World Cup 2014

World Cup: USMNT's Julian Green youngest player to score a World Cup goal since Lionel Messi in 2006

The time has come to start thinking about the future.

And the USMNT’s is certainly bright thanks to the silver lining in their 2-1 defeat Tuesday against Belgium provided in the stunning appearance from 19-year-old Julian Green.

His first goal for the Yanks – coming on his first touch just seconds after his first World Cup appearance in the 107th minute – made him the youngest scorer in the tournament since a certain someone named Lionel Messi opened his account in 2006. Things have since worked out pretty well for Messi, who scored 12 years ago in Argentina’s 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro for his first World Cup goal also as a 19-year-old.

Green silenced, if only briefly, some of his detractors – exacerbated by Landon Donovan’s exclusion – with an athletic and ruthless run by the Bayern Munich product. He ran onto a chipped through ball by Michael Bradley and one-timed a finish, mis-hit or not, in a parallel-to-the-ground, flying-karate-kick style.

There was also the near-complete-game performance of 20-year-old Seattle Sounders outside back DeAndre Yedlin, who injected a dose of confidence into the mostly conservative US attack after he came on for Fabian Johnson in the 32nd minute and impressed in Group G appearances against Portugal and Germany. And then there was 21-year-old defender John Brooks, who had a fairly large contribution in his only appearance of the tournament against Ghana.