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June 2, 2013
U.S. gives up big lead, holds on for 4-3 win

By Charles Cuttone
Executive Editor

Clint Dempsey celebrates after scoring against Germany in the second half of Sunday’s 4-3 US win at RFK Stadium.
Clint Dempsey celebrates after scoring against Germany in the second half of Sunday’s 4-3 US win at RFK Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
WASHINGTON--- For most of Sunday’s Centennial Celebration game at R.F.K., the United States looked like a different team than the one that got slammed by Belgium earlier in the week. That is, until late in the second half, when defensive lapses allowed Germany to score twice in three minutes and get back into what had been a lopsided game. The U.S. managed to hold on for a 4-3 win in front of a sellout crowd of 47,359.

The United States gained an early advantage on a beautiful strike by Jozy Altidore in the 13th minute. Clint Dempsey played the ball out wide to Graham Zusi. The Sporting KC midfielder lofted a cross from the right side to Altidore in the area. On the fly, the striker volleyed the ball past Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Four minutes later, Germany gave up an almost comical goal. Under pressure from Dempsey, defender Benedikt Howedes tried a backpass to ter Stegen. The German goalkeeper was not expecting the pass and chased it down, eventually helping to propel it in the left side of the net.

Germany pulled one back in the 51st minute, on a set piece. Max Kruse took a corner kick from the near side. Second half sub Heiko Westermann rose between the U.S. defenders and slammed a header past Howard.

The goal did not have a deflating effect on the U.S., who again took a three-goal lead in the 60th minute. Altidore got under a long ball over the top of the German defense and chested it down. He played a one bounce pass through the penalty area to Dempsey who slammed it into the back of the net.

Dempsey got his second of the game and fifth goal of the year just four minutes later, juking his defender right, then going left before taking a brilliant strike from 25 yards out.

Germany appeared frustrated as their second-half subs tried to change the game. After coming close a few minute earlier, Kruse, who entered the game at the half, split two defenders on the edge of the penalty area and slipped the ball inside the left post past the outstretched Howard in the 79th minute.

Just two minutes later, a bad play in the back led to another Germany goal. Sydney Sam took a shot that deflected off the foot of Matt Besler, forcing a diving stop from Howard. The rebound fell to Julian Draxler, who put it into the net.

The U.S. owned the first half almost from the outset. Just two minutes in, Altidore’s shot was blocked. Five minutes later, Altidore headed Zusi’s free kick just wide.

Dempsey came close in the 20th minute, getting a service from Altidore, but his shot was topped by a diving ter Stegen.

Altidore tried a cheeky move in the 23rd minute. Seeing that the German goalkeeper had come off his line, he blasted a shot from midfield. Realizing he was beaten, ter Stegen tried to backpedal, doing a complete somersault in the process, however Altidore’s shot sailed high over the goal.

Germany had a few chances in the first half, but nothing that really tested goalkeeper Tim Howard other than a 32nd minute shot by Andre Schurrle.

After an intense first half hour, play settled down in the stifling midday heat, but both teams came out a little more juiced in the second half as the cloud cover cooled the air somewhat at R.F.K. Stadium.

DaMarcus Beasley, who earned his 100th cap in Cleveland on Wednesday, came close to scoring in the 53rd minute, when he made a run down the left side, cut into the area and put a low shot on goal that ter Stegen covered up.

In the 89th minute, ter Stegen pushed a rising shot by Jermaine Jones over the net.

The U.S. goes into a pair of World Cup Qualifers against Jamaica and Panama having given up eight goals in their last two games.

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