United States’ Men’s National Soccer Team Growing By the Day

If you are a U.S. soccer fan who has not tuned in to either of their past two matches on European soil, then shame on you. The U.S. has played some of its best games under Coach Jurgen Klinsmann in wins over the Netherlands June 5 and yesterday against 2014 World Cup champion Germany.woods

The U.S. now has a three game winning streak after having beaten Mexico prior to the Netherlands match. On the year, their record sits at 3-1-1 against countries ranked in the top ten in the world. France defeated the U.S. 1-0 while Switzerland and the U.S. played to a 1-1 draw.

What is exciting about these positive results is the team has been missing some of its fixtures like goalkeeper Tim Howard and forwards Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore. This has given Klinsmann the opportunity to look at young talent and these players have not disappointed.

Forward Bobby Woods has come into the last two games as a substitute and scored the winning goal. Against the Netherlands, it was in the 90th minute after teammate Danny Williams had tied the match a minute before. The U.S. were down 3-1 to the Dutch which makes their win even more impressive.

Against the Germans, the U.S. found themselves in a hole twelve minutes into the match as World Cup hero Mario Goetze slotted home a shot on a pass from teammate Patrick Hermann. Once the Americans settled down, they were able to string together some passes including a sequence of 30 passes that ended with a brilliant lofted pass by Michael Bradley just inside the 18 to an oncoming Mix Diskerud who calmly took the ball oh his chest and placed a right-footed volley into the back of the old onion bag in the 41st minute. This was the spark the U.S. needed as they came out and played a strong second half. In the 74th minute, Klinsmann inserted Woods for Gyasi Zardes who had been dangerous up top. In addition, Jordan Morris came in for Aron Johansson who had been fairly ineffective throughout the night. The third sub in the 74th minute was Alfredo Morales who has now appeared in five straight matches. All three players added some fresh legs as Klinsmann was telling his team he was not content playing for the tie. Morris barely missed on a strike with the outside of his right foot shortly after entering the game. Finally, in the 87th minute, Woods netted home the game winner. After receiving a pass outside the 18 from right back Brad Evans, Woods, with his back to the goal, quickly turned to his right and struck a well placed shot just inside the post to the right of German keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.

What is unfortunate is Klinsmann did not include Woods on his 35-man provisional roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup that begins July 7. This roster has to be trimmed to 23 players before the Gold Cup, but no player can be added that was not on the provisional roster.

Going forward, what 2015 has shown is Klinsmann has a great deal of talented players in the U.S. pool. I still disagree with Klinsmann’s decision to omit Landon Donovan from the 2014 World Cup roster. However, Klinsmann has changed the culture of U.S. Men’s Soccer. He has them playing an attacking style of play with all flank players heavily involved in the attack. The speed in the U.S. pool of players is exciting. Zardes, Morris, and DeAndre Yedlin add much-needed speed to the lineup. Yedlin was being groomed to play right back, but now it looks like Klinsmann prefers him as an outside midfielder due to his speed and ability to dribble end line and get crosses into the box.

It is an exciting time for the United States Men’s National Team. Defeating the Germans in Cologne now puts Klinsmann’s record against the team he once played for and coached at 2-1. Be sure to tune in July 3 when the Americans take on Guatamela in their final tuneup before the Gold Cup. In the meantime, enjoy the Women’s World Cup.

And that’s as I see it!

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