New England Soccer Today

Agudelo to the Rescue

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Juan Agudelo’s 59th minute strike gave the United States a 1-1 draw against mighty Argentina Saturday night before a record crowd of 78,396 at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Agudelo, who’s goal arrived just before the hour, leveled the score after Estaban Cambiasso gave Argentina in the 42nd minute. The Colombian-American’s goal was the second international goal of his career after he scored in his international debut last November against South Africa.

The Americans wasted little time forcing the issue against their formidable opponents. In the fourth minute, Clint Dempsey tested Mariano Andujar with a shot on goal that the keeper stoutly stopped.

But shortly thereafter, the best player in the world – Lionel Messi – threatened the Yanks with a shot that detoured outside of the left post in the 12th minute.

With La Albiceleste attacking at will as the half came to a close, it was none other than Messi who set up the opening salvo. Pitted deep inside the American end, the shifty striker sent a tricky ball back to Angel DiMaria, who’s shot was initially swatted by Tim Howard. But Cambiasso claimed the rebound and blasted through for the 1-0 lead going in to halftime.

Down a goal entering the second half, Bob Bradley inserted Agudelo into the attack. The move proved to be a masterstroke.

Less than fifteen minutes after he was called upon to energize the attack, the teen sensation pounced on a loose ball on Andujar’s doorstep and put it through to triumphantly level the scales in front of the massive New Meadowlands crowd.

Both clubs looked poised to grab the decider in the final half-hour. DiMaria nearly found it minutes later when he took advantage of a Jay DeMerit giveaway before the defender made a last-second tackle to deny the Real Madrid midfielder.

At the 73rd minute, Agudelo came close to clinching it when he nodded a dangerous ball on frame that was saved by Andujar.

A final opportunity to break the tie came in the closing minutes when Messi broke through the American defense. But the hovered over the bar as the gritty Americans secured a hard-fought draw against the fourth-ranked football power.

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