Bobby Wood strikes again and U.S. men drop Germany for first time on road.
By Robert Wagman
(Wednesday, June 10, 2015) -- For the second time in five days, reserve striker Bobby Wood scored a implausible goal to give the United States men a 2-1 victory, this time over host Germany in front of a disbelieving crowd of 40,348 at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne.
On Friday, Wood also came off the bench in the second half, finding net in the 90th minute to give the Americans a come-from-behind tally in a 4-3 triumph, the first time the U.S. defeated the internationally No. 5 Netherlands in five all-time meetings. Tonight, he decided matters over defending World Cup champion and top-ranked Germany in the 87th minute off a feed by substitute midfielder Brad Evans for the Americans’first win ever in Germany.
The U.S. is 4-7 all-time against Germany.
Woods, a 22-year-old from Hawaii who has played professionally in Germany, entered in the 74th minute and 13 minutes later he swiveled, taking a touch before sending a 23-yard shot that went on a hop past outstretched German goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler into the left corner of the net.
Evans sent a long pass from the right flank. Reserve forward Jordan Morris, who made his international debut Friday against the Dutch, ran over the ball, allowing it to reach, who did a full circle to his left to shake his defender before sending a healthy representation of American fans into delirium.
After making two fine stops, U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan was called on for one more in stoppage time. He made a quick reaction save to his left, deflecting a Sami Khedira header onto the left corner of the crossbar.
“It was a happy ending for us, to win against the world's number one team,” U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann said. “It's something special and the players are really pleased. It was a balanced match with chances on both sides. But I think we deserved to win it. It was an important step for us.”
Klinsmann made a number of changes in lineup and tactics from Friday. He had four in the back, fronted by a diamond-shaped midfield. Danny Williams sat at the base of the diamond with Michael Bradley ahead of him at the top with Gyasi Zardes and Mix Diskerud on either side.
In the run of play, the diamond was hard to recognize. Bradley is free to roam, Williams covered for him, while Zardes and Diskerud provided support, The formation resembled a 4-1-3-2.
Germany dominated the match through much of the first half. Striker Mario Mario Götze put Germany in front in the 12th minute with the host wasting a number of chances to widen its lead.
That changed in the 41st minute when, against the run of play, Diskerud recorded the equalizer on a play that saw the U.S. string together 30 passes in a tremendous display of ball control, leading to a well-placed finish and a 1-1 tie.
The second half differed substantially. Germans seemed to wilt while some good halftime substitutions allowed the U.S. to push forward and to have a number of chances to go ahead before Wood’s strike. Morris, for instance, saw a 17-yard blast narrowly miss wide.
To put this victory into some kind of perspective, it’s hard to state how badly Germany did not want to be playing this week. The European club seasons have just ended and German manager Joachim Löw wanted to see his players get some rest. But Germany is scheduled to play a Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar in three days in Portugal, so it needed a warmup match to get organized. This was it.
Today, forward Thomas Müller and midfielder Toni Kroos were rested, while Germany was also without injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and starting defender Mats Hummels. They did field a side with veteran midfielder Mesut Özil and midfielder-striker André Schürrle supporting Götze in attack.
Löw could be seen on the German bench just shaking his head after Wood’s goal. He said his side had simply lost its way after a restart: “We lost our strength in the second half and the Americans were more intensive.”
German captain Bastian Schweinsteiger blamed the loss on a lack of the Germans’ match fitness. "I don't know what happened to us in the second half,” the central midfielder said. “The Americans had one good chance in the first half and scored. Obviously, we wanted to win this. Something like this shouldn't happen to us.”
U.S. Player Ratings
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan - 7: He looked sharper than he did against the Netherlands. He made very fine first-half saves on both Götze and Özil to keep the game close. He kept the win with a tough catch under pressure and a deflection in stoppage time to stymie Germany in stoppage time.
Defender Timmy Chandler - 5.5: He had a rough time in the first half and was at fault on the German goal. In the second half, he moved to the right side and did considerably better.
Defender John Brooks - 6.5: The best U.S. defender, making a number of key stops and a number of blocks of hard Germany shots.
Defender Fabian Johnson - 5: As he was against the Netherlands, he was better on attack than on defense and he was removed after 45 minutes.
Defender Ventura Alvarado – 5.5: He also had a rough first half, but was considerably better after that. In the first 45 minutes, he seemed to want to roam, but stayed at home in the second half to better advantage.
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 8: He is the engine that makes the U.S. go. He was tireless, making long runs, excellent passes and important defensive stops.
Midfielder Gyasi Zardes - 6.5: As a first half midfielder, he had several chances and also played some defense. He moved to the front line for the second half and gave the German back-line problems with his pace.
Midfielder Danny Williams - 5: Had trouble with the speed of the German forwards and young midfielders. Not a shinning performance for him and he was replaced at the break.
Midfielder Mix Diskerud - 6: Lack of defense helped contribute to Germany’s goal, but he scored a sterling strike just before intermission to help make up for his poor defense.
Forward Juan Agudelo - 4.5: He just didn’t seem up to the challenge. He did use pace to get open a few times, but overall, he added little to the U.S. attack and came out at the half.
Forward Aron Johannsson - 5.5: He had some good efforts playing wide in the first half, but he came up empty on a golden chance in the second. He was active all day and kept up a good work rate.
Defender Brad Evans (46th minute for Johnson) 6.5: He came on to be the strongest U.S. defender in the second half. He made several key blocks and closed down German shooters at key times.
Midfielder DeAndre Yedlin (46th minute for Agudelo) - 6: His fresh legs caused problems for Germany in the opening minutes of the second half. He made some very good defensive stops and was a problem for the German defense throughout the second half.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman (46th minute for Beckerman) - 6: He played his usual solid game at defensive midfield. He allowed Bradley to roam as he wanted.
Forward Bobby Wood (74th minute for Johannsson) 8: What more could one ask of a young striker than to win not one, but two key international matches within a week?
Forward Jordan Morris (74th minute for Zardes) 6: He came close to scoring shortly after he entered the game. Then, his dummy helped Wood set up his winning strike.
Midfielder Alfredo Morales (74th minute for Diskerud) - 6: He worked hard, getting off a strong shot that was blocked and then got back to start the play that ended with Wood’s shot.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Bobby Wood.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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