[SOUTH AFRICA-USA] The USA beat South Africa, 1-0, in Cape Town on Wednesday thanks to a goal by Juan Agudelo, who at age 17 became the youngest player in history to score for the U.S. national team.
The Colombian-born Agudelo, one of five players making their U.S. debut, volleyed home off the underside of the crossbar after receiving a return pass from 20-year-old Mikkel Diskerud, like Agudelo also a second-half sub and debutant.
Agudelo, who turns 18 on Nov. 23, replaced wide midfielder Robbie Rogers in the 60th minute.
In the 84th minute, Agudelo’s pass sent Diskerud into the penalty area. After a fine display of ball-handling, Diskerud delivered a pass that Agudelo, having sprinted toward the goal, took with his thigh and after a bounce volleyed it home from 6 yards out.
Agudelo, who had been a member of the New York Red Bulls youth academy team and part of the USA’s 2009 U-17 World Cup team, made his MLS debut with the New York Red Bulls in October and started both of the Bulls’ playoff games.
Born and raised in Norway, Diskerud debuted for Norwegian club Staebeck in 2009 and saw action in a UEFA Champions League game at age 18. He became a regular first-team starter with Staebeck this season.
After having played for Norway’s U-18 and U-19 national teams, Diskerud, whose mother is American, switched his allegiance to the USA and played for its U-20 national team.
Playing with a single forward, Robbie Findley in the first half and Teal Bunbury in the second, the USA rarely threatened before the Agudelo-Diskerud combo struck. Shots by Rogers, Eddie Gaven and Bunbury were on target but too close to keeper Itumeleng Khune.
Only right-sided midfielder Alejandro Bedoya had frequently troubled the South Africans, who for their part failed to exploit a slew of corner kicks.
Besides Diskerud and Agudelo, Bunbury and central defenders Gale Agbossoumonde and Tim Ream earned their first caps. Agbossoumonde came on with three minutes left. Ream started and performed well for 67 minutes before making way for Nat Borchers.
The win prevented the USA from finishing a year with a losing record for the first time since 1997. Coach Bob Bradley’s team compiled a 5-5-4 in 2010.
Nov. 17 in Cape Town
South Africa 0 USA 1.
Goal: Agudelo (Diskerud) 85.
South Africa -- Khune, Ngongca (Gaxa, 79), Mansilela, Gould, Sangweni, Dikgacoi (Jali, 60), Khuboni (Pattison, 88), Pienaar (Claasen, 79), Tshabalala, Somma (Ngcobo, 60), Parker.
USA -- Guzan, Lichaj, Goodson (Agbossoumonde, 87), Ream (Borchers, 67), Bornstein (Spector, 46), Pause, Carroll, Rogers (Agudelo, 61), Gaven, Bedoya (Diskerud, 79); Findley (Bunbury, 46)
STATS: South Africa-USA
Shots on goal: 4-4
Corner Kicks: 11-1.
Yellow Cards: Lichaj 33.
Referee: Sylvester Kirwa (Kenya).