It was a relatively long wait for Caden Clark to break into the US national team program, and he appears to be making the most of it.
The New York Red Bulls attacking midfielder was an inspirational figure for the Americans on Saturday at the Revelations Cup friendly tournament in Celaya, Mexico. After getting punched in the face with a 4-0 loss to Brazil in their tournament opener, the US fought to a 1-1 tie with Colombia on the back of Clark, the 19-year-old Minnesotan who has provided a disproportionate amount of the Red Bulls offense since his first team call-up late last year.
The first clip to go mildly viral under the watchful (very watchful) eyes of national team fans involved Clark performing a duo of rapid fire cutbacks in the first half that eventually led two Colombian defenders to clatter into each other like ill-fated action movie henchmen.
This is filthy from Caden Clark pic.twitter.com/FE8MmwZm87— Kicker01 (@shackclerk) November 13, 2021
Then about ten minutes later, Clark grabbed the spotlight again with a Panenka penalty finish that myself and all soccer writers are always contractually required to refer to as cheeky.
The chip gave the US a 1-0 lead but the Colombians were able to claw their way back into the game in the second half. First, Philadelphia Union product Quinn Sullivan was red-carded in the 72nd minute for a violent tackle to put the US down to ten men. Then in the 90th minute it was Tomás Ángel - the son of Red Bulls legend Juan Pablo - who equalized for Colombia at the death.
USYNT 1 Colombia 1. Goals by RBNY Caden Clark and Tomás Ángel, son of RBNY legend Juan Pablo Ángel.— Profe Mapu (@ProfeMapu) November 13, 2021
Avid readers of the blog have been tugging on my shirt this whole time to find out if anything happened with the second Red Bull at the Revelations Cup, standout reserves midfielder Daniel Edelman, and they (and the comedy gods) are in luck. In what I imagine was a pre-choreographed homage to Laurel and Hardy, Edelman was lifted off the ground by a Colombian midfielder…only for the weight of the rail-thin Edelman to somehow knock the helpful opponent down to the ground himself.
The US closes play on Tuesday with a final group game against hosts Mexico that can be seen on TUDN.
After a quiet season for domestic call-ups, the New York Red Bulls are loudly emerging on the USMNT scene again. Clark and Edelman are the first golden children of the youth-focused overhaul initiated in New York by Kevin Thelwell and Gerhard Struber over the last year, and while Red Bulls fans are understandably focused on their ability to help in next weekend’s playoff bout with Philadelphia, the long-term outlook for the club’s talent pipeline is once again promising.