BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The US national team will play its final match of 2010 on Wednesday when they take on South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Cape Town's Green Point Stadium.
US head coach Bob Bradley named an extremely inexperienced roster for this game which features many young players who are likely to make their international debut.
In defense, the US will likely start Jonathan Bornstein who is the most experienced player on the US roster. The left back from California will be leaving Chivas USA of MLS where he has played since 2006. He is set to join Mexican Primera club Tigres in January.
Also probable to join Bornstein on the backline are Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj and central defender Clarence Goodson who just signed with Danish club Brondby.
Goodson may be joined in central defense by New York Red Bull rookie standout Tim Ream who is looking to make his international debut.
US U20 national team captain Gale Agbossoumonde will hope earn his first international cap with the senior team however the 18 year old Togo-born defender is battling a knee injury that has him entering the game in less than ideal shape.
In the midfield, Alejandro Bedoya and Robbie Rogers are potential starters. Those two players were part of the 30 man preliminary roster for the World Cup team but failed to make the final cut.
Also in the midfield, 20 year old Mikkel Diskerud will be out to make his senior team debut after two strong seasons with Stabaek of Norway and an appearance for the US U20 national team at the 2009 U20 World Cup.
At forward, World Cup veteran Robbie Findley should start as he is the only forward on the roster with international experience. Kansas City Wizards striker Teal Bunbury should also get the start up top with Findley after an impressive rookie season in MLS.
Seventeen year old New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo is also looking for his first cap on Wednesday. The US U20 international is considered one of the top prospects in the US system.
South Africa, on the other hand, is bringing a strong roster that will be captained by Everton's star midfielder Steven Pienaar.
South Africa's Bernard Parker will also look to boost the Bafana Bafana offense. The 24 year old FC Twente forward brings a good scoring rate with 10 goals in 32 two international appearances.
Also of note on South Africa's roster is 25 year old forward Davide Somma who is now with Leeds United of the English Championship. Somma formerly played with the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS and developed his game in the US.
For South Africa, 14 players on their 23-man roster play domestically. Three players each are based in England and Belgium. Two are based in Israel and one is based in Holland.
The trip to the Nelson Mandela Challenge is the fourth time the US national team has played in South Africa in less than four years.
In 2007, the US defeated South Africa 1-0 in a friendly in Johannesburg in the most recent meeting between the two teams.