AMSTERDAM (AP) — The United States had been 0-4 against the Netherlands and had just given up a pair of second-half goals, keeping up the pattern of defensive mistakes that has plagued the Americans since last year’s World Cup.
Then the U.S. bounced back — in stunning fashion.
The Americans rallied to beat the Dutch 4-3 in an exhibition on Friday night, giving coach Jurgen Klinsmann another milestone following the Americans’ first victory against Italy and first win at Mexico.
Danny Williams got the tying goal in the 88th minute and Bobby Wood scored 96 seconds later, the first international goal for each. Both were part of a lineup filled with second-half substitutes.
“I was just kind of in shock,” Wood said.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar split the central defenders and scored on headers in the 27th and 49th minutes and assisted on Memphis Depay’s 53rd-minute goal as the sixth-ranked Netherlands built a 3-1 lead.
Gyasi Zardes got his first international goal in the 33rd for the U.S., which reached halftime in a 1-1 tie despite having just 39 percent possession.
Wood (22), Zardes (23) and Williams (26) all failed to make last year’s World Cup roster but could play a role next month at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the Americans hope to successfully defend their title and earn a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup. The U.S. has another test Wednesday when it plays world champion Germany in Cologne.
“We can now counter those heavy legs that maybe some players develop after 55, 60, 65 minutes,” Klinsmann said. “That might be the difference to a year ago. We can now counter that with players that come off the bench that actually can surprise people with speed. And speed plays a big role in the modern game.”
John Brooks, a 22-year-old defender whose late goal lifted the U.S. over Ghana in the Americans’ World Cup opener, cut the U.S. deficit to 3-2 in the 70th minute. He stripped Huntelaar of the ball just shy of midfield, passed to U.S. captain Michael Bradley and kept on running. Bradley sent the ball wide to DeAndre Yedlin, who centered for Brooks to tap in from 6 yards for his second international goal.
Williams tied the score when Luuk De Jong headed the ball weakly following Bradley’s corner kick. Williams intercepted the clearance, and his 20-yard right-footed shot deflected in off De Jong’s outstretched left foot and the underside of the crossbar.
DeJong had two great chances following the kickoff, with Brad Guzan saving an 8-yard header and DeJong knocking the rebound off the crossbar. Bradley then eluded three defenders during a 50-yard run upfield and passed ahead to Jordan Morris. The Stanford sophomore centered for Wood, who swept the ball in with his right foot from 7 yards.
“I was lucky that my shot deflected at the end,” said Williams, who plays for second-tier Reading in England. “It’s an absolutely fantastic feeling to win against Holland in Amsterdam.”
Wood, whose Erzgebirge Aue club was relegated to the German third division, was making just his seventh appearance for the U.S.
“It kind of made me mentally stronger,” Wood said of the unsuccessful relegation fight. “It’s something that every player kind of has to go through. I’m happy that after that hard time I had this good time.”
The Americans, ranked 27th, had been outscored 7-1 by the Dutch. In 11 matches since the World Cup, the U.S. had outscored opponents 12-4 in the first half of matches, then been outscored 12-3 in the second.
U.S. captain Clint Dempsey stayed in Seattle to await the birth of his fourth child. Fellow attacker Jozy Altidore is recovering from a hamstring injury and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was out with a knee injury and watched from the stands.
Guzan, who lost his starting job at Aston Villa in April, made his first national team appearance since November and has been announced as the U.S. starter at the Gold Cup.
“It gives us that belief that when we do play tough teams, when we do play big teams, especially in difficult venues, away from home, outside the United States, that we can go and get wins,” he said.
NOTES: Huntelaar’s goals raised his total to 41 in 72 international matches, moving one ahead of Patrick Kluivert for second place on the Dutch scoring list. Dutch captain Robin van Persie leads with 49. … The Dutch play a European Championship qualifier at Latvia next Friday and are third in Group A after five matches.
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