By FRANCO PANIZO
Five days after rallying to a thrilling victory over the Netherlands, the U.S. Men’s National Team came from behind again to grab another win.
This time, against World Cup champions Germany.
The U.S. pulled off a second consecutive upset on Wednesday, riding an 88th-minute goal from Bobby Wood on the way to a 2-1 victory against Germany. Mix Diskerud canceled out Mario Gotze’s opener just before halftime, and a strong second half showing from the Americans was punctuated with Wood’s second consecutive game-winner.
Germany nearly managed to grab a point at RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, but substitute midfielder Sami Khedira’s header was denied by the crossbar in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
While the Germans may have come inches close to equalizing, it was Jurgen Klinsmann’s side that enjoyed the better of the chances in the second half. Substitute Jordan Morris nearly made an immediate impact, uncorking a shot with the outside part of his right that agonizingly curled wide of the far post.
U.S. captain Michael Bradley, who set up Diskerud’s 41st-minute equalizer, also nearly made it 2-1 for the U.S. in the 82nd minute when he capped a quick counterattack with a low shot that Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler kicked away.
Ziegler could do nothing about Wood’s low effort two minutes before the end of regulation. Similar to his 89th-minute tally in last Friday’s 4-3 road win against the Netherlands, Wood made the most of his substitute cameo by pulling off a splendid turn-and-finish from 23 yards out.
Fellow U.S. substitute Brad Evans initiated the play with a low pass from the right flank that Morris dummied before it got to Wood.
The Americans had initially fallen behind in the game, as a wide open Mario Gotze received a pass from Patrick Hermann before slotting a ball into the back of the net in the 12th minute.
It was almost all Germany in the first half, and the hosts nearly took a two-goal lead in the 31st minute. Gotze found himself in on goal on the left side of the penalty area, but U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan used his foot to stop the low shot.
Bradley and Diskerud combined 10 minutes later to give the U.S. a lifeline, as Bradley hit a great diagonal ball to a streaking and open Diskerud. The New York City FC midfielder brought the ball down perfectly with his chest, and then used a karate kick to beat Zieler.
The Americans made adjustments at halftime, and came out of the intermission much improved. They not only took the game to a Germany side that grew sloppier over the course of the 90 minutes, but knocked the ball around well en route to creating its quality chances and eventual winner.
The U.S. will now focus on its CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense. The Americans will play their final friendly days before the tournament begins, hosting Guatemala at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 3.
What did you think of the match? Starting to believe in Klinsmann’s plan? See the U.S. repeating as Gold Cup champions?
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