Young Guns: Mix, Boss and Agudelo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | View Comments
HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 27: Juan Agudelo #39 of the New York Red Bulls plays the ball against the Philadelphia Union during the US Open Cup qualifying match on April 27, 2010 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Red Bulls defeated the Union 2-1. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

A Norweigan-language report popped up today that indicates midfielder Mikkel Diskerud has been called up by Bob Bradley for next week's friendly in South Africa. Combined with Ives' note today that both Juan Agudelo and Gale Agbossoumonde are the discussion to be there too, and it looks like the roster could have a strong streak of youth.

Which is not surprising considering the timing of the game, the length of the trip, or the need to give some players a break. Certain MLSers we might like to see (not including Donovan) are unavailable: no Wondolowski, no Gonzalez, no Shea. No Bobby Convey, either, if you're in the camp that believes he deserves a recall.

A young lineup, in a game that doesn't really mean much and might prove a definite test for the kids (South Africa's roster includes most of their big guns). The problem, of which I'm sure Bradley is eminently aware, is in the potential in having the youngsters steamrolled by more experience players. Agudelo and Agbossumonde are promising talents, but all the factors involved in a National Team debut can be hard to overcome.

Nevertheless, it's worth the chance to blood a few new players. The trip itself is long and the prep time short - training time will be minimal - but with other options stretched, better for Bradley to take the likes of Diskerud, Agudelo, and Agbossoumonde than fringe players or those who have already shown what they can do. From a purely fan-interest standpoint, new names is much better than retreads.

Add in the possible/likely inclusions of Ream, Lichaj, and Bedoya, and the team in South Africa will have a very green color to it.

Besides simply looking young, Bradley could have ulterior motives in the case of Diskerud, who has played at the youth level for both Norway and the United States. A cap in South Africa might (would? I'm still hazy on what constitutes a binding match) seal the deal for Diskerud to play his international soccer in red, white, and blue.

Both Agudelo and Agbossoumonde have dual-citizenship as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with the three players in question, a brief bio on each.

Juan Agudelo - The one you probably know the most about if you watch MLS. A 17 year-old striker, Agudelo is a product of the Red Bulls system. He was just named to the US U-20 roster for a tournament in Georgia by Thomas Rongen, and featured during the U-20's run to the Milk Cup title in Northern Ireland this summer. Agudelo was born in Colombia and moved to New York at the age of eight.

Mikkel Diskerud - The 20 year-old Diskerud, nicknamed "Mix", plays his club ball in Norway with Stabæk. His father is Norwegian and his mother is American. He has represented both countries as a youth international, and has stated in the past a he'd play for whichever nation called him up first for their senior team. He can play anywhere in the midfield, and played on the US U-20 World Cup team last year. Of the three names mentioned today, he's certainly the most experienced professional by a wide margin.

Gale Agbossoumonde - Though it would be slightly more surprising to see the 19 year-old (the day of the friendly is his 20th birthday) "Boss" in South Africa than Diskerud and Agudelo, the young central defender has clear potential. Along with Agudelo, he impressed during the Milk Cup title run in Northern Ireland. Agbossumonde is late of Portuguese side Sporting Braga, but is currently without a club after Braga passed on making his loan from Miami FC permanent. Agbossoumonde is also on Rogen's Torneo las Americans U-20 roster. He was born in Togo and moved to the US at age 8.

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