SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 30: Juan Agudelo  of the New York Red Bulls and Ramiro Corrales  of the San Jose Earthquakes go for the ball during the 1st leg of their playoff match up at Buck Shaw Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

San Jose shocked New York 3-1 at Red Bull Arena last night, thanks to a pair of goals from Bobby Convey and a well placed header by Chris Wondolowski.  Despite playing at home with a 1-0 aggregate lead, New York came up short against a determined Earthquakes team.  The Red Bulls controlled much of the game and a majority of the possession, but defensive lapses ultimately doomed them.

While Convey stole the show for the victors and New York's stars faded in the spotlight, the story of the game, at least for non-partisans watching at home, was 17 year-old Juan Agudelo.  The Red Bull academy product and native of Colombia had USMNT fans abuzz with his attacking verve and obvious confidence.  The kid appears to be a star in the making.

Coming off of an MVP performance at the Milk Cup with the US U-20s earlier this summer, Agudelo has taken giant strides in his development.  Though he was forced into playoff duty due to injuries, he performed beyond expectations for a player so young.  There are shades of Jozy Altidore (though Jozy was younger) in Agudelo's early maturity.

As for the National Team noise, a bit of restraint is in order.  Though Agudelo is well beyond his years in terms of strength and technical ability, he is nonetheless a teenager with 7 professional appearances to his name.  A lack of US options at the forward position might dictate he get a senior call-up sooner rather than later, but a short resume and a two strong playoff performances don't exactly scream for inclusion now.  Agudelo has yet to score as a pro.

Add his name to the watch list, and certainly take heart in the fact that there's young talent in the pipeline, but there's not much reason to rush a player still learning how be a professional.

San Jose Earthquakes' Chris Wondolowski (L) heads the ball to score a goal past New York Red Bulls' Tim Ream (5) and Roy Miller (C) during the second half of their Major League Soccer (MLS) Eastern Conference Semi Finals playoff match at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey November 4, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

On the opposite end of the experience spectrum is a possible USMNT call-up who did score: Chris Wondolowski.  While Agudelo could use some seasoning before he figured into Bob Bradley's plans, the head coach has absolutely no reason not to call Wondo into the team at the earliest opportunity.  Though San Jose advancing means that Wondolowski is eliminated from consideration for the US trip to South Africa, the Quakes striker's recent body of work makes a January camp appearance mandatory.  Should Wondo show well then, he should get his shot with the full team shortly thereafter.

Wondolowski is a classic "late bloomer" in the typically American mold.  Whether it took till 27 for him to find his goal scoring touch because of a lack of opportunity or simply because his skills developed over his early-twenties doesn't really matter; he's scoring now, American strikers are going through a serious drought, and Bob Bradley should give him a look.


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