SALVADOR, Brazil - U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann always felt that Julian Green would be an impact player.
Few soccer observers, however, felt the 19-year-old forward would make an impact with the red, white and blue so quickly.
But Green did in spectacular fashion Tuesday night, striking for his first international goal in the Americans' 2-1 World Cup elimination loss to Belgium in the Round of 16.
"It's fun to watch that kid grow," Klinsmann said of the youngest American player to perform and to score in the World Cup.
When Green was selected to the final 23-man roster over veteran star Landon Donovan by Klinsmann in May, critics felt he was just going along to Brazil for the ride. Some thought that the German-born Klinsmann was playing favoritism when he tabbed Green, who holds dual American and German citizenship. Green is the son of an American father and a German mother.
"Julian was growing at a very fast speed in the last seven weeks and we guided him through that process," Klinsmann said.
Klinsmann was hoping to use Green earlier in the game, but right back Fabian Johnson (hamstring injury) needed to be replaced and there were issues at other positions.
So Klinsmann said that he "delayed it because when you go into extra time, you want to make sure you're not making the third sub too early."
"We knew that he was ready. I told him before the game, watch the No. 2 , read him, have a specific eye on him and he knew that he might get this chance today," Klinsmann said.
Green made the most of his opportunity, scoring with his first touch in the 107th minute. Michael Bradley sent a high ball into the area that Green volleyed past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
"It was just phenomenal how he came in and scored that goal and gets us back," Klinsmann said.
U.S. soccer president Sunil Gulati certainly was impressed. "He's obviously a very promising guy going forward and we'll see a lot more of him," he said.
Green could be the start of a trend. Klinsmann said that finding young American talent with dual citizenships won't be limited to just Germany.
"We're looking for all Americans around the world," Klinsmann said. "No matter what dual background they have. We have more coming through and that's just part of globalization."