Jun 3, 2013

U.S. Withstand Second Half Surge from Germany, get 4-3 Victory at RFK

USA vs Germany RFK
U.S. vs Germany, 6/02/2013 - photo credit: Chris Wimmer
By: Chris Wimmer

RKF Stadium was host to another exciting U.S. Men's National Team match this past weekend as part of the U.S. Soccer centennial celebrations. U.S.A. hosted Germany in an international friendly and more than 47,000 fans packed RFK to witness a goal scoring frenzy that saw the USMNT up 2-0 within the first twenty minutes of the match.

Marc-André ter Stegen
Marc-André ter Stegen
photo credit: Chris Wimmer
In what could only be described as a goalkeeper's worst nightmare, German netminder Marc-André ter Stegen allowed an own goal (see it here) on a seemingly simple passback from his defender gifting the Americans a 2-0 lead early in the first half. To make matters worse for Stegen, minutes later Jozy Altidore of the U.S. had possession of the ball at the center circle of the field and flighted a ball over Stegen's head - causing the German keeper to take a tumble while attempting to back peddle in order to make a play. Although the shot by Altidore sailed over the net, the American fans let loose with a loud chorus of boos and jeers directed at Stegen.

VA Soccer News spoke to D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid after the match to get his thoughts on the troubled first half the 21-year-old Marc-André ter Stegen:

Hamid discusses poor start by Stegen

Tim Howard who some may say is the best ever U.S. goalkeeper also spoke to VA Soccer News about the struggles of Stegen and what goalkeepers do to stay in the game mentally:

Howard on Stegen

Germany came out swinging to begin the second half and quickly cut the American lead to 2-1 but U.S. superstar and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder (12 goals/43 appearances) Clint Dempsey struck with a vengeance, scoring two goals just five minutes apart (60', 65'). The Dempsey brace put the USMNT up 4-1 and RFK was louder than it had been in at least a decade as the American supporters began chanting wildly and had the temporary stands bouncing up-and-down.

A three goal lead, at home, against a not-so-full strength German club, in the second half of play should have been all that was needed to put the game away but the U.S. players seemingly checked out mentally and allowed the Germans to claw their way back to within one goal, 4-3.

The final 10-15 minutes saw Klinsman's squad struggling to hold on for the win, which they did, despite exposing the porous back line yet again. Maybe the U.S. should follow in the footsteps of American Football and hire a Defensive Coordinator to help shore up the suspect defense...just an idea.

Overall the international friendly surely pleased the mostly American contingent of fans with the amount of goals scored, drama, and patriotism that where all in full bloom to kick off the summer and celebrate the first 100 years of U.S. Soccer. Oh, and RFK had what may be one of it's final shining moments as host of another great sporting event.

photo credit: Chris Wimmer