Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Netherlands 3-4 USA: USMNT plays the role of comeback kids in Amsterdam

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With just 32 days remaining until the start of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the U.S. national team kicked off its final round of pre-Gold Cup roster announcement friendlies on Friday. The Yanks’ late rally from a two-goal deficit reversed the Americans’ trend of conceding late goals, instead scoring a pair of their own inside the game’s final five minutes to beat the Netherlands, 4-3 (full highlights below), in Amsterdam.

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Victory for the USA was their first-ever win over Holland as Gus Hiddink’s side were great going forward, hitting the woodwork twice late on, but were all over the place at the back and the U.S. took full advantage.

The lineup deployed by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was short a number of key contributors — Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Jozy Altidore, to name a few — and averaged 23.5 years of age among its 11 members, and yet somehow, it was five younger-for-older substitutions in the second half that tilted the game in the USMNT’s favor.

The game’s first real chance fell to the feet of Gyasi Zardes in the 15th minute. The LA Galaxy striker pounced on the botched clearance of two Dutch defenders outside their own six-yard box. Zardes made a quick turn eight yards out from goal and fired a quick snap-shot on goal, but Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen made a quick-reaction kick save.

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After struggling to do so very early on, Klinsmann’s side found its footing and the Yanks settled into a nice spell of possession and looked the more dangerous side for the ensuing 10 minutes. Michael Bradley, captaining the USMNT on his 97th international appearance, fired a low, left-footed shot off Cillessen’s left-hand post in the 19th minute, and Fabian Johnson’s follow-up shot went inches wide of the opposite post.

In the 26th minute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar lost U.S. defender John Brooks, got behind the American backline and raced in, one on one, with Guzan. Brooks made a desperate recovery run, though, reeling the Dutch marksman in and made the last-ditch block of Huntelaar’s shot.

[ RELATED: Comeback win massive for USMNT confidence ahead of big summer ]

Less than a minute later, Huntelaar wouldn’t waste his next chance, a header from 11 yards out. Manchester United new boy Memphis Depay served up the in-swinging cross, which eluded Brooks and fellow center back Ventura Alvarado, and found the head of Huntelaar, who finished like the prolific goalscorer he is (40th international goal).

The USMT equalized just six minutes later, though, when Zardes used the entirety of his 6-foot-2 frame to get on the end of Johnson’s out-swinging cross to the back post. Zardes applied the outside-of-the-foot finish from an extremely tight angle, and the ball found the back of the net after a deflection off Cillessen for his first international goal.

[ RELATED: Klinsmann reacts to USMNT’s wild win in Amsterdam ]

The second half began with the Dutch pouring more pressure on the U.S. defense in the 47th minute, as Robin van Persie headed Daley Blind’s left-footed cross goalward, only to see Guzan palm the ball away from close range. The rebound then fell to Van Persie, whose quick backheel was cleared away from goal by Kyle Beckerman.

A minute later, Huntelaar doubled his tally and restored the Dutch lead when he headed home Gregory van der Wiel’s cross from the right, beating Michael Orozco at the near post and beating Guzan once again.

Four minutes later, Huntelaar nearly completed his hat trick, if not for a deflection off Depay six yards out from goal. Huntelaar’s first-time shot from outside the penalty area looked destined to challenge Guzan once again, but the goal-bound ball glanced off Depay, wrong-footing the American ‘keeper and finding the back of the net to make the score 3-1.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | Gold Cup 2015 | MLS ]

Following four substitutions in quick succession, the Yanks pulled a goal back in the 70th minute, when Bradley played DeAndre Yedlin into the Dutch penalty area, where his simple, squared cross found the boot of a seriously overlapping Brooks for the easy finish at the back post.

Danny Williams pulled the USMNT level in the 89th minute with a fierce strike and deflection outside the penalty area, which beat Cillessen at the near post. A minute later, Bradley played Jordan Morris down the right side of the Dutch penalty area, where he crossed to the top of the six-yard box and Bobby Wood redirected the ball inside the far post for an unlikely 4-3 comeback victory.

The USMNT returns to action next Wednesday, June 10, when they’ll face the current World Cup holders, Germany, in a friendly in Cologne, Germany.

LINEUPS

Netherlands: Cillessen, Janmaat (van der Wiel 46′), Bruma, Martins Indi, Blind, Clasie (Sneijder 78′), Wijnaldum, Promes (Narsingh 46′), van Persie (Propper 56′), Depay, Huntelaar (de Jong 78′)

Goals: Huntelaar (27′, 49′), Depay (53′)

USMNT: Guzan, Shea (Yedlin 57′), Brooks, Alvarado (Orozco 46′), Chandler, Morales (Diskerud 56′), Beckerman (Williams 63′), Bradley, Zardes (Morris 81′), Johannsson (Wood 65′), Johnson

Goals: Zardes (33′), Brooks (70′), Williams (89′), Wood (90′)

At the half — Netherlands 1-1 USMNT; Watch Gyasi Zardes open his international account (Follow live)

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Gyasi Zardes’ first international goal has the United States men’s national team in Amsterdam on Friday.

Michael Bradley, Zardes and Brek Shea were among those stopped by Jesper Cillessen in the first half from Holland, where Jurgen Klinsmann’s Yanks had the better of the chances on the road early, before the home side settled in late.

And Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored on a 27th minute header to give the Dutch their advantage before Zardes tied it up six minutes later.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: PST’s Kyle Lynch in Amsterdam]

Zardes came upon a massive opportunity when a pair of Dutch backs miscommunicated on a clear, but his side-volley on the turn was parried by Jesper Cillessen.

The Netherlands had a good spell of possession and threat near the 19th minute, but Kyle Beckerman was instrumental in quelling the attack.

Bradley beat Cillessen in the 20th minute, but hit the goal post before Fabian Johnson was offside in slotting the rebound off the opposite post.

Moments later, Shea flew up the left wing to collect a through ball and dart in goal, but his low shot hardly challenged Cillessen.

Daley Blind had a hard shot from the top of the 18 take a turn off Timmy Chandler and go out of play in the 24th minute, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar took way too long on a golden chance two minutes later before the Yanks’ John Anthony Brooks made up for poor positioning.

But Huntelaar netted moments later, getting his 40th national team goal when he darted between Ventura Alvarado and John Anthony Brooks to head Memphis Depay’s cross past Guzan.

Zardes found the equalizer, and his first international goal, at Amsterdam Arena when he pushed a cross from Fabian Johnson off of Cillessen and into the goal.

Depay should’ve lifted the Dutch back into the lead in the 39th minute, but he tried to find Van Persie instead of the back of the goal. He also nearly scored just before halftime, but lashed wide of the goal.

LINEUPS

Netherlands: Cillessen; Janmaat, Bruma, Martins Indi, Blind; Clasie, Wijnaldum; Promes, van Persie, Depay; Huntelaar.

Goal: Huntelaar (27′)

USMNT: Guzan; Shea, Brooks, Alvarado, Chandler; Morales, Beckerman, Bradley-c; Zardes, Johannsson, Johnson

Goal: Zardes (33′)

UEFA Champions League roundup: Porto rolls, Real Madrid escapes

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Two teams advanced into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday in markedly-different fashion.

[ MORE: Three things from MLS Week 1 ]

Porto absolutely smashed Swiss champs Basel from the competition, while Real Madrid had to withstand a Schalke attack that came one goal from a startling upset.

Real Madrid 3-4 (5-4) SchalkeRECAP

Roberto Di Matteo’s visitors just wouldn’t go away, scoring goal after goal to keep the hopes of an historic upset alive. Schalke took 1-0, 2-0 and 4-3 leads in the match yet never equalized on aggregate, as Real Madrid’s 2-0 road win from leg No. 1 held up.

Which isn’t to say Los Merengues didn’t have their moments. Cristiano Ronaldo provided the first two equalizers of the night before Karim Benzema gave Real an all-too-brief 3-2 lead.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice for Schalke while Christian Fuchs opened the scoring and teenage striker Leroy Sane added the fourth.

Basel 4-0 (5-1) PortoRECAP

source: APThis one wasn’t close at all. While Basel held Porto at bay for most of the first leg, Portugal was an entirely different party, one where the hosts ripped shots from every angle into the Swiss goal.

Tomáš Vaclík was spectator on the first Basel goal, Yacine Brahimi’s free kick tracing the top of the Basel wall before leaving the keeper flat-footed. Distance goals followed from Casemiro, his a stunning free kick, as well as Hector Herrera and Vincent Aboubakar.

See Brahimi’s goal here, and the other three here.

Real Madrid 3-4 (5-4) Schalke: Reigning champs survive huge scare to make quarterfinals

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Real Madrid lost 4-3 to Schalke at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, as the reigning European champions stumbled into the last eight of the UEFA Champions League after winning 5-4 on aggregate.

In what was supposed to be a routine home win, Schalke twice took the lead in the first half through Christian Fuchs and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but Cristiano Ronaldo equalized twice with his head to make it 2-2 at the break as a below-par Real struggled to contain the Bundesliga outfit.

After the interval Karim Benzema put Real 3-2 up, but Schalke scored through youngster Leroy Sane to make it 3-3 and Huntelaar added another late on to set up a thrilling finish. Real held on, but Schalke gave them an almighty scare as the pressure continues to mount on Carlo Ancelotti and Los Blancos.

[ RELATED: Ancelotti feeling pressure at Real ]

After good work by Max Meyer on the left Cameroon international Eric Choupo-Moting side-footed a decent effort wide inside the first 10 minutes as Schalke started brightly at the Bernabeu.

Teenage winger Meyer then ran at Real’s defense but scuffed a shot wide as the hosts continued to slumber in the early stages. Schalke deservedly took the lead in the 20th minute, as Austrian international Fuchs slammed home at the back post but his strike should have been stopped by Iker Casillas. 1-0 to the Bundesliga outfit as whistles started to surface from the home fans.

However Schalke’s lead was short-lived, as Ronaldo headed home Toni Kroos’ corner in the 25th minute, as the Portuguese international glanced an effort into the net for his 77th goal in European competitions. 1-1.

source: Getty Images
Real were given an almighty scare by Schalke at the Bernabeu.

Real were buoyed by that goal and Schalke lost their early impetus, but just before the break Raphael Varane’s slack back pass put Casillas in trouble and former Real forward Huntelaar almost capitalized. Following that Huntelaar smashes the crossbar from distance and then in the 40th minute he slammed home after Casillas spilled Meyer’s shot. 2-1 to Schalke and it was no more than they deserved. However right on half time, that man Ronaldo headed up Fabio Coentrao’s perfect cross at the back post to score his and Real’s second, as the sides were level at 2-2 at the interval.

[ RELATED: Benzema, Bale, Ronaldo under pressure ]

In the second half Schalke continued to press but Real Madrid took the lead for the first time in the game in the 52nd minute as Benzema picked up a loose ball and ran past three players and the goalkeeper before slotting home. 3-2 to Real as their passage to the quarterfinals was all but secured. Schalke, to their credit, did not give up and Sane curled in a wonderful goal, his first in the UCL, to make it 3-3 in the 57th minute as Schalke needed two more goals in the final 30 minutes to advance.

Tranquillo Barnetta drilled an effort into the box which flashed across goal and Meyer dragged another shot wide, as Schalke pinned Real back late on. Huntelaar made it 4-3 with five minutes to go as he smashed home after Sane and Luka Modric got in a tangle. With Schalke needing just one more goal, Sane curled a great shot on target which Casillas palmed away and then Howedes volleyed on goal late on but Casillas saved with Real holding on to make their fifth-straight UCL quarterfinals. Just.

LINEUPS

Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa (Nacho, 83′), Varane, Pepe, Coentrao (Marcelo, 58′), Kroos, Khedira (Modric, 58′), Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.

Goals: Ronaldo (25′, 44′), Benzema (52′)

Schalke: Wellenreuther; Howedes, Fuchs, Nastasic, Matip; Meyer, Hoger (Goretzka, 57′), Barnetta (Uchida, 81′), Neustadter; Choupo-Moting (Sane, 29′), Huntelaar

Goals: Fuchs (20′), Hunetlaar (40′, 84′), Sane (57′)

LIVE – Champions League: Schalke twice pegged back by Real; Porto lead at the half

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Phew, what a crazy opening 45 minutes that was.

On Tuesday the second legs of two UEFA Champions League last 16 clashes took place, as Schalke took it to Real Madrid and FC Porto squeaked ahead of Basel after a tense first 45 minutes in Spain and Portugal.

[ LIVE – UCL scores, play-by-play ]

In Madrid, Schalke twice took the lead through Christian Fuchs and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but Cristiano Ronaldo equalized twice with headers as Real Madrid have been all over the place at the back. Schalke smell blood.

Over in Porto the home side are ahead thanks to Brahimi’s wonderful free kick, which you can watch here, as they lead 2-1 on aggregate in a tight clash with Swiss side Basel.

You can follow play-by-play on the second half of both games by clicking on the link above.