- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 21, 2011
- 0 Comments
- Bob Bradley, Chile, Juan Agudelo, US National Team
January friendlies are always about one thing, an eye on the future. This has never been more true than this year with head coach Bob Bradley calling an extremely young squad into camp ahead of the friendly this weekend in LA against Chile. This young group has an average age of 23.4 years!
The lack of experience on the international stage should be expected though from some of this bunch. With no Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Michael Bradley or Stuart Holden in camp Bradley is hoping this young bunch can give him an indication of what is to become of US Soccer over the next couple of years.
For Bradley he will be in his element. I’ve already heard reports that training has been going well and players are doing good. Bradley loves coaching young players, he’s always been good at it I think. With the pressures of a World Cup year off his back teaching the young players like he enjoys.
This is the first step in a four-year plan for Bradley. The young squad will be about building depth and finding hidden gems that can be brought into the main squad right away for this summer’s vital Gold Cup.
January friendlies in the past have seen the likes of Sacha Kljestan go from just a Chivas USA player to a hat-trick scorer in 2009. Last year we saw Alejandro Bedoya go from a little unknown player in a Swedish league to a rising National team star.
So who am I hoping to see break through here this weekend against Chile? For one I want to see the continued growth of New York Red Bulls striker Juan Agudelo. His goal against South Africa back in November was special but we need to see more from the kid as we move forward. This is an excellent chance to do just that.
Hopefully we’ll also see growth in the defense with guys like Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream. With few veterans on this squad it will be time for others to step up like FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea.
Chile won’t be an easy team to beat even if they are sending a relative “B” squad of their own. With as many fresh faces as the US squad, the young Chilian squad will be looking to impress their coach as well as they head into the new calendar year.
What are you hoping to see tomorrow night against Chile? Any new USMNT players out there than you’re hoping to see shine? Think we stand a good chance to beat Chile?