ISTANBUL – Seattle Sounders right back sensation DeAndre Yedlin had already been the US player setting the most foreign tongues wagging at the U-20 World Cup before Monday's 1-1 draw with France when he gave observers yet another reason to chatter.
With the US chasing the game late, desperate to rescue their hopes of advancing from Group A, coach Tab Ramos pushed Yedlin up the wing into attack. The 19-year-old softened up the opposing defense with several dangerous darts before eventually helping Mario Rodriguez win the free kick from which the US tied the game.
The result gives the Americans a shot to advance with a win against Ghana in their final group game on Thursday (1 pm ET, ESPNU).
As one might expect, the shifty Yedlin enjoyed his spell in attack – though maybe not for the reason one would think.
"It was good, I always like attacking," Yedlin told MLSsoccer.com with a devilish grin. "It's a little easier because you don't have to come back as far."
While back in his usual place in defense, the youngster had the tall task of handling a potent French offense stocked with physical specimens. Yedlin admitted it was no walk in the park, but says working his day job in Seattle gave him good preparation for the assignment.
"Yeah, it was rough, but you kind of have the same thing in MLS," he said. "There's big, fast guys, though maybe not as technical as [France], so I was prepared for it."
In the end, Yedlin's bit of double duty helped the team achieve their main objective: living to fight another day for a place in the knockout rounds.
"We're happy with the result," he declared. "It puts us in a pretty good position against Ghana. We can go for third, or maybe even second."