While there were certainly a lot of bright spots for the United States in last night's match - Brek Shea's continuing to emerge as a star in the making, Oguchi Onyewu turning in a solid performance at center back, Timmy Chandler showing himself to be a capable left back, and the dependable Clint Dempsey turning in his typical gritty performance - the one glaring issue remains: We cannot score goals. And more than that, we just don't seem to possess gifted goal scorers up top.
|Photo Credit: thesoccerhooligan.com|
Let's look beyond the two icons we have. The U.S. has a pair of promising young strikers in Jozy Altidore (age 21) and Juan Agudelo (age 18). Altidore scored 8 National Team goals before his 20th birthday, but has only scored 4 since then - he turns 22 next month. He was notably shut out during the World Cup and has struggled overseas scoring just 6 times in his first three years in Europe spending the majority of his time out on loan. But he may be turning the corner after signing with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar this season. He's already tallied 7 goals for his new side, 4 in the Europa League and 3 more in league play. He's probably the closest thing to a true striker that we have right now, but he's going to need to be more of a factor in games for the U.S. and make himself into a difference maker. Agudelo, is obviously physically gifted, but at 18 he's still pretty raw. There's no questioning his effort when he's on the field, and we've already seen that translate into goals against South Africa and Argentina, but a lot of his effort is wasted and he hasn't been able to generate as many chances as we'd like. Still, we can't lose site of the fact that he's still REALLY young. And in his first full season in MLS he's scored six goals for the Red Bulls. Plus, playing with someone like Thierry Henry can only help his development.
|Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com|
Davies, pictured below, is an intriguing option at 25 who was previously very much in the National Team picture before a horrific 2009 car accident left him with a lacerated bladder, fractured right tibia and femur, a fractured elbow, multiple facial fractures, and bleeding on the brain. He's still not all the way back, but with 11 goals in MLS this season, that's certainly encouraging. Wondo, while a great story scoring 32 goals the last two MLS seasons, has appeared hopelessly overmatched at the International Level so consider him a non-factor. Remember Roy Lassiter? Think him. There are some other possibilities out there as well with guys like Teal Bunbury still in the picture, and you can't forget ex-MLSer Edson Buddle who has a pair of two-goal games for his German Club FC Ingolstadt within the past month. But let's face it, the talent pool is thin.
|Photo Credit: zimbio.com|
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