RYAN BACIC - Monday, June 3, 2013
United States vs Germany
Friendly - Sunday June 2, 2013
RFK Stadium
The US men's national team isn't a side typically thought capable of winning high-scoring contests. Or of knocking off high-quality opponents. And yet, Sunday afternoon against second-ranked Germany, newly minted captain Clint Dempsey made sure it did both.

Floundering striker Jozy Altidore broke his nearly two-year scoring drought, Dempsey added two flashy goals of his own and the Stars and Stripes held on for a 4-3 win at RFK Stadium. Sunday's friendly marked just the third victory all-time for the US over Germany, as it put a fitting exclamation point on a much-hyped centennial celebration in the nation's capital.

"I told the players before the game, it's a special occasion, a special event - 100 years for your federation, playing against one of the top 10 teams in the world and having a sellout here at RFK," manager Jurgen Klinsmann said afterward. "We wanted to celebrate that the right way."

It's safe to say Klinsmann and Co. accomplished their goal.

In front of a sold-out crowd at RFK, the US got out of the gates quickly. Germany - which was playing without Manuel Neuer and its entire first-team backline - got exposed in just the 13th minute, as a slight deke allowed Altidore more than enough space to hammer a volley into the top right corner off of a curling Graham Zusi cross.

The goal marked Altidore's first in a US shirt since Nov. 2011 and only his second since Klinsmann took over in July of that year. The AZ Alkmaar striker tallied 31 times across all competitions for the club this season.

For Klinsmann's former post, things were only about to get worse. Amidst advanced pressure from Jermaine Jones following a German goal kick, Benedikt Howedes sent a light back pass to goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and the Borussia Monchengladbach man made a mess of it to put it in his own net. A third of an hour in, then, the US had a shocking 2-0 lead.

Germany, meanwhile, found itself a far cry from the 3-0 advantage it had enjoyed by the same time on Wednesday against Ecuador.

"It's extremely unfortunate that [ter Stegen] would make that mistake," German manager Joachim Loew said through a translator. "Usually he's a very safe and secure keeper, and not only that, he's also a good footballer, which is visible in training."

While it is safe to say that the hosts got a bit lucky on such an egregious error, they also made their own luck on the play through Jones' hustle.

It was a strong outing overall for the Schalke midfielder, to follow up another against Belgium on Wednesday. Upon being reunited with usual partner Michael Bradley in the center, Jones was able to not only to sit deep and break up attacks but also get forward more due to the duo's mutual comfort level.

"I think when Jermaine pushes the tempo, it allows Michael to come in behind and press for second balls and third balls," said goalkeeper Tim Howard, who had five saves in the win. "It's important to have a tandem like that, who understand each other, who understand that if one's got to go, one's got to stay, and it's like one is the other's right arm.

"You have to be in unison, and they do that really well."

Until the final 15 minutes, in fact, it seemed like the entire US team was similarly in sync.

A 2-0 halftime lead was cut to 2-1 on a corner kick header from Hamburg defender Heiko Westermann, but Dempsey made his mark after that - and did so in style. Altidore was again involved in the action, serving in a bouncing ball across the box that his strike partner ripped one-time into the back of the net.

As if playing a game of one-upmanship with himself, Dempsey five minutes later struck a beautiful bending ball from outside the 18 that flew over a diving ter Stegen's outstretched arms and nestled in the upper-90.

And while ter Stegen may have had a howler earlier on the afternoon, Sunday's left-footed goal was of a much different class from the left-footed roller that caught England's Robert Green in South Africa. Indeed, Dempsey's latest effort was just another highlight tally to add to what's become a long reel for the Tottenham player.

"Having a player like Clint Dempsey on your team is just a privilege, and if I look back, I think this is one of the best players probably in US history," Klinsmann said. "He performs almost every game at a very, very high level. Huge compliments to him and the entire team."

The US had to be careful not to start patting itself on the back too early, however, as the Germans grabbed two back in the 78th and 81st minutes to turn a 4-1 blowout into a 4-3 nailbiter. Nonetheless, the back four of DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez and Brad Evans would hold strong to ensure the equalizer never came.

Still - intense as it may have felt at times - Sunday remained just a friendly. It'll be the last from here on out for the United States during this current stretch. Next up is a World Cup qualifier Friday in Jamaica, with the Belgium-Germany doubleheader meant to serve first and foremost as a tune-up for the real CONCACAF deal.

According to Dempsey, it more than served its purpose.

"It gives you confidence heading into these World Cup qualifying games," Dempsey said. "The most important thing is that we're [ready]."
Friday June 7, 2013 3:36 pm
@Nice Victory Whatever dude. If your policing this blog and want to tell me how to express myself that would crack everybody up participating on this site. If you only post in response to my remarks, well then I guess I must be worth responding to, but u gotta lighten up. I might be critical, but that's because I'm a real fan and hope your really one too. GO USA!!!!! Beat up on the Reggae Boyz!!
Friday June 7, 2013 2:05 pm
@ Muchadu: Every time you post you pretend to know more than everyone else. As far as winning the world cup, you brought it up. I responded to your ridiculously obvious comment that we wouldn't win the world cup. Who would disagree with that. That's why I said it was a "set up." Since you say this is a public blog for "fun," why do you pick apart everything that relates to the success of the USMNT? If they don't have success, you accentuate the negatives and bash everyone involved in the loss. That's not fun. I don't comment on any other posters, except for yours. The stuff you post is always negative in some aspect. And your opinions of Freddy Adu crack me up.
Friday June 7, 2013 12:16 pm
@Nice Victory First of all, I don't pretend to know more than our USMNT Coach. Obviously he knows who will be best at playing what position. He was one of the finest players in the world when he was in his prime.

Second, this is a blog where fans give their opinions....for fun?! You sound like a hater, but not an admirer of the skills Freddy possesses.How many Americans have ever made it into the Brazillian First division or played for Benefica? 0

Third,the US has produced most of the greatest athletes of the last 100 years. We easily can produce some of the elite soccer players also, its only a matter of time before we crack the top ten in the world. We need to utilize national team players that play at the highest level and at this point in time, unfortunately that is not the MLS.

Finally, it's not about winning the WC, it's about competeing with the top teams in the world. Once you can do that you have got a shot. So nice prediction about the US not winning the WC in 2014.That's brilliant. Who's the smart guy now?
Thursday June 6, 2013 3:28 pm
@Muchadu: Nice set up. I like how you try to sound like the smart guy. To begin with, the US will NOT win the World Cup next year. So that means they will lose at some point and it will be frustrating and second guessing and blame are sure to follow. How will the US story by any different from the other 31 countries that don't win the World Cup? Your judgment in regard to the best players is largely irrelevant because you don't assemble the team and since your "best squad" will probably never be played, you have the wonderful benefit of never having to prove or explain your selections. I don't worry about who gets selected or dream up the "what if" formations and lineups. It's pointless and it's egotistical. A much more qualified and knowledgeable coach named Jurgen Klinsmann does that for me. I just watch the games. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. I don't pretend to know more than people that do this for a living. By the way, Adu has played 4 minutes in 4 Brazilian league games so far.
Thursday June 6, 2013 12:44 pm
@Nice Victory Why don't ya try me back after we get bounced out of the WC in Brazil on yet another disappointing and frustrating loss, because we didnt have the best team on the field and also didnt have a starting team playing together long enough to have any chemistry. We have been tinkering with a starting line up since before Bradley was coaching the team. Enough already!

If you saw the Belgium game you would feel frustrated too. Loose the MLS hacks and play our best. Whether or not Freddy makes it does not matter as long as we have our best on the field for WC 2014. I have just always happened to think he would help us SCORE GOALS!!!
Wednesday June 5, 2013 4:20 pm
@ Muchadu: Be a fan and enjoy a nice victory rather than try and dissect why we won. Your questioning the win and the reasons for the win boils down to your disagreement over who you think should play versus who did play. By the way, Adu didn't play...again.
Tuesday June 4, 2013 1:35 pm
Wow what a turn around from the Belgium game. Although, the score probably should have ended in a tie. The German keeper made a mistake I don't think I have seen in twenty years of watching them in international play. It almost looked staged. Also very unlike the German defense to be so casual on the defensive end. Jozy being unmarked on the first goal and Dempsey having so much space on his first one was weird. Great individual effort on Demp's second goal, seems like playing along side Bale has shown him how to make space and take what appeared to be a "world class" goal. Great efforts by Jones and especially Altidore and Zusi. I'm still in shock that we beat the Germans, even if half their stater's were not there, we were at home and it was just a friendly. Are we really that good....REALLY?
Monday June 3, 2013 11:36 pm
Great write up. Think you captured the game very well. Would love to see your commentary much more widely circulated.

You run a great site.

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