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A Resurgent U.S. Team Outscores Germany, 4-3

Coming off a poor effort against Belgium, the U.S. responded with confidence and determination, defeating Germany 4-3 in a riveting match at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

BY John Godfrey Posted
June 02, 2013
4:56 PM
Clint Dempsey scored two emphatic goals and Jozy Altidore delivered a gritty, gutty performance as the United States defeated Germany 4-3 at RFK Stadium. The match, played before a sell-out crowd, will give the Americans confidence as they prepare for three World Cup qualifiers this month.

"We saw a lot of good things out there," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said after the match. "We saw some not good things at the end with conceding the last goals, but over all a good performance. Having a player like Clint Dempsey on your team is a privilege, and if I look back I think this is one of the best players in U.S. history. He performs at almost every game on a very, very high level."

"I think today we set the tone right from the beginning," he continued. "We pressured them high. We made it very difficult for them to play out of the back, which is what they like to do, and we were right there on their toes. This is what we need to do every game. Every game we need to win battles, and you have to move off the ball and create something."

The United States looked confident early, controlling possession and pushing forward during the early stages of the match. Altidore, in particular, seemed determined to make a positive impact after his inconsistent showing versus Belgium on Wednesday in Cleveland. Playing alone up top in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Altidore showed a good first touch and plenty of desire throughout the match.

The U.S. got out in front in the 13th minute on a lovely flowing sequence. Dempsey, the U.S. captain, dribbled confidently through the German midfield and found Graham Zusi in space down the right wing. Zusi struck a first-time cross to Altidore alone in the center of the penalty area. Altidore responded by doing what he failed to do against Belgium on Wednesday—he shot quickly. His one-time volley flew past German goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and put the U.S. ahead.

A few minutes later, the United States found itself up, 2-0.

With three U.S. attackers applying pressure after a goal kick, Germany's Stefan Reinartz passed to Benedikt Höwedes who in turn delivered a back-pass to his goalkeeper. But ter Stegen made a poor touch on the pass and the ball rolled into goal, gifting the United States a 2-0 lead.

The U.S. kept the pressure on—both offensively and defensively—throughout the first half. In the 23rd minute, a revitalized Altidore saw that ter Stegen was playing off his line and tried to chip a shot over the netminder from 45 yards out. It soared over the crossbar harmlessly, but it spoke volumes about Altidore's confident state of mind.

Germany had chances during the first half, too. Per Mertesacker had a shocking miss from point-blank range, and Lukas Podolski had a clear chance from 12 yards out but he mishit the ball badly and sent it harmlessly into touch. The first half ended with the U.S. leading Germany by two. Fabian Johnson, who looked dangerous for the Yanks at left wing, came off at halftime in favor of Brad Davis. Johnson suffered a minor hamstring pull and may not be available against Jamaica on Friday.

Germany looked much more organized and determined after the halftime whistle. Just six minutes after intermission, German substitute Heiko Westermann got on the end of a Max Kruse corner kick and slammed it past U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. It appeared as though American defender Omar Gonzalez was at fault on the play, as the tall central defender narrowly missed deflecting the perfectly placed spot kick.

There had been a clear momentum shift: Germany was the better of the two sides in the early minutes of the second half.

Just as it looked as though Germany might even things up, however, the Americans scored twice in rapid succession.

In the 60th minute, Jermaine Jones lofted a lovely pass that sent Altidore alone into space just to the left of the German goal. Altidore controlled the ball nicely—a feat he has struggled with in recent months—and then held it until his teammates worked their way into dangerous spots. Altidore picked out Dempsey in the penalty area and the U.S. captain delivered a laser that skidded into the back of the net.

Up 3-1, the U.S. wasn't done. Four minutes later the Yanks possessed the ball beautifully for an extended period of time as they looked for an opening in the German defense. They found one. Dempsey deked Germany's Podolski and sent in a beautifully flighted left-footed strike that ended up in the back of the net.

Up 4-1, the rout appeared to be on.

But the Germans fought back feverishly and turned what could have been a blowout into a tight, tense match.

Kruse made it 4-2 with a tremendous solo effort in the 78th minute, sending a blistering right-footed shot past an outstretched Tim Howard. And just two minutes later, Julian Draxler made it 4-3 when he pounced on a rebound that Howard should have held on to.

Thanks to some desperate defending by the U.S.—not to mention some exhausted German players—the Americans held on to defeat the No. 2-ranked team in the world.

It wasn't always pretty. It could have been much better. But the Americans secured a confidence-building victory that should help them against Jamaica, Honduras, and Panama later this month.

“We’re happy with the win, but at the same time we expect a lot out of ourselves," Dempsey said. "We’re not happy with conceding the amount of goals that we’ve conceded in these two games. It needs to be better. Even though we’re playing against top quality, we need to do a better job of protecting our ‘keeper. At the same time, we’re happy with the result in the sense of winning and we take confidence from beating a good team.”

"You feel by getting a result against a team like this," Dempsey added, "that you can go down and get the job done in these games in CONCACAF."

John Godfrey is the founder and editor in chief of American Soccer Now.

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