The U.S. mens national team will play its final game of 2010 today when it takes on South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup at beautiful Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. (2:30pm, ESPN2).
New faces Juan Agudelo, Mikkel Diskerud, Teal Bunbury and Tim Ream are just some of the youngsters who could make their USA debuts today against a tough South African squad led by Steven Pienaar.
I will be providing commentary on todays match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Todays commentary is after the jump):
FINAL- So many good performances.
Agudelo, Diskerud, Ream, Bedoya, Lichaj, Goodson and Guzan all did well. Not many bad ones to be honest. Robbie Findley was certainly one, while Jonathan Bornstein and Jonathan Spector also struggled.
Still, the match and result is an impressive one for this young American team, and serves notice that there is actually quite a bit of good young talent on the way up the pipeline.
Thats all for me folks. Thanks for following along and please feel free to share your post-game thoughts in the comments section below.
FINAL- USA 1, South Africa 0. A great win for the USA, led by several impressive youngsters.
Agudelo with a goal, Diskerud with the assist. Lichaj with a great game, Bedoya with a very good showing.
Agudelo became the youngest player to ever score for the U.S. national team.
93rd Minute- Yes folks, Juan Agudelo is only 17, turns 18 next week. Got his birthday present early.
89th Minute- South Africa is in desperation mode now, trying to find an equalizer.
Nice goal dance from Agudelo by the way. The vets are on notice. They need to step their dance game up.
87th Minute- Agbossoumonde replaced Goodson, is teamed with Borchers in central defense.
86th Minute- Great, great sequence, with Diskerud collecting the ball from Agudeo, showing poise and touch to find a streaking Agudelo, who took a touch and calmly hit it with a clever finish. Wow.
Gale Agbossoumonde is coming in, on his 19th birthday at that.
84th Minute- GOAL USA!!!!! JUAN AGUDELO WITH THE FINISH OFF A GREAT PASS FROM DISKERUD!!!!!!
82nd Minute- South Africa with another wasted corner kick.
USA needs its midfield to start feeding Bunbury and Agudelo, who have been left alone up top the past ten minutes.
80th Minute- Diskerud is a creative central midfielder. It will be interesting to see how much he has matured since he was a frail U.S. Under-20 midfielder two years ago.
79th Minute- Diskerud has replaced Bedoya, who had a very strong game today.
Pienaar has left the match.
76th Minute- Here comes Mikkel Diskerud. Another intriguing debut today.
74th Minute- Would love to see Agudelo and Bedoya playing with more first-team USA players. Lichaj as well.
71st Minute- Pienaar pounces on a Spector turnover and earns a corner after shooting wide.
69th Minute- USA defense has been very organized in the second half. Carroll and Pause are forcing South Africa to go wide with their attacks, better than in the first half.
67th Minute- Lichaj with another winning tackle on Tshabala. hes owned him tonight.
Nat Borchers coming on for Tim Ream, who had a very solid debut. He can be proud, and some skeptics should probably start giving him some credit finally.
66th Minute- Is that a USA chant Im hearing at Green Point Stadium? There certainly are Americans living in Cape Town, so it could be.
63rd Minute- Americans playing much better right now. South Africa doesnt look very inspired, but the young U.S. team is playing with some good energy.
60th Minute- Somma is subbed off. He wont be missed by USA fans.
Juan Agudelo is coming in for his first U.S. national team appearance, replaces Rogers.
59th Minute- Somma tries another dive after actually putting a nice move on in the area. He might want to give it up.
56th Minute- Gaven tries a shot, but it doesnt really trouble the keeper either. USA with some good possession here in the second half.
55th Minute- Bunbury with a shot, doesnt test the keeper much, but nice turn by him after a good pass from Lichaj.
52nd Minute- Nice sequence between Bunbury and Bedoya, who almost hit Gaven with a nice ball.
Bunbury already looks better than Findley.
51st Minute- Ream with a nice challenge on Somma, but gets called for the foul. Not sure about that call.
50th Minute- Bedoya is back. Looks okay.
48th Minute- Bedoya is down, appears to have been hit in the face.
46th Minute- We are back.
HALFTIME- Bunbury is about to come on, likely for Findley. Spector replaces Bornstein at left back.
HALFTIME- Considering Pause and Carroll havent won the ball much, and Findley couldnt hold the ball much, the U.S. defense has held up well under pressure from South Africa.
HALFTIME- Bob Bradley just said he expects Teal Bunbury to come in, and Agudelo will come in after that, though he could come in at halftime as well. Jonathan Spector will also be coming in.
HALFTIME- USA 0, South Africa 0.
Americans can feel good about that first half. Some very good showings. Lichaj, Goodson, Guzan, Bedoya all looked good. Rogers has also shown some flashes and Tim Ream has been very solid in his debut.
46th Minute- Maybe its just me but David Somma is easy to dislike as a player.
Which forward will we see first, Juan Agudelo or Teal Bunbury?
42nd Minute- Nice run from Rogers, who puts a cross in to Bedoya, but Bedoya cant really get a good head on it.
41st Minute- Lichaj commits a foul. South Africa is consistently going at him. Hes holding up well.
39th Minute- Good stuff from Clarence Goodson today.
37th Minute- There is NO way Robbie Findley will score today. None. (Im putting my jinx powers to the ultimate test. May be asking too much).
33rd Minute- Lichaj gets a yellow for a late tackle on Tshabalala.
32nd Minute- Former MLS player Shaun Bartlett on the broadcast.
Good point by him. Lichaj has neutralized Tshabala so far.
30th Minute- USA corner kick. Eric Lichaj earns it.
27th Minute- Findley actually looks worse today than he did at the World Cup. Didnt think that was possible. On the bright side, it will make Juan Agudelos insertion all the more exciting.
26th Minute- USA free kick. Gaven and Rogers standing over it. Rogers gets his shot blocked.
Bedoya is looking good today.
24th Minute- Lord knows this USA team has nobody ho could be considered a threat in the penalty area.
22nd Minute- SAVE SOUTH AFRICA!! Eric Lichaj with a nice run forward, finds Gaven, who finds Rogers for a blast saved well. Good sequence for USA.
20th Minute- SAVE GUZAN!!! Stops a Bernard Parker shot after Parker raced passed Ream to get to a Pienaar pass. Still 0-0.
19th Minute- A Logan Pause turnover leads to a breakout for South Africa but the USA defense recovers.
17th Minute- Tshabalala skies a long free kick. Hes coming back from an injury, but still looks pretty dangerous.
13th Minute- SAVE GUZAN!! Makes a clutch stop on a South Africa shot that looked offside.
12th Minute- Some folks on Twitter were asking if the referee was Koman Coulibaly, who reffed the USA-Slovenia match. NO, it isnt him.
10th Minute- Tshabalalas speed is going cause problems today.
David Somma just dove looking for a penalty. Americans dont dive so its probably good he isnt with the USA (yes, I realize Eddie Gaven is on the field. Shhh).
9th Minute- You get the feeling Robbie Findley will re-live his World Cup experience by not scoring and coming out at halftime.
7th Minute- Ream with a good pass from deep early on. He looks comfortable in his first cap.
Lichaj vs. Tshabalala will be a good match-up to watch as well.
6th Minute- Neither team really taking charge early in this feeling-out period.
2nd Minute- The Pienaar-Bornstein battle will be one to watch, as will Somma-Ream.
Davide Somma grew up in Florida after being born in South Africa, and considered playing for the USA but wasnt close to being eligible. Hes been talking a lot of trash about being overlooked. Well see how he does.
1st Minute- We are underway, and the vuvuzelas are blowing.
PRE-GAME- Brad Guzan wears the armband today.
PRE-GAME- Looks as though Eddie Gaven will be slotted behind Robbie Findley, with Bedoya on the right, in a 4-4-2, at least thats what the broadcast is saying. Something tells me it will play more like a 4-2-3-1.
PRE-GAME- Here is South AFricas starting lineup:
PRE-GAME- A great night in Cape Town. Im sure Im not alone in wishing I could be back there. Amazing city.
PRE-GAME- The teams are on the field ahead of the match, which is going to kick off shortly.
PRE-GAME- Kick-off is slated for 2:30pm, so if you want to skip the ESPN pre-game you can ignore our earlier 2pm listing.
PRE-GAME- It will be interesting to watch the 4-5-1 operate. I would expect Bedoya to play centrally given that he has played there on the club level, while Logan Pause and Brian Carroll will have their hands full against a relentless South African midfield.
ï»¿PRE-GAME- Its a sell-out at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town today, meaning some youngsters, like Ream and Lichaj, will make their first starts in an intense and unforgettable environment.
PRE-GAME- Bob Bradley goes with a 4-5-1 today, withFindley up top and the midfield trio of Alejandro Bedoya, Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers working behind him.
SBI MLS Rookie of the Year Tim Ream gets the start in his first appearance, edging out MLS Best XI defender Nat Borchers for the right to start alongside veteran Clarence Goodson.
Teen striker Juan Agudelo doesnt get the start, but he should get some good minutes today, as should Teal Bunbury.
PRE-GAME- Here is the USA starting lineup: