June 2, 2013
By Charles Cuttone
“WE EXPECT A LOT OF OURSELVES”
US Men happy with win over Germany, but know there’s room for improvement
WASHINGTON--- A game with seven goals can certainly be called entertaining. A good preparation for a pair of World Cup Qualifiers, maybe not so much, unless you are trying to boost the confidence of your strikers.
|While goalscoring was not a problem for the MNT against Germany on Sunday, goalkeeper Tim Howard could have used a little more help from his defense.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
"I think today we set the tone from right from the beginning," said U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "We pressured them high. We made it very difficult for them to play out of the back, which is what they like to do, and we were right there on their toes. This is what we need to do every game. Every game we need to win battles, and you have to move off the ball and create something. There was a pace and understanding to our game.”
Overall, Klinsmann said he was pleased with the team’s performance, despite allowing Germany to get back in the game.
“We could have done without those last two goals,” he said. “It would have looked nicer with 4-1.”
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.
“I think Jozy knows what we like to see from him,” said Klinsmann of Altidore, who had a breakout year in Holland with AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisi, but has struggled of late in international competition. “A striker needs goals to feel good about himself.”
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.
Dempsey and Altidore both impressed German coach Joachim Low, who said he has followed the two players in Europe.
For Germany, the game, and the two-game trip to the U.S., was more a chance to test some players with little international experience.
“The way we pulled the 4-1 back to 4-3 and almost got the equalizer was good for my players,” said Low.
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.
"We’re happy with the win, but at the same time we expect a lot out of ourselves," said Dempsey. "We’re not happy with conceding the amount of goals that we’ve conceded in these two games. It needs to be better. Even though we’re playing against top quality, we need to do a better job of protecting our ‘keeper. "
The U.S. has four days to figure that out. They re-open World Cup Qualifying on Friday against Jamaica in Kingston before matches with Panama and Honduras.