United States Vs. Costa Rica, 2011 International Friendly: USMNT Continues Search For Striker

The United States has spent years in search of a striker. The last time that the team had a semi-competent striker was when Brian McBride was still playing up top for Yanks, way back in 2006. That's five years and counting of poor striker play for the U.S., but if that is going to change then the odds are that it will come from the crop of guys that Jurgen Klinsmann has called in for their friendly against Costa Rica on Friday night.

Klinsmann has called three strikers in to play the Ticos on Friday and all three are 21 years old or younger. They represent the new crop of U.S. strikers that the team will depend on if they are to be able to compete with Mexico for CONCACAF supremacy. 

The player that the U.S. hopes will lead the new crop of strikers isn't so new. Jozy Altidore may still be just 21 years old, but he made his debut for the U.S. almost four years ago. A dozen international goals later, Altidore is finally starting to get his career on track. He's played infrequently for the past few years, but appears to have found a home at AZ Alkmaar after moving there this summer with five goals already. Against Costa Rica he will to prove that he can transfer his fantastic club form to fantastic country form.

Juan Agudelo has taken a similar path to Altidore's, coming up as a teenager with the New York Red Bulls and immediately being called up to the U.S. team. He has immediate success, becoming the youngest player to ever score for the Yanks when he scored in his debut. He's hit a bit of a rough patch this season with the Red Bulls as he's looked every bit inexperienced as he is, but he did make an impact when he came in against Mexico last month so he's still managed to contribute to the national team. Agudelo is still a ways off from being able to lead the line for the U.S., but he has a role to play off of the bench if he can continue to make an impact with his creativity and skill.

Rounding things out is Teal Bunbury, the man most equipped to play as a lone striker if Klinsmann decides that how he would like to play. He has the strength that Agudelo lacks and the first touch that hampers Altidore's ability to play alone up top, giving him a role that he and nobody else on the U.S. roster can fill. The question is whether he can continue learning where to make runs and play with the necessary hunger. He's the least proven of the three strikers on the roster, but as has already been made clear, he also can do something no one else can. 

Three strikers, all young, and all with the opportunity to make their mark. Klinsmann taking over as U.S. manager has given all of them a new opportunity to prove themselves. There are six friendlies left for the U.S. before the end of the year and Costa Rica is the first opportunity for the striker situation to sort itself out. That is if the position can be sorted out at all, something that has proven impossible for five years now.

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