USMNT’s comeback win massive for confidence heading into a big summer

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AMSTERDAM — Down 3-1 to a Dutch side ranked sixth in the world, the USMNT scored three goals in the final 20 minutes for a come from behind 4-3 victory in Amsterdam.

[ RECAP: Netherlands 3-4 USMNT ]

Gyasi Zardes and Bobby Wood both scored their first international goals in the win, as the two youngsters have gained some big match experience heading into the Gold Cup in July.

Zardes has starred for the Los Angeles Galaxy but has had his struggles for the national team. After a shaky start to the match, the 23-year-old tallied his first goal for the Stars and Stripes with a cool finish at the back post.

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After the match, Zardes said while he was happy to get on the scoresheet, he is also focused on improving his defensive game, and working with Brek Shea down the wing.

I think [Brek Shea and I] are building chemistry. That was our first time really playing together on that left wing, and I think over a period of time we’ll be pretty good together. [Brek] is extremely fast and he is very gifted technically, so when he can get up more in the attack, I think it will be phenomenal.

The work rate [defensively] was there and I’m constantly learning that winger role. I can attack, but the defending aspect as a team and a unit comes together, and it’s something I’m working on myself. Jurgen just tells me to keep the attacker in front of me and I’ll be fine.”

Michael Bradley, who captained the side in the absence of Clint Dempsey, hailed the play of the younger players, including Zardes, saying the experience gained tonight will pay dividends for years to come.

These games are so important. You have these friendlies, big friendlies in some cases, certainly tonight playing Holland in this stadium. It’s a big occasion.

You hope that the young guys, when they get the opportunities to step on the field in games like this, they make the most of it. Not just in terms of the performance, but in terms of soaking it all in and the experience of that.

A few years down the line when we find ourselves in a World Cup, a Confederations Cup, in big games that really count, we have a bunch of guys who have a feeling like they’ve been here before.”

Only time will tell if Klinsmann’s kids will continue to deliver, but tonight’s win is a massive step forward for the USMNT.