Donovan impressed by inexperienced US team

1-0 win over South Africa leaves Galaxy MF "encouraged"

CARSON,
Calif. – When the U.S. national team hit the field against South Africa
featuring a slew of young and inexperienced players, LA Galaxy
and U.S. star Landon Donovan wasn’t sure what to expect.

That
the Nats were able to handle the pressures of playing in a sold-out
stadium against a difficult team on the other side of the planet is one
thing –
that the Americans won makes it more startling.

“Given
the travel that everybody had to endure, the lack of familiarity not
only the players but with the coaching staff and then guys who just
don’t have
a lot of experience,” Donovan said, “I thought it was a great result.”

The
U.S. won 1-0 on a late goal by New York Red Bulls youngster Juan
Agudelo, who at 17 years of age became the youngest goalscorer in U.S. national team
history.

The
challenges for the Americans were vast, Donovan said. After all,
Jonathan Bornstein's 35 caps made him the most experienced player in the side. Five
players were making their international debut. Add the
inexperience and the untried lineup, and the challenges mount up.

“They
played well,” Donovan said. “It’s difficult when you have a few new
players in a team, much less… 12, 13, 14 and a lot playing on the field
at the
same time.”

Agudelo’s
club teammate, Tim Ream, was the only uncapped player to start the
match but Mikkel Diskerud, Gale Agbossoumonde and Teal Bunbury all
played
with the national team for the first time.

The
squad also featured some MLS veterans such as Eddie Gaven, Brian
Carroll and Logan Pause, but it was the youngsters who left a strong
impression and
gave hope for the future.

“I
was very impressed with a lot of different players,” Donovan said. “The
kid (Eric) Lichaj has done very well in the two games I’ve seen him. I
though
Diskerud in his few minutes did well. I thought Agudelo did well, great
goal, really good goal. For a kid that age to score a goal like that, I
was very impressed. As a whole our backline did real well and (Brad)
Guzan did good. I was encouraged.”

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