U.S. men stun Netherlands with pair of goals in closing moments, beat Dutch for first time.
By Robert Wagman
(Friday, June 5, 2015) -- Decidedly understrength, the United States men achieved a startling result, scoring twice in the last two minutes of regulation to shock the host Netherlands 4-3 tonight before a stunned crowd of 46,000 in Amsterdam’s ArenA.
The U.S. defeated the Netherlands for the first time after losing the first four meeting of the series.
After achieving a 1-1 tie in the first half, the U.S. seemed to revert to second-half defensive slump so common recently by giving up a pair of goals just after intermission to give the Dutch a 3-1 lead. From about the 60th minute on, the Netherlands seemed satisfied with the expected result ahead of a critical Euro 2016 qualifier next week. The hosts took their foot off the gas and got ready to coast through the final half hour.
U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann was not ready to concede and made several substitutions to give the Americans more pace and the changes paid off quickly.
In the 70th minute, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley set off on a long run through the Dutch midfield. Defender DeAndre Yedlin outpaced his marker and took Bradley’s pass on the right side. Yedlin gave the ball a single touch before crossing it to the middle where defender John Brooks had also run past the center of the Netherlands backs. Brooks simply guided the ball into the open net at the near post for one of the nicest U.S. goals in recent memory to narrow the deficit to 3-2.
The Netherlands continued to glide towards a finish, but Klinsmann added two more reserves. In the 88th minute, midfielder Danny Williams picked up a poor Netherlands clearance of midfielder Michael Bradley’s corner kick and laced a hard shot that deflected off opposing striker Luuk de Jong to make it 3-3.
Almost amazingly, Bradley picked up a ball at midfield less than two minutes later and found Stanford University forward Jordan Morris on the right side. He crossed to seldom-used striker Bobby Wood for a tap-in from in front of the net for the 4-3 final.
In between the tying and winning tallies, the Netherlands nearly found net twice, First, a point-blank shot hit the goal-frame and, in the 90th minute, U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan stopped De Jong.
The Netherlands dominated the first hour of the match, keeping the Americans back on their heels and controlling play. The U.S. was fortunate to achieve a level score at halftime and quickly succumbed to a pair of Dutch goals. Then, however, the Netherlands decided to save energy for the qualifier next week and the Americans were able to use their fresh legs to great advantage.
Klinsmann had hoped to bring together most of his best 11 during a world governing body FIFA international match date, so he scheduled matches against two f the world’s best teams in the Netherlands and in Germany Wednesday. As so often seems to happen, fate intervened and some key players are absent. Midfielder Clint Dempsey is awaiting the birth of his fourth child, striker Jozy Altidore has a hamstring injury, midfielder Jermaine Jones has a strained groin, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya a knee injury and midfielder Graham Zusi a concussion.
Also left with their club teams, or to rest after the European season, were midfielder Joe Corona, as well as defenders Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Greg Garza.
Netherlands manager Guus Hiddink started a team divided between regulars and reserves, choosing to rest players for next week’s key qualifier. He ended up with a strong attacking unit, but a questionable defense that all but collapsed in the final minutes.
The U.S. next faces defending World Cup champion Germany Wednesday at RheinEnergiesSTADION in Cologne at 2:45 (ET), televised by Fox Sports 1, and Spanish-language UniMás and Univision Deportes. Given tonight’s result, Germany probably won’t take a victory over the Americans for grannted.
U.S. Player Ratings
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan - 6.5: Although he could have done better on one of the Dutch goals, played a very strong match and kept the Netherlands goal total from being considerably higher.
Defender Timmy Chandler - 5: As an offensive player going forward, he was good. As a defender, however, did not play that well. He left big holes for the Netherlands to take advantage of and it did.
Defender John Brooks - 5.5: On several occasions, he did very well, but on several others, he was beaten in the air with disastrous results. On U.S. set plays, he was able to maneuver forward well. He needs to do better organizing the defense.
Defender Ventura Alvarado - 4.5: This was his second start and for the 45 minutes he played, his performance was uneven. He was mainly responsible for the first Netherlands goal and was often out of position.
Defender Brek Shea - 5.5: Another case of a back looking better going forward than defending. He was beaten up the side by the Dutch several times and when he did go forward, he has trouble getting back in time.
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 7.5: For much of the match, he looked like the only American on par with the Dutch. He was responsible for two of the second-half U.S. goals. He is looking much stronger as an attacking player.
Midfielder Fabian Johnson - 6.5: He had a strong match on the wing. He assisted on the first American goal and was a constant threat and concern for the opposition. He worked well with Bradley..
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman - 6: In the role of defense midfielder, he excelled, including a timely goal-line clearance. With Bradley looking to move the ball forward, he was left with a lot of responsibility and he responded well.
Midfielder Alfredo Morales - 5: After a very long German season helping FC Ingolstadt 04 to promotion to the Bundesliga, he simply looked flat and tired. He contributed little either on attack or defensively.
Forward Gyasi Zardes - 5.5: He appeared to have trouble getting himself into the match. Finally, he converted a great pass with a skilled delivery for the first U.S. goal. At best, an uneven performance..
Forward Aron Johannsson - 5: He had some good moments but, at times, he disappeared in an up-and-down effort.
Defender Michael Orozco (46th minute for Alvarado) - 5: He did bring more organization to the back-line, but he was responsible for the second Dutch goal. Despite settling in, he looked disorganized in and the result was two near misses by the Netherlands.
Midfielder Mix Diskerud (56th minute for Morales) - 6: Not known as a defender, he came in and made several key stops while also helping the U.S. attack a tiring Dutch defense.
Midfielder/defender DeAndre Yedlin (57th minute for Shea) - 7: He came in and helped turn the match around with his pace. This was one of his best American performances.
Midfielder Danny Williams (63rd minute for Beckerman) - 6: His deflected rocket tied the match a 3-3 and he was a factor both offensively and defensively over the final minutes.
Forward Bobby Wood (65th minute for Johannsson) 6.5: After an awful year with his club team 1860 Munich, he is looking for redemption. He started to earn it here by scoring the winning goal.
Forward Jordan Morris (80th minute for Zardes) 6.5: The only college player on the roster, he continued to show he can play at this level. The Netherlands defense could not handle his pace and he got behind it everal times. He assisted on the winning goal.
:SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Michael Bradley.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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