A young U.S. men’s national team rallied to tie Chile, 1-1, on Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson (CA) in its first game of the year. The game kicks off a campaign aimed first at recapturing the CONCACAF Gold Cup that it lost last year to Mexico and also to develop a squad to return to the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil.
Esteban Paredes gave Chile the lead in the 53rd minute on a shot from close range, but it took substitutes Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury, both playing in their second internationals, to combine for the equalizer in the 75th minute. Agudelo, the young New Jersey forward who plays for the New Red Bulls in MLS, got behind the Chilean defense and was fouled by Francisco Silva in the penalty box. Bunbury went on to score his first international goal.
“From the start of this camp we talked about how international games are faster so our movement needs to be better and things need to be cleaner,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “For the past few weeks we tried to establish an idea of what that’s like and today that’s exactly what we got. We had seven guys get their first cap tonight, so that’s always positive. When you have a young group of guys in camp, at the end of everything you want to put it to the test and it gives you a good picture of where these guys are, and I think that part was excellent.”
Among those who made their international debuts were defenders Sean Franklin and Zach Lloyd, midfielder Jeff Larentowicz and forward Chris Wondolowski. goalkeeper Sean Johnson, Anthony Wallace and Eric Alexander. Lloyd was Man of the Match. Experience came from midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, with seven appearances, and captain for the day Dax McCarty in his fifth international.
Building up near the center of the pitch, Agudelo played a great give-and-go with Bedoya near the top of the penalty area. Getting the ball back, Agudelo carried the ball past one defender but was tripped up by Chilean defender Francisco Silva. Referee Francisco Chacon Gutierrez did not hesitate to point to the spot, and Bunbury finished the ensuing to his right.
The U.S. next plays against Egypt in Cairo on Feb. 9. (ESPN). After Egypt will be a March 26 date with Argentina at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Three days later, the U.S. hosts Paraguay at LP Field in Nashville (TN).
U.S. Women Win
The U.S. women’s national team beat Canada, 2-1, in the 2011 Four Nations tournament in Chongqing, China last Sunday. Sweden and China are the other teams in the tournament. The Americans got goals from Lauren Cheney (53rd) and Lindsay Tarpley (70th) to hand Canada its first loss in its last 11 games.
Melissa Tancredi (56th) scored for Canada. The win puts the U.S. back in contention for the title after it lost to Sweden on Friday. The U.S. result meant that all the teams in the tournament have lost a game.
China PR defeated Sweden 2-1 in the ealier match on Sunday, and Canada defeated China on the opening day, Friday. The U.S. could win to tournament with a win against China and draw between Canada and Sweden.
“You have to look at two things from the game, attitude over 90 minutes, which we emphasized after the Sweden game, and I think we brought that to this game, but also smartness,” said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. “We kept possession with our two center
The U. S. is preparing for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, June 26-July 17 in Germany; the other nations qualified for the 16-team World Cup are host Germany, Korea DPR, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Norway, France, England, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil and Colombia.
Cantona To Cosmos
Manchester United legend, Frenchman Eric Cantona, has been named director of soccer for the revived New York Cosmos, which hopes to be the 20th franchise in MLS. Former U.S. international midfielder and Los Angeles Galaxy performer, Cobi Jones, was named as his assistant.
The 44-year-old Cantona, who won four Premier League titles with Manchester United in the 1990s, commented on his new position. “It’s a big project, a wonderful project,” Cantona said. “The Cosmos are very strong, beautifully made, with a great past. It’s kind of a mix between football and art.
Cantona continued, “I will do everything that I can to help us first find our way to regain the No. 1 position in the United States, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world over the coming years.”
The Cosmos was a team of mega stars in the old North American Soccer league in the 1970s and ‘80s. The legendary Brazilian Pele lead a lineup of world stars such as Franz Beckenbauer, Calos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia, Ramon Mifflin and Jomo Sono, among them.