerud, Borchers, Agbossoumonde


2 Responses

  1. Winless Steak? Your title has a funny typo… I have an unbeaten egg, if you like.

    And isn’t that young Mr. Agudelo something else!? What a future he has in front of him.

  2. Thanks for informing me about the typo. I make more than my share but generally catch them…I’m firing the editor.

    I agree about Agudelo…I enjoy seeing these young players get a chance.

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