USMNT Report: Germany Beat, Confidence Up

Big win over Germany raises USMNT’s morale heading into World Cup Qualifiers
by Herb Scribner   |   Monday, June 03, 2013

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

On a day that celebrated US Soccer’s 100 years of existence, its current era of players might have received its biggest win to date.

 

The United States Men’s National Team, 4 days after a 4-2 shelling by Belgium, returned to the always favorable RFK Stadium and downed Germany 4-3 in a match that surely will inspire the Americans as they head into CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

GERMANY HIGHLIGHTS: The US was confident on the ball right from the first whistle and held a decent amount of possession against the Germans. After 2 unsuccessful chances, the recently-invisible US striker Jozy Altidore buried a beautiful ball sent in by Graham Zusi from the wing. Zusi’s cross was volleyed perfectly by the AZ Alkmaar top goal scorer, and surprisingly the US was up 1-0 just 13 minutes in.

Germany didn’t respond well as high-pressure from the US attack forced German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to blunder on a ball sent back to him, letting it roll in for an own goal. RFK Stadium erupted and the Americans found themselves up 2-0 within 16 minutes of play.

But the second half showed a little more German offensive interest. In the 51st minute, Heiko Westermann headed in a corner kick taken by Max Kruse. Die Mannschaft made splitting runs throughout the half that nearly doomed the US.

Clint Dempsey didn’t let his side deteriorate, though, as he scored 2 straight goals – one off a scintillating cross sent in by Altidore and another by his own creation. Unexpectedly, manager Jurgen Klinsmann saw his current side ahead of his former team by a 4-1 scoreline.

And although Germany reached and clawed for a comeback with goals by Kruse and Julian Draxler, the Americans held on and captured the win.

POST-GAME REACTIONS: After the game, Klinsmann highlighted the importance of friendlies played against Germany and Belgium, especially with WCQs right around the corner.

“I think it obviously helps when you have these games with a team that can play a high tempo,” he said. “It forces you to always go both ways. You have to be good defensively and at the same time you want to create chances, and there is so much that we know we have to still prove but looking toward the qualifiers I think it helps the players to see that they can go to that tempo. … It’s important to play opponents like Belgium, like Germany. Teams of this caliber can only help us to get to the next level.”

Klinsmann was quick to praise Dempsey for his performance during the centennial game.

“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 US history. He performs at almost every game on a very, very high level,” Klinsmann said.

Altidore, who hadn’t scored for the US since Nov. 15, 2011, found a sense of relief after he notched the opening goal.

“I honestly feel like I’ve been doing the right things,” he said. “It was just a matter of being patient and waiting for the chances. … I know if I keep getting them I can be successful.”

ANALYSIS: The US should reflect on this game as a confidence-booster, and nothing more.

Germany fielded its low-B, high-C team and played in a very disinterested way defensively, which allowed the Americans to acquire so many chances in the attacking third. Had Germany brought its top squad, and played with something on the line, the scoreline might have been considerably different.

The US did attack better, though, and for the first time in a while actually played the style that Klinsmann hyped up in the immediate days of his take over. Players possessed the ball and created opportunities to score. Altidore stepped up huge with his goal and assist, and didn’t play too often with his back towards the goal, which he was prone to doing for much of his international career.

Dempsey played excellently with his 2 goals. His first, which came off a ball from Altidore that might have been aimed at Michael Bradley, was brilliantly timed. His second, a sure golazo, shocked the stadium and was something that could only be made by a player of such class as Dempsey.

Everything on the offense was working on all cylinders, and this game should be the model for success moving forward in the attacking third. But the US’ backline, which was already under fire after the Belgium match, once again showed little improvement. Even by switching out Geoff Cameron and Clarence Goodson for Brad Evans and Matt Besler, the US didn’t gain any ground in the back.

Germany often sliced right through the backline, with sure chances that weren’t put away because of offsides or unlucky shots. If not for poor finishing, the Germans wouldn’t have had to make any sort of comeback and likely would have had a lead. The US even let a 3-goal lead dissolve in a 3-minute span.

Heading into the upcoming series of WCQs – against Jamaica on June 7, Panama on June 11 and Honduras on June 18 – the US can, and probably will, feel confident. This was a big win over a team that is one of the leading candidates to capture the World Cup trophy next year. The Americans even have Altidore feeling assured in himself again, too, which could prove very useful in the goal-scoring area, where the US has proved weak in recent months.

Beating Germany’s secondary squad shouldn’t be thrown away as a simple friendly win, as the confidence earned from such a victory is important for the growth of the side. It was a big moral and mental victory for the United States, and even bigger for all those who attended RFK Stadium to celebrate US Soccer’s 100 years of existence.

Now Klinsmann and his side need to apply the excellent offense and positives of the German clash and use them to sweep through CONCACAF.

NEXT UP: June 7 – WCQ: United States vs. Jamaica, National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica. 9:30 p.m. EST, beIN SPORT.

Herb SCRIBNER

Nationality:
USA
College:
UMass Amherst
Club Domestic:
RSL
Club Foreign:
FC Barcelona
SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.
HERB'S SPONSORS