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USA defeats South Africa, 1-0, on late goal by 17-year-old Juan Agudelo

By Steve Goff

Juan Agudelo, a 17-year-old reserve forward for the New York Red Bulls, scored late in his debut to provide the United States with a 1-0 victory over South Africa in a friendly in Cape Town.

Agudelo, who entered early in the second half, was set up for the 85th-minute goal by another first-time call-up, Mikkel Diskerud, a 20-year-old midfielder who has U.S. and Norwegian citizenship and plays for a club in Norway. Diskerud displayed clever footwork in tight space inside the penalty area before touching the ball to Agudelo, who settled neatly and stabbed a six-yard shot to the roof of the net.

In the team's last match of 2010, American Coach Bob Bradley used a young, inexperienced group and received quality performances from Agudelo, Diskerud, Kansas City forward Teal Bunbury, New York defender Tim Ream, Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj, Swedish-based wing Alejandro Bedoya and veteran goalkeeper Brad Guzan (Aston Villa).

Guzan 7; Lichaj 7, Goodson 6, Ream 6, Bornstein 5; Bedoya 7, Carroll 6, Pause 6, Gaven 5, Rogers 6; Findley 4. Reserves: Bunbury 6, Spector 5, Agudelo 7, Diskerud 7, Borchers 5, Agbossoumonde 5.

By Steve Goff  | November 17, 2010; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, South Africa, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  U.S. national soccer team  
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That 4 was pretty generous for Findley...what is Bradly's fascination with him?

Posted by: icehippo | November 17, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"He stretches the defense."

My personal nickname for him is "Oops" after Jim Hines.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 17, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Phrases I'm sick of hearing over and over again:

"Spector loses the ball", and
"Rogers dribbles into traffic"

Posted by: icehippo | November 17, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Goodson gets MOTM for keeping a very inexperience defense compact and in control. He didn't have to make too many plays because he had everyone else in good positions. Cramped a bit at the end and even that worked out so Boss could get a cap. BB would certainly say Clay was our most important player tonight and I'm sure Ream would say the same thing.

Posted by: euroman | November 17, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I'd give Lichaj an 8, he marked SA's biggest threat out of the game, and his yellow was undeserved/due to his tenacious play.

Posted by: Logan_Circle | November 17, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

the back four was helped by having 2 defensive mids sitting in front of them to snuff things out.

Posted by: bobbyoshea | November 17, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

bedoya played well. everytime i read a review of him it seems like the writer talks about his speed/pace. but i never really notice any extraordinary speed. he turned his man a few times with dummies tonight but was never really able to outrun him.

Posted by: bobbyoshea | November 17, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Bedoya 7? Seriously? Might not have played THAT badly but he has no business being anywhere near the national team. Same for Findley, Pause, and Gavin.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | November 17, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

To give it a more local flavor, notice how there is not one DC United player with even a sniff of the national team these days? Tino was the last, and that's been a few years I believe. Don't you miss the days when the back 4 could have very easily been Pope, Llamosa, Agoos and Sanneh? With Anklebiter at Dmid? What has happened to us?

Posted by: bdwooton | November 17, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Lichaj was my MOTM, followed by Goodson. But if Diskerud and Agudelo had played 90 minutes it would have been a harder decision.

Posted by: b18bolo | November 17, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Lichaj was my MOTM, followed by Goodson. But if Diskerud and Agudelo had played 90 minutes it would have been a harder decision.

Posted by: b18bolo | November 17, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Lichaj was my MOTM, followed by Goodson. But if Diskerud and Agudelo had played 90 minutes it would have been a harder decision.

Posted by: b18bolo | November 17, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

@bdwooton, don't give up hope. We can always pontificate about Pontius getting healthy, or better yet, Najar marrying one of the loyalist's daughters....

Posted by: DadRyan | November 17, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

@Dad -- More to the point, DC has the 3rd pick in the draft. That ought to produce someone with a real shot at the national team in a few years, if not sooner.

On this game -- Lichaj was pretty good, but he was getting toasted by speedy South Africans. He was able to recover, but mostly because they weren't good at taking advantage of their advantage. I'm sure Lichaj will lock down a starting slot eventually, but he's got some learning to do.

Agudelo, on the other hand, seems certain to be a real force on the USA team, perhaps even as soon as the 2014 squad.

Posted by: fischy | November 17, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't overlook Diskerud. His brilliance in the SA penalty area created Agudelo's goal. The USA attack moved into another gear after Diskerud entered the match. Bradley has given Findley enough rope to hang himself. Cut him down. He's done.

Posted by: runningcloud | November 18, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Lichaj 7?? He kept himself out of deep trouble by fouling everytime he was about to get smoked. He did get up the wing pretty well, but I agree with euroman, Goodson really stepped up...showed some attitude as well to the flopping SA forward.

Posted by: soccerman | November 18, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Bradley needs to give the regulars the year off and only play with younger/less experienced players for all of 2011. Everyone knows what donovan, bradley and howard can do. Let them stay with their clubs, and use 2011 as a year to test new players.

There was some good soccer last night; and Guzan needs to go somewhere to be a starter. He was great.

Posted by: hacksaw | November 18, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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