Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


U.S. 1, ARGENTINA 1

Eighteen-year-old substitute Juan Agudelo scored from close range off a goalmouth scramble in the 59th minute and the U.S. National Team came back to tie Argentina, 1-1, in a friendly at the new Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, before a record sellout crowd of 78,936.

The Argentines, ranked No. 4 to the USA’s No. 19, thoroughly dominated the first half.  Held at bay by goalkeeper Tim Howard, who made a number of difficult saves, they finally broke through three minutes before halftime when veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso scored.  FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, a threat throughout the evening, weaved his way through the U.S. defense and pulled the ball back through the legs of U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra for forward Angel Di Maria, whose shot from five yards was kick-saved by Howard, only for Cambiasso to run onto the loose ball and drill it home from seven.

The Americans managed to turn the tide, somewhat, in the second half, and nearly an hour into the game they got level.  Landon Donovan drove a free kick from the right to the head of Bocanegra, whose shot was fumbled by Argentine goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, and Agudelo, a New York Red Bulls rookie, was on the spot to squeeze a shot inside the left post from a yard out.  [March 26]

Comment:  The talk at the end of the game was about Agudelo and his second goal in three international appearances.  The Colombian-born kid has a way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath with another very young opportunist, Javier Hernandez of Manchester United.  Chicharito has scored an amazing 14 goals in 21 appearances for Mexico since early 2010, including two in a 3-1 win over Paraguay the afternoon of the U.S.-Argentina match.

The talk should be centered on the USA’s starting defense of Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Bocanegra and the newly added Jermaine Jones.   Turned inside out again and again, one has to wonder how this U.S. defense would fare against another top-level opponent, in a competitive match, away from home.

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