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Recap of USA’s stunning 4-3 comeback win over Holland

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Trips to Amsterdam often end with things that can barely be believed, or when looked back upon with reflection someone saying, “what in the hell just happened?” That was the USMNT’s match against Holland at the Amsterdam Arena. Whatever symbolic significance this game has, and it has plenty, time to pump the brakes on the hype that will inevitably follow.

Flashing back sometime to a game in Sarajevo, when the US was outclassed in the first half but turned a 3-0 deficit around somehow, this game against Holland has similar hallmarks. When the Dutch were focused, the US were in the game, but lacked the little bit of quality that was shown by Huntelaar and especially Memphis Depay. On merit, they should have been level at halftime but could have been winning 3-1 or losing 3-1 in equal measure.

After Holland scored their two early second half goals, they switched off, allowing the US to build pressure and scalp three goals. The Dutch had numerous chances to put the game away, including an amazing series of chances that hit two posts right after Danny Williams had equalized, and they had plenty of others that went begging because of bad finishing or last-ditch defending.

While the US’ defending was poor despite two defensive midfielders being deployed the entire game, the Dutch defending was somehow worse. Consistently losing their mark, getting outran in midfield by Michael Bradley (who was the man of the match for me), and not being able to deal with the speed of DeAndre Yedlin, Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson. The second goal was a classic example of how the lack of numbers in midfield led to John Brooks of all people having an unimpeded run which Yedlin picked out brilliantly. Are all of these the result of not only poor defending but minds wandering to a far more important contest looming for Holland? Certainly, they both played a role. But this was the best the US has looked going forward since maybe even before the World Cup last year, and it was done all without Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.

In terms of performances, there were many that stood out. Timmy Chandler had his best game in a US shirt and has locked up his spot as the best right back in the pool. Gyasi Zardes finally took one of his numerous chances and had the kind of game that will keep him in Jurgen Klinsmann’s mind for the Gold Cup roster. DeAndre Yedlin also showed why Spurs bought him after the World Cup, since his speed is almost impossible to defend, and Jordan Morris, fresh from Toulon, showed why he is so highly rated by so many people. Even Bobby Wood showed flashes of quality (which is absolutely a result of the Dutch deciding not to defend, but that’s beside the point).

So what does this result that is historic on paper mean in the grand scheme? The Dutch have had an absolute nightmare in Euro’s Qualifying, and this game has showed every reason why. They are as good in attack as ever, but they seem to have disregarded defensive structure and look vulnerable every time the ball is in their own half. Sure their collective minds probably wandered to a game against Latvia (yes that sounds as strange as it was to type out), but the defensive issues are beyond ridiculous.

The US have defensive issues to work out as well. The center-back position is one that still has massive question marks hanging over it, and even with two defensive midfielders they still looked unsure in defense. But going forward there has to be confidence, and Juan Agudelo didn’t even see the pitch today!

Enjoy the result, because the team will likely come back down to earth against a far more organized Germany side on Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean a little celebration isn’t in order. Danny Williams’ celebration explains it all.

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tom Moore

    June 6, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Great win for the squad, rough start to the weekend for the anti-Klinsmann crowd.

    • CTBlues

      June 6, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      God help them if they beat Germany.

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