Ten massive minutes for young U.S. striker Terrence Boyd

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TAMPA, Fla. – In the big picture  (and we’re talking very big picture here) the most significant appearance in Friday’s U.S. match probably didn’t belong to Man of the Match Landon Donovan, nor to Herculez Gomez, who just keeps impressing his coaches, nor to Clint Dempsey and his ongoing bid to regain the edge.

No, the most significant minutes (only about 10 of them, but a massive 10) belonged to young striker Terrence Boyd, a.k.a., the next big thing.

Boyd replaced Jermaine Jones in the 81st minute, really not seeing much of the ball in a highly unremarkable stretch, performance-wise.

What matters is Boyd getting on the field in a U.S. shirt in an official FIFA competition. He’s a U.S. Soccer man now – we’ll have none of this Timmy Chandler-type wishy-washyness, this “does he love us, does he not” drama.

Boyd is “cup tied.”

Like several other prominent U.S. soccer players past and present, Boyd is the son of an American serviceman and a German mother. So he was eligible to play for either country.

He was, that is, until he stepped onto the soggy Raymond James Stadium field last night. Previous appearances, such as Boyd’s February debut in the U.S. shirt against Italy (in an impressive and surprising American victory) were nonbinding friendlies.

Boyd, 21, who appears bound for Rapid Vienna, has supplanted Juan Agudelo and Jozy Altidore as the most exciting U.S. striking prospect. Coaches cannot stop raving about this guy, about his potential and his drive to improve.

Boyd spent his 2011-2012 season in the reserves at Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund. He could surely have gotten more minutes but for some very good forwards ahead of him at the Westfalenstadion.