The United States Men's National Team completes their trip to Europe against reigning World Cup champions Germany. The Yanks are fresh off their first ever victory over 3rd ranked the Netherlands, which included 3 unanswered goals to come back from a 3-1 deficit. The 4-3 victory included a who's who of players who have never scored a goal as a full international (Gyasi Zardes, Danny Williams, and Bobby Wood) and a Beckenbauer-esque run out of central defense from John Anthony Brooks.
The last time the US played Germany in a friendly, they defeated an undermanned version of Die Mannschaft in Washington DC 4-3. This was the first of a 12 game winning streak, the longest in US history and tied for 7th all-time, but the team they face today in Cologne will be closer to the team that dominated the US in Recife last summer, missing a few big names (Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller) but otherwise stacked.
The win in Amsterdam was a classic, but the leakiness of the defense was alarming. The Yanks struggled to cut out crosses on 2 of the goals (although they were fine crosses), and they lost their shape enough that they conceded several other good chances to the Dutch. Firming up their back line and better support from the midfield when defending will be crucial today to earn another good result. Another long winning streak with marquee wins in the Netherlands and Germany would go a long way to helping the US continue their climb back up the FIFA rankings after sliding to 31st in February.
Jordan Morris set up the winner in Amsterdam and has been the hottest striker in the pool over the last couple of months. Much like almost everyone else when he was first called up last fall, I was scratching my head wondering what the hell Jurgen Klinsmann was doing calling in a college player (and then continuing to do so). Has he become a lock for the Gold Cup team yet? I have fully embraced the Kool Aid on this one, and aside from the defense showing better, seeing Morris continue his hot streak is what I'm hoping to see today.
How to watch
Match date/time: Wednesday, 6/10, 1:25PM
Venue: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany
TV: Fox Sports 1 (English), UniMas (Spanish)
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
U20 World Cup:
The US U-20 Men's team gutted out a tough 1-0 victory against Colombia in Auckland in the wee hours of this morning. In the 59th minute, Rubio Rubin latched on to a loose ball in the box after a deflected shot by Paul Arriola that appeared to be handled by a Colombian defender. Rubin made no mistake, and roofed a shot in from 10 yards out, leaving the Colombian goalkeeper no chance. This accounted for the only score of the game, but this was far from the only talking point in this match that sees the Yanks through to play Serbia on Saturday night in Auckland.
In many ways, this was the opposite of the Ukraine game, where the slightest of contact was quickly whistled. The referee let them play, and Colombia pressed their physical advantage much of the game. Evidence of this was on display early as a 5th minute challenge on Bradley Jamieson IV sent him flying. The landing severely injured his right arm, and he left the game on a stretcher and was sent to a local hospital. The rest of the half and the 7 minutes of stoppage time was a midfield stalemate and ended after 7 minutes of stoppage time knotted at 0.
Colombia's physicality started to rule the day early in the 2nd half, and they had several good chances to break the tie. It was against the run of play that Rubin notched his 2nd goal of the tournament to give the Yanks the lead. The game opened up considerably after this, and for the next 20 minutes, the US looked like they might bag their 2nd and coast to the finish line. After failing to do so, they changed tact, and put 9 and 10 behind the ball to weather the Colombian attack.
Again as opposed to the Ukraine game, the US were on the other end of a dubious penalty call which saw Kellyn Acosta sent off for a second yellow despite the fact the Colombian attacker clearly hooked Acosta and appeared to dive. Zach Steffen came up big, however, guessing correctly and stopping the resulting penalty kick. Reduced to 10 men, the US nervily defended for 10 minutes and held on to advance.
Steffen and Rubin earn full marks for making the big plays on the night, especially Rubin, who kept his composure despite a beating and clandestine stomps from the Colombia defense. With Maki Tall and now Jamieson presumably out for the rest of the tournament, the US is down to 3 strikers (Tommy Thompson, Jordan Allen, and Rubin). The US will have to lean on Rubin for the rest of the tournament and hope for the best as there will be no replacements.
U23s: Behind Penalty kick goals from Alonso Hernandez and Benji Joya, the US defeated England 2-1 for 3rd place in the Toulon Tournament. Given the missing talent and rustiness of some of the players, this was an excellent result for the Olympic team at the prestigious tournament, tying the US's best result in Toulon. It was announced early after the conclusion of the tournament that Jerome Kiesewetter was promoted to VFB Stuttgart's 1st team, so there will be another Yank in the Bundesliga next season. Kiesewetter had a good tournament and is another speedster, so I would not be surprised if he gets a call up to the full national team in the fall.