ANDREW MINTZ - Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Following a historic 4-3 win again Holland, the US National Team will encounter yet another European powerhouse with a friendly set against World Cup Champions Germany in Cologne.
While these friendlies will influence Coach Jurgen Klinsmann in making his roster decisions for the upcoming Gold Cup, the Germans are instead gearing up for key Euro qualifiers. That leaves the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Özil, and Mario Götze to face a gluttony of American youth through the likes of college star Jordan Morris or 21-year-old DeAndre Yedlin.
The difference in his squad's experience doesn't faze Klinsmann though, commenting, "We're becoming more and more confident. Our team is young. We're always looking for as many chances to play against the world's best."
The US last met the Germans during the 2014 World Cup in a gutting 1-0 group stage loss. Though back in 2013, through the help of two goals from captain Clint Dempsey, the Americans shocked the Germans in a 4-3 friendly win. This time around though, the Americans will be without Dempsey, let alone many key starters.
Against Holland, Klinsmann paired the 22-year-old duo of John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado in the center defense. And without Jozy Altidore up top, the likes of Aron Johannsson (24), Juan Agudelo (22), or Bobby Wood (22) could all feature. LA Galaxy youth product Gyasi Zardes could also be used as a striker or on the wing.
In the pre-match joint press conference, Klinsmann and German Coach Joachim Löw, formerly Klinsmann's assistant with Die Mannschaft, exchanged compliments, with Löw seeming genuinely impressed by the Americans' performance since the 2011 arrival of Klinsmann.
"They played an incredibly good match. When you look back at the developments over the last three or four years you can see a lot has happened," Löw pointed out. "They exude a lot of courage and mental strength out there now."
Klinsmann wasn't without compliment of his former country, noting, ""Germany is the world leader and the reality is that the other countries look and admire what has evolved here."
Die Mannschaft will be without starting goalie Manuel Neuer as well as mainstays Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos. Even so, the Germans are still packed with loads of talent. John Brooks, Timothy Chandler, Alfredo Morales, Fabian Johnson, and Bobby Wood, all Americans players who compete on German clubs, are well familiar with this.
Even if the match is just a warmup for later pivotal summer games, the back-to-back friendlies against the world's top sides should be a great test for a young American team.