Julian Green may have been wearing a Bayern Munich jersey Wednesday night, but it was clear that he was one of the fan favorites in Portland, Oregon, during the Major League Soccer All-Star game.
Green played for the United States during the recent 2014 World Cup and was greeted with boisterous USA chants from the onlookers at Providence Park when he entered the game in the 36th minute. He was the first Bayern substitute to come off the bench, much to the delight of the packed house.
Green didn’t score the goal he was looking for, but he did have one shot on target. It wasn’t the major breaking-out party some hoped to see, but Green still left his mark.
It was no secret why the crowd was behind him from the moment he stepped on the pitch. At 19 years old, Green became the youngest American to score a goal at the World Cup with his dramatic extra-time shot against Belgium. Yes, the United States went on to lose that game, but Green’s raw talent, speed and athleticism had fans excited about the future.
For his part, Green was certainly appreciative of the fan support Wednesday, even if he didn’t find the back of the net:
As for the actual game itself, veteran Landon Donovan—who was controversially left off the U.S. World Cup squad—ironically scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory for the MLS stars. However, Bayern Munich left a number of critical German World Cup contributors on the bench until the final 10 minutes.
Whether Green saw the field or not Wednesday was of particular interest heading into the match because he did not play against Chivas Guadalajara in Bayern Munich’s first game in the United States in a decade. The team won 1-0 in New Jersey, but Green missed the action thanks to an injury he suffered in practice.
Green was put under the spotlight in Bayern Munich’s trip stateside even though he doesn’t play heavy minutes for the club. However, the 19-year-old didn’t seem fazed in his comments when asked if the attention was too much, via Simon Borg of MLSsoccer.com: “It’s OK. Of course I like it.”
With veteran-like poise and clearly distinguishable raw talent, it is easy to label Green the future of U.S. soccer, even on a night that fans watched the past and present in Donovan and Clint Dempsey on the field.
As mentioned, Green already turned heads against Belgium in the World Cup when his goal almost lifted the Americans to an improbable comeback from the jaws of defeat.
If and when he is granted more opportunities over the course of the next four years to play against the best the world has to offer, Green will only improve by 2018. By then, he will be hitting his prime and likely ready to lead a young Red, White and Blue roster in Russia.
American fans can hardly wait.
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