When Uruguay head coach Óscar Tabárez called up Brian Rodríguez to the senior national team last September, it was a bit of a surprise.
That's not an indictment of the young LAFC attacker's talent. Rodríguez was heralded as one of the standouts of the recent U20 World Cup - a major factor behind LAFC pouncing on the transfer of the Designated Player from Peñarol, as interest from Europe's top teams reached a boiling point. But with the Uruguayan national team already boasting the likes of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani up top, Rodríguez's inclusion seemed like a luxury more than a necessity.
Five matches into Tabárez's decision, Rodríguez is proving it was indeed the perfect timing.
Rodríguez scored in the 21st minute of a friendly against Hungary on Friday.
Positioned on the left side of Uruguay's midfield, Rodríguez made use of his pace and recognition of space in finishing La Celeste's second goal of the night. A turnover just inside Hungary's half exploited its advancing backline. Sprinting into the vacated space, Rodríguez latched onto a through ball from Suarez. Isolated 1v1 with his marker, the Uruguayan quickly cut onto his right foot, maximizing his angle and eliminating the Hungarian defender. A powerful, dipping shot whizzed past the helpless goalkeeper into the far side of the net.
The goal was Rodríguez's third in five appearances since being called up to the senior squad. And more importantly, it was the LAFC player's first goal with the likes of Suarez and Cavani also on the pitch - Cavani opened the scoring for Uruguay.
Despite Hungary pulling back a goal just three minutes later, Uruguay would go on to win the match 2-1. Rodríguez and Uruguay will be back in action on Monday with a friendly against rivals Argentina.