Set in the foreground of our Nation’s capital, over 47,000 fans withstood the heat to watch in amazement as Team USA defeated the German National team by a score of 4-3. The Americans were led once again by Clint Dempsey, who scored two second half goals against the vaunted German team. Germany, lacking some of their top talents as many players were wrapping up their professional seasons last week, came out of the gate slow and the Americans took full advantage. Marc-André ter Stegen, the German goalie, aided the Americans by scoring on his own net, giving Team USA a 2-0 early lead.
After Wednesday night’s game against the Belgium national team I was concerned over the benching of U.S. forward Jozy Altidore. It seemed that Alitdore’s game was not only losing his confidence, but the confidence of his manager Jurgen Klinsmann as well. This led me to wonder, if Altidore were unable to put on a top-level performance against Germany, would Klinsmann remove him ahead of Team USA’s upcoming World Cup Qualifiers? Neither Klinsmann nor I needed worry, as Altidore not only scored the first goal of the match, but also assisted on one of Dempsey’s goals in the second half. Altidore’s goal, his first for Team USA since 2010, paid immediate dividends to both the scoreboard and Altidore’s confidence. The confidence boost for Altidore couldn’t come at a better time, as the American side prepares for the start of their summer qualifiers. If Altidore has regained his form, he and Dempsey will be a formidable force on the front line for Team USA; which allows Klinsmann to focus on the Americans biggest problem, defense!
For the second time in a week Team USA’s defense was abysmal. The Germans had several early chances due the collapse of the defense in and around the goalie box. I see two problems with the American defense. The first is lack of urgency in getting the ball between the 19-21 yard marks. In the second half this lack of urgency allowed for two of the three German goals. Both Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler looked slow and uninterested in defending outside of the box and seemed too timid to challenge the German attacks. The second issue is a bit more problematic, as it is not completely evident on whom it is best blame. Conventional wisdom says that Team USA’s goalie Tim Howard should catch and hold on to saves taking it out if the defense’s hand. However, in a practical examination Howard has made several fantastic saves throughout the last two matches that led to rebound goals due to sloppy defense. The U.S. defenders need to tighten their game up and provide the U.S. with stability in the back line. There was one bright moment for the defense in today’s game, which was bought by Brad Evans, who out hustled and out played his German attacker.
The German attack was not as strong as expected and they were unable to convert on several of their early chances. The German squad seemed to be relying on their talent difference against the inspired American squad and it was almost enough. Down 4-1 after back-to-back Dempsey goals, the Germans found life and scored twice in two minutes. As the final ten minutes slowly ticked the Germans quickened their attack desperately seeking an equalizer that wouldn’t come.
The result of today’s game was unexpected and came as a surprise to soccer fans around the world. The win had to be particularly gratifying for Klinsmann, who played on the German national team, and managed them from 2004-2006. Coming into play today, the U.S. had 2-6 record against Germany, and had never scored more than three goals in a match. This is the first American win against Germany since 1999, when they beat the Germans twice in six months. The U.S. begins their summer qualifying season on Friday in Kingston Jamaica; they will take on the Jamaican national team at 10:00 pm. This is the first of two matches between Jamaica and the U.S. that will take place this year.