Hot shot: Juan Agudelo had the Home Depot center crowd – and U.S. soccer fans – buzzing with his performance Saturday against Chile in Carson (AP Photo).
Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo had an immediate impact on Saturday’s U.S.-Chile game when the pair of youngsters came on as second half substitutes.
It was just the second international ever for both, following up on their debuts last November against South Africa. In that game Agudelo scored; on Saturday Bunbury got the goal, off a penalty kick won by Agudelo.
On the field and off the pair are already developing a close rapport:
“We just try to feed off each other,” Bunbury said. “I love playing with him. We have a special bond on and off the field. We’re really close and it’s only growing.”
“We just started clicking,” he added. “We have the same tendencies a little bit and we’re just trying to make each other better. … Since South Africa we’ve become close friends, we get along really well and it shows on the pitch.”
And it was fun to watch.
Still, it was clear to me, and most other observers I’ve spoken to, that Agudelo exhibits the most potential of the two.
So, while I tried to avoid ramping up the hype too much, Agudelo was the focus of today’s column.
Also, the USWNT beat host China today to win the Four Nations Tournament on goal difference.
Notable: The U.S. took 11 shots in the game, while China managed just four.
“It’s so much more fun to win,” said U.S. Coach Pia Sundhage. “We took some good things from the loss to Sweden, and that’s one of the reasons we stepped up a little bit against Canada. We took certain things from the 2-1 win against Canada and I think today we ended up controlling the game.”
The U.S. lineup: Nicole Barnhart, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy LePeilbet (Stephanie Cox, 42), Christie Rampone (capt.), Rachel Buehler (Meghan Klingenberg, 82); Tobin Heath, Shannon Boxx (Yael Averbuch, 46), Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly; Lauren Cheney (Megan Rapinoe, 46), Amy Rodriguez (Alex Morgan, 71)