United States Men's National Team cap off historic week with 2-1 win over Germany

What if I told you there would be a week in June when the United States Men’s National team would defeat 2010 World Cup finalists Holland and 2014 Wold Cup champions Germany? Is that something you might be interested in?

In the spirit of the Entourage movie, I had to do it.

Amidst the Women’s World Cup and the U-20 Men’s World Cup, it was the senior Men’s National team who has stolen the spotlight over the past week. Following a ferocious comeback victory over the Netherlands just a few days earlier, the United States completed another improbable comeback to defeat the defending World champions Germany, 2-1 in Cologne.

22-year old Bobby Wood provided the game-winner in the 87th minute after the set-up by Brad Evans. However, former UCLA Bruin, Jordan Morris, created the space for Wood by letting Evans’ entry ball run through to Wood, who was only left to beat one German defender which he successfully did. Wood’s controlled spin with the ball left the Germans flat-footed, before he punished them in stunning fashion. His phenomenal strike from about 20 yards out beat German goalkeeper Ron-Robert Jr to the near post.

Courtesy of IndianExpress.com

Courtesy of IndianExpress.com

Most critics will diminish the American win due to the depleted defense the Germans were forced to deal with. Germany were without the likes of Phillip Lahm, Mats Hummels, and Kevin-Prince Boateng, who anchored the German back line during the 2014 World Cup. However, the Germans had no shortage of talent going forward.

Andre Schürrle, Mezut Özil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and World Cup final hero, Mario Götze were all present and accounted for during Wednesday afternoon’s match. Despite the big names though, the Germans were only able to find their way past goalkeeper Brad Guzan and the United States defense once. It was none other than Götze, who gave the home side the early lead in the 12th minute.

The Yanks, as expected, were dominated in possession only having a 36% share of the ball but when they had it, they looked dangerous. The U.S. countered with pace, precision, and authority for the 90 minutes, and made the most of their chances. Most notably, a 90 second span of possession, which consisted of 30-plus passes, resulting in a Mix Diskerud goal in the 41st minute.The NYCFC midfielder was able to bring down a beautifully-weighted Michael Bradley ball with one touch and finished on his next to level the score at one.

Bradley was giving the Deutschland squad fits all night in the midfield, and was by far the best player on the pitch for both teams, at least in my book. I’m sure German supporters amongst others would disagree with that statement, but as far as I’m concerned, the Toronto FC midfielder was the Man of the Match in every sense of the word.

So what can we take away from this match? First and foremost, yes, the Germans were undermanned and virtually had half of their starting squad missing for the affair in Cologne. However, the U.S. were able to hold a well-versed and experienced German attack to one goal. This is particularly encouraging given all of the doubts and speculation circulating the Americans back line over the past 12 months. This was by no means what the United States will look like either though. Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and stonewall goalkeeper Tim Howard were just a few names missing for the U.S..

The second positive takeaway from the match is the production from the young American substitutes who came on in the second half. Obviously Bobby Wood has played the hero role over the past two matches, but the movement and intelligence from players like Jordan Morris, DeAndre Yedlin, and Alfredo Morales really gave the Yanks a second wind. Head coach Jurgen Klinnsman will certainly have some tough choices to make for the 2015 Gold Cup as far as roster spots go.

With all good their must be evil, or in this case Juan Agudelo. Agudelo was arguably the one negative from the match against Germany yesterday afternoon. The New England striker got a cap and should have been eager and ecstatic to play against the defending world champions. The New Jersey native was anything but impressive though. It is unclear whether he was out of his league or was simply disinterested. Regardless, it is safe to say that his playing time and role on the USMNT will certainly be reduced after this performance, paired with the strong impressions made by Morris and Wood.

All Entourage quotes aside, this has been a spectacular week for United States football, all genders and ages alike. These wins will serve as a great platform heading into the Gold Cup for the USMNT and will give American football some serious “street cred” over the next couple of months.