In a game that surely will be a huge moral boost heading into Friday’s World Cup Qualifier in Jamaica, the USMNT bounced back nicely from Wednesday’s thrashing courtesy of Belgium to beat a depleted, yet still talented, German squad 4-3. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of US Soccer, the Americans led 2-0 at half time and were sitting in the driver’s seat at 4-1 with just twelve minutes to play.
However, the Germans were able to take advantage of an exhausted United States squad and two score two goals in two minutes to cut the U.S. lead to 4-3. The Americans were just able to hold on for the final ten minutes to earn an important result and send the sold out Washington D.C. crowd into a frenzy. The win gave USMNT manager Jürgen Klinsmann a satisfying win over his birth country and former team, managed by his protégé — and assumed mastermind tactician behind his success — Joachim Löw.
The United States took advantage of several missed German chances and an absolute howler of an own goal courtesy of German goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to build a 4-1 lead in a game that was played evenly for much of the 90 minutes. Several USMNT players delivered inspiring performances, yet the Yanks still have plenty of work to do moving forward on the road to Brazil. Dan Popko and I watched the full 90 minutes and put together individual grades for each player who partook in the 4-3 victory.
All players are graded from 1-10, with 10 being best performance and 1 being reserved for Jonathan Bornstein.
Tim Howard: 5.5
Put in another solid performance. As usual commanded the defense with his infamous intense style. Was out of position Max Kruse’s 20 yard strike that made it 4-2. Unfortunate that his parry of a low Sidney Sam shot went straight to Julian Draxler, who calmly finished to make it 4-3.
Brad Evans: 7
Who saw this coming? Did very well in his first game at right back for the national team. Was very adept at dealing with Germany’s passing. Did not make any costly mistakes and it will be interesting to see if he can build on this performance.
Omar Gonzalez: 4
Took a poor path to the ball that led to Heiko Westermann’s 51st minute header, which put Germany on the board. Was more decisive than in the previous friendly against Belgium, but still prone to mistakes.
Matt Besler: 4
Caught ball-watching on Draxler’s goal. Made an awful pass that nearly caused a Germany equalizer while the game was 2-1. Stamina at the end of the game a concern, but was much better than Clarence Goodson on Wednesday.
DaMarcus Beasley: 6
Cap number 101 was much like cap number 100. Solid on-ball defense and used his athleticism to make up for any mistakes. Still capable of being a dangerous option going forward. Subbed out in the 56th minute.
Graham Zusi: 6.5
Cross that led to Altidore’s goal was world-class. Was much more effective in the offense than in past games. Struggled containing Marcell Jansen who frequently got forward. Puzzling decision to take a short corner in the first half when the U.S. had men unmarked in the box. Subbed off in the 56th minute.
Jermaine Jones: 9
Was by far the fittest player on the pitch, unfazed by the Washington heat and humidity. Wonderful pass to Altidore that led to Dempsey’s first goal. Made smart decisions and nearly scored on a corner kick that was expertly saved by ter Stegen. Pressure on the ball led to German own-goal and was relentless in pursuit. Only a poor pass on a breakout kept this rating from a perfect 10.
Michael Bradley: 7
Played a solid 80 minutes. Work rate and positioning with Jones was exceptional, but did not play a major role in the attack. Faded badly late and was a non-factor for the last ten minutes of the game, assumedly due to jet-lag after arriving from Italy on Thursday. Not a concern going forward.
Fabian Johnson: 5
Provided a solid option on the left hand side going forward, but did not do much defensively considering his natural position. Made several productive runs, one of which led to a good chance that he badly pushed left of goal. Played only the first half and was subbed out after tweaking his hamstring, leaving him doubtful for the Jamaica game.
Clint Dempsey: 9
Has taken his game to another level since being handed the captain’s armband. Was very active in the first half, but only had one offensive chance that was saved to show for it. Was willing to help out on the defensive end. Scored twice in the second half. First goal was a direct strike off an Altidore flick. Second was a wonder strike from distance, set up after faking Lukas Podolski out of his boots.
Jozy Altidore: 8.5
Finally scored a goal during the run of play in the 13th minute, cooly blasting a Zusi cross into the net after shaking off Per Mertesacker. Was active going forward the entire game and never stopped working. Drew two fouls in dangerous positions in the second half and calmly lobbed a flick towards Bradley and Dempsey, the latter of whom finished to make it 3-1. Subbed in the 81st minute.
Brad Davis: 6.5
Came on at the start of the second half and provided solid two-way play for the remainder, but his passing let him down at times. Rocket left-footed corner kick nearly led to a Jones goal that would have made it 5-3.
Eddie Johnson: 5.5
Came on in the 56th minute and immediately made a defensive impact cleaning up a Besler error. Was fairly quiet offensively registering a shot on goal that was easily stopped by the German keeper and was caught offside in a bad position stopping a nice run of American possession.
Edgar Castillo: 3
Came on for Beasley and immediately had a chance to make an offensive impact, but his first touch let him down and the Americans settled for a corner. Was not tested defensively for twenty minutes, but once Sidney Sam was subbed in, was repeatedly burned by the Leverkusen winger. Indirectly responsible for Draxler’s goal.
Terrance Boyd: 3
Came on in the 81st minute and had little impact on the game. Made a foolish decision to try for a shot in stoppage time instead of passing to a wide open Dempsey in the corner when the game was still in doubt.