On June 2nd, the American Soccer Association celebrated their 100th Anniversary at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, the nation’s capital. This would be the RFK’s 22nd international match for the USA Men’s Team, making it the stadium to have hosted the most international games for the team.
For their Centennial Celebration match, the US played hosts to a good German team, which had flown in on the back of a great victory away in Ecuador for a friendly match. USA had drawn 1-1 against Belgium at the match preceding this one but were just as confident as their German opponents heading into this match. After a moment of silence for the Oklahoma tornado victims, the hosts kicked off the game in good fashion.
It took the hosts only 13 minutes to score an opener, and Jozy Altidore was the man. After a 19-month international goal drought, the AZ Alkmaar forward picked up a good cross from Graham Zusi and hit a great right-footed, first-time volley. The German side looked to have been caught off guard by this goal, and things got even worse for them when Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen misread a Benedikt Howedes back-pass and allowed the ball to roll into the empty net just four minutes later. Ter Stegen, who was left red-faced, hoped his side would erase his mistake soon after, but the American defense didn’t feel the same.
Miroslav Klose managed to put the ball into the net for his side 5 minutes later, but his goal was ruled offside. Had it been accepted, Klose’s goal would have brought him level on goals with Gerd Muller’s record of 68 international goals for Germany. It wasn’t, however, as he had clearly been offside.
Joachim Low made 4 substitutions at half-time, with the introduction of Phillipp Wollscheid, Dennis Aogo, Heiko Westermann, and Max Kruse for Per Mertesacker, Marcell Jansen, Lars Bender, and Sven Bender respectively. Jurgen Klinsmann made 1 substitution at half-time, bringing on Brad Davis for Fabian Johnson.
It only took 6 minutes into the second half for another goal to be found. On the 51st minute, after Germany had been awarded a corner which was taken by substitute Max Kruse, SV Hamburger’s Heiko Westermann got away from the American defense and headed brilliantly towards the net from 7 yards to make it 2-1. The half-time changes seemed to have completely changed Germany’s game.
Germany’s joy was, however, short-lived as they conceded a third goal just 9 minutes later on the hour mark when the first of two brilliant goals by Clint Dempsey restored the two-goal cushion for the hosts. Having picked up a good cross from Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey hit a strong shot from 10 yards and beat ter Stegen. Great work from Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Jones as well as Jozy Altidore provided the assist.
Soon after his first goal of the match, Clint Dempsey scored another brilliant goal with his left foot. Just 4 minutes after his first goal, the Tottenham Hotspur striker shot the ball into the corner of the net from a whole 24 yards out, beating the outstretched arms of ter Stegen, and much to the delight of the crowd.
One would have thought that the game was over after this, but the Germans reduced the deficit 15 minutes later courtesy of assistant to the first German goal, Max Kruse. Assisted by Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski, the Frieburg man shot past Tim Howard from just outside the 18 yard box to make it 4-2.
Just over 120 seconds later, the Germans added another goal thanks to a left-footed shot into the net by FC Schalke’s Julian Draxler. Bayer Leverkusen’s Sidney Sam had had his shot saved by Tim Howard, but Draxler was able to get the ball from the rebound and make it 4-3.
With 9 minutes plus added time remaining, Germany had a chance to level things, but the US team managed to hold them and end the match with a beautiful win. An early goal from Jozy Altidore and a brilliant Clint Dempsey brace made the US team’s Centennial Celebration match one to certainly remember for the Red, White, and Blues.
Written by Ange Marline