New England Soccer Today

U.S. Stun Netherlands

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The U.S. Men’s National Team played some impressive counterattacking football in a friendly against sixth-ranked Netherlands at Amsterdam Arena on Friday, overcoming some sloppy defense and a two-goal deficit to stake a 4-3 comeback win. The win was the first ever for the U.S. over the Netherlands after losing their first four match-ups.

The Dutch took the lead through a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar header in the 27th minute, but Gyassi Zardes equalized just three minutes later, leaving the sides tied at one 1-1 going into halftime. The Netherlands then seemingly took control in the second half and went up 3-1 on goals early in the half from Huntelaar and Memphis Depay within the first eight minutes after the break.

But the U.S. wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. An impressive counterattack in the 70th minute saw John Brooks score and cut the deficit to 3-2. The U.S. then looked to escape with a draw when substitute Danny Williams equalized in the 89th minute. The scoring didn’t stop there, however, as the U.S. seemingly did the impossible with substitute Bobby Wood finding a winner in the 90th minute to make it 4-3.

U.S. head coach Jürgen Klinsmann was without several key players including New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones (left groin strain), Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (hamstring injury), former Boston College and current FC Nantes (France) midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (knee issue), and former New England Revolution star and current Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, who remains in Seattle awaiting the birth of his fourth child.

Klinsmann opted to start in a 4-3-3 formation with Brad Guzan starting in net behind a defense of Brek Shea, John Brooks, Ventura Alvarado and Timothy Chandler. Alfredo Morales, Kyle Beckerman, and Michael Bradley made up the midfield with Gyassi Zardes, Aron Johannsson, and Fabian Johnson playing up top. Revolution striker Juan Agudelo saw no time in the match.

Despite the Netherlands controlling 62 percent of the possession in the first half, the U.S. often looked the more dangerous side on the counterattack.

After some half chances for both teams the U.S. had the first real opportunity in the 15th minute off a poorly cleared corner kick. The ball came to Alvarado, who headed it back into the box. Two Dutch defenders failed to deal with the ball and it fell to Zardes near the six yard both. Zardes’ quick shot was too close to Jasper Cillessen, who made the save.

Four minutes later the U.S. threatened again when a cross from Jóhannsson was redirected to Bradley at the top of the box. Bradley hit a left footed shot that beat Cillessen, but was denied by the post.

The U.S. counterattacking success continued in the 21st minute, when Shea was played down the left flank and used his pace to get behind the defense. Shea ran into the box and hit a low shot on frame, but again the accuracy let the U.S. down as his effort was too close to Cillessen.

It was the Netherlands would strike first in the 27th minute when Memphis Depay played a perfect cross from the left flank into the box. Huntelaar got behind the defense and got an open header that he easily powered past Guzan.

Just six minutes later, however, the U.S. would find an equalizer through Zardes. Johnson got the ball on the right flank and played a deep cross that found Zardes rushing in on goal. The ball fell perfectly for Zardes to get around his defender and hit a shot in from close range, knotting the score at 1-1. The goal was Zardes’ first for the U.S.

The Netherlands should have retaken the lead in the 39th minute after Depay got behind the U.S., beat his defender and got Guzan out of position, but took too much time and opted to pass, rather than shoot, allowing the U.S. to clear.

The U.S. looked to have fallen behind just before halftime when a cross from the right found two wide-open Dutch players in the left side of the box and was finished by Georginio Wijnaldum. The play was called back, however, for an apparent foul on the build-up.

Just after halftime it was the home side with another chance to take the lead when Robin Van Persie rose above Brooks to meet a cross at point blank range, but Guzan made a big save. Van Persie also tried to flick the rebound on frame, but Beckerman cleared it.

Guzan was unable to bail out the U.S. defense in the 49th minute, however, as Huntelaar again beat the defense to a header off a long lob from Depay. His header was powered past Guzan for the second time, making it 2-1.

Brooks thought he had equalized two minutes later with a header off a U.S. corner kick, but the call was called back for a push on his defender prior to the header.

The Dutch then extended their lead to two in the 53rd minute. Guzan saved Wijnaldum’s initial header from point blank range, but the ball came back to the home side. Huntelaar hit a hard shot that deflected off Depay, hit the post and went in, to make it 3-1.

Only another key save from Guzan kept the deficit at two in the 62nd minute as the U.S. ‘keeper kept out another point blank shot with a kick save.

Two minutes later the U.S. found themselves with a numbers advantage on the counterattack with Bradley sending a low cross from the right flank in the box. The ball was behind Johannsson, but fell to Zardes making a late run. Zardes powered a low shot on frame, but Cillessen was there to make the save.

The U.S. managed to cut the deficit back to one in the 70th minute after Brooks won the ball near midfield. Brooks played the ball to Bradley who found substitute DeAndre Yedlin making a run into the right side of the box. Yedlin sent a low cross in front of goal where a wide-open Brooks hammered it home, cutting the Dutch lead to 3-2.

Three minutes later U.S. substitute Bobby Wood had a chance from outside the box, forcing Cillessen into another difficult save.

Netherlands nearly scored again in the 83rd minute as they stretched the U.S. defense. Daley Blind got in behind and sent a cross to Luuk de Jong. De Jong would’ve had an easy tap in, but the pass was behind him and got caught up in his feet, allowing the U.S. to clear at the last second.

Substitutes came up big to equalize for the U.S. in the 89th minute after substitute Jordan Morris got behind the defense and ran in on goal. Cillessen saved the shot, but could only push it wide for a corner. On the ensuing corner, the ball fell to substitute Danny Williams, who blasted a shot that was deflected, leaving Cillessen with no chance, making it 3-3.

Netherlands then nearly retook the lead, being denied only by the post, but the U.S. would grab a shocking victory on the counterattack. Bradley and Morris combined to find another substitute, Wood, in the box, who finished it off to give the U.S. a 4-3 victory.

The U.S. now travels to Cologne, Germany to face Germany on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. ET, live on Fox Sports 1.

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