AMSTERDAM — The United States men’s national team defeated the Netherlands 4-3 in a wild match at Amsterdam Arena.
[ RECAP: Netherlands 3-4 USMNT ]
Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t have his full side for the friendly, playing without key men Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Jermaine Jones. With a makeshift back line forced to mark the likes of Memphis Depay and Robin Van Persie, the U.S. recovered from a terrible ten minute stretch in the second half to come from behind for a shocking win thanks to two late goals from Danny Williams and Bobby Wood.
Here’s three things we learned from the match, as the USMNT will look to build on this win with the Gold Cup coming in July.
KLINSMANN IS STILL FIGURING OUT HIS FORMATION
The starting lineups came out with the USMNT in a 4-3-3, with Gyasi Zardes and Fabian Johnson flanking Aron Johannsson up top. It was a bold move by Klinsmann to start in this formation, considering the second-tier back line he was forced to play against the potent Dutch attack. With the speed of Holland on the outsides, Zardes and Johnson were forced to track back on defense quite a bit in the first half, playing more in a winger role than as strikers.
To start the second half, Klinsmann switched to a 4-2-3-1, with Kyle Beckerman and Alfredo Morales sitting in defensive central midfield roles, while Michael Bradley centered Zardes and Johnson. That change didn’t work out as planned, as the Netherlands scored twice in the first ten minutes of the half. The U.S. was unlucky as the third goal took a deflection leaving Brad Guzan helpless in goal, but the play was all Holland coming out of the break.
Yes, the USMNT pulled out a win, and yes they were playing against a Netherlands side that is ranked number six in the world. But with the Gold Cup coming up in July, Klinsmann needs to start getting some consistency in his tactics so the side is confident and comfortable when the games really matter.
YEDLIN WILL BE KEY AT THE GOLD CUP
After the Dutch scored two quick goals to open the second half, Jurgen Klinsmann made some changes, with DeAndre Yedlin replacing Brek Shea. The young Tottenham man immediately got involved in the play, using his fresh legs to add some spark to the U.S. attack. Yedlin is one of the few players who has the natural speed to keep up with the Oranje, and that was on full display when he helped create the United States’ second goal.
Yedlin took a beautiful through ball from Michael Bradley in behind the Dutch defense and found John Brooks wide open in the box for an easy tap in. Considering Yedlin was being marked by Manchester United’s Daley Blind, it was quite impressive to see him breeze by the back line.
At the Gold Cup in July, Yedlin will be one of the fastest players for the USMNT and his presence on the attack will be key to success. However, he must remember his responsibilities defensively first, making sure to track back as well as contributing to the offense.
YOU CAN NEVER COUNT OUT THE STARS AND STRIPES
After the first ten minutes of the second half, it looked like the United States was down and out. Playing against a top Dutch side that looked to be firing on all cylinders, Klinsmann’s men battled back. Substitutes Danny Williams and Bobby Wood both scored late, late goals to help the Stars and Stripes come from 3-1 down to leave Amsterdam with a 4-3 win.
While surely going down two goals isn’t in the plans, the guts shown by a relatively young U.S. side is a great positive moving forward to the Gold Cup. Gyasi Zardes scored his first goal, while Bobby Wood and Danny Williams scored off the bench for the USMNT, and doing so in Amsterdam against the Dutch should work wonders for their confidence.
A match is 90 minutes long, and you have to play every minute. This match shows that no matter what, the U.S. is going to fight to the final whistle.