So a morale-boosting victory for the USA before they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday.
The world wasn't over when Belgium beat the US last week, and the US don't rule it now they've beaten Germany today, but few teams will score four against even a depleted Germany side, and the US deserve credit. And of course the big news is the return of Jozy Altidore as an attacking threat. The US need him to carry this form forward now. Elsewhere, Dempsey was Dempsey — it's easy to take him for granted until you realize how many more goals he's chipped in than any other US player of late. And he hustled throughout the game.
The US still have question marks about some of the soft goals they can concede, and Gonzalez, for all his promise, tends to be there or thereabouts when crucial mistakes are happening. But this was quite a way to celebrate a birthday and nothing will spoil their day. Thanks for all your tweets and emails. Sorry I didn't get to use them all. See you on Friday for Jamaica vs USA. Good afternoon.
FULL TIME: USA 4-3 GERMANY
Replays show the penalty appeal was hardly merited, as Muller went down very softly.
Germany launch a final ball into the box and Howard claims comfortably. He launches it long and the referee blows for time!
Final thoughts in a moment...
90 mins +1
Germany appeal for a penalty amid a chaos of bodies in the box, but the game moves to the other end. Boyd should have headed to the corner to kill time, but instead he shoots high and wide, to Dempsey's displeasure.
Podolski looks up on the edge of the box and slams a shot that's instantly deflected. It could have gone anywhere but skews out for a goal kick.
The US briefly get a break but Boyd (who replaced Altidore) has a heavy touch and has to settle for a corner. It's a good one and Jones almost powers a Davis cross home, but Stegen lifts his personal score for the day with a reflex tip over. Good save. There'll be two minutes added time...
Sam cuts inside and leaves Castillo for dead out on the flank. He has a lot of space on the edge of the box, but his shot is high and wide. He should have done better, but the Germans are looking dangerous with every attack right now.
US are looking rather tired now as Germany try to complete the comeback. Gonzalez does just enough to force Muller off the ball at the expense of a corner. It almost deceives Howard who has to punch clear at the last minute as it almost carries over him.
Germany keep the ball around the box and Catillo has to be quick to slam the ball clear as it pinballs around in the box.
So the Germans get their multi-goal game again, and pull within one of the USA who face a nervy finish to this game. Their backline rather lost their concentration on that goal, and once again Gonzalez was rather implicated in his positioning an ball-watching.
GOAL USA 4-3 (DRAXLER!)
The US have a free kick wide left and they use the break to bring off Altidore to a warm round of applause. Germany, perked up by that goal are trying to force a grandstand finish and...they do.
Sam, on for Jansen, sends a low shot skidding across the turf and Howard can only push it into the path of the wide open Draxler who slots home. Game on!
GOAL! USA 4-2 GERMANY (KRUSE!)
Kruse fashions himself a little bit of space near the corner of the box and is able to curl a left foot shot that goes just past the far upright. Then a moment later he cuts in from the other side and on his other foot and smashes a neat finish past Howard at his near post.
Germany will be encouraged by Kruse's first two performances here and against Ecuador last week. There's not a lot else they'll want to remember about this game as it stands. Just over ten minutes to change the story.
The US are understandably not looking to force anything here, while Germany have not matched the intensity with which they opened the second half since the US scored their third. They get a corner but can't do anything with it as the ball drifts harmlessly over.
Camera lingering on Evans, who has done fine in this afternoon's assignment.
Dempsey is on the alert for his third and almost sniffs out a chance from layoff by Davis. Nothing doing this time round, but he's been a menace throughout.
Jamaica, who the US face on Friday, will be watching this game, and the re-emergence of Altidore as an international force, very carefully. They'll be hoping the Belgian version shows up. For now the US are passing the ball around to frustrate the Germans with possession
Kruse has been one of the few bright spots for Germany today since he came on, but that was a sloppy pass to lose possession in an advanced position down the left.
Germany have looked rather "wilted" in this last ten minutes. They have to face a free kick near the corner of the box now, after a tired challenge on Altidore as he made a nuisance of himself. It's USA 4-1 Germany. That's USA 4-1 Germany...
Stegen is not doing his starting goalkeeper ambitions any good with this scoreline, but there's not a lot he could have done with that Demspey shot, once Podolski had stood off the US man and given him the half yard he needed to get the shot off. Germany looking very tired right now.
GOAL! USA 4-1 GERMANY (DEMPSEY!)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! No pressure on Dempsey just outside the box, but he still looks like he's not anywhere dangerous when he cuts back sharply and curls a beautiful shot into the top corner with his left foot, and the US are in dreamland.
Schürrle is given a poor pass by Podolski and the US intercept. for a minute the counter is on but they slow play down again and Germany regroup and retrieve the ball. On ESPN Ian Darke is reminding us that Germany have scored at least two goals in 21 of their last 25 internationals. This one will have a twist or turn or two yet.
That was Dempsey's 34th goal to draw level with Wynalda as the number two all-time scorer. And what a perfect time to score it, with Germany just beginning to turn the screw. Now the Americans are stroking the ball around midfield, to the delight of their fans.
GOAL USA 3-1 GERMANY (DEMPSEY!)
Davis's near post corner is hooked clear but the US retaiun possession and that man Altidore gets to the byline down the left and pulls a ball back that drops beautifully for Dempsey who hits a perfect half volley home. Half an hour to go and the US lead 3-1!
Howard has to get up well to pluck another dangerous cross out of the air with Klose waiting. Now they have another corner. It's cleared by the US who break, then instantly slow play down to hold possession over forcing the counter-attack. It gets them a corner.
These few minutes will be crucial as the Germans look to build on their sharp start to the second half. Play stops temporarily as Jones appears to have a neck injury.
Castillo and Johnson come on for Zusi and Beasley, just after a half chance for Klose is headed wide. US in no rush to make the substitutions as they try to break up Germany's early tempo.
The US get the run of the ball after a poor Jones pass breaks for Beasley, who cuts inside and finds himself in the box. He shoots straight at the keeper and takes a whack on the back of the head from Höwedes for his troubles. Lively response to conceding though.
GOAL! USA 2-1 GERMANY (WESTERMAN!)
The US look a little ragged at the back early on, as Kruse takes off on a smart run to the byline and lofts a tricky cross to the back post, where Beasley heads it for a corner.
From the corner Gonzalez loses Westerman in the six yard box and he plants a simple, firm header past Howard. US fans might want to dig in for a long half now.
Other German subs were Aogo for Jansen and Kruse for Sven Bender. Podolski has dropped to midfield and Kruse has pushed up front. Still USA 2-0 Germany
The corner is headed just over. Klinsmann has descirbed the second half as a "mind game". Germany haven't lost to the US since 1999, in the Confederations Cup. Can they turn this around here?
Demspey is down after being clattered. He'd intercepted a loose Draxler pass and was caught by Wollscheid (in for Mertesacker). He's back on his feet now.
Bunch of changes that I'll fill you in on when I get a chance. Germany get going first with a floated cross from Draxler that's nodded clear for a corner by Beasley.
US have replaced Johnson with Davis. Slight hamstring issue apparently.
The President's autocue is in good working order
President Obama is delivering a speech to camera congratulating US soccer on 100 years. Unfortunately it cuts into the start of the ....PEEP! ...second half.
Jurgen's strategic game plan...
Not to be outdone, the US women’s team is celebrating today too, when they take to the field in Toronto directly after this game to play a fixture that thanks to last year’s Olympics epic will have additional resonance beyond neighborly rivalry, as Canada look to avenge themselves for the game they believe was stolen from them by bad refereeing.
It could also see Abby Wambach move another step closer to overtaking Mia Hamm as the all-time leading USA goalscorer. She’s within a hat trick’s distance. And as anyone who saw last year’s game knows, this is a fixture that’s thrown up hat tricks before...for Christine Sinclair.
Half time thoughts
A great start for the US and one man in particular.
Jozy Altidore has had a rough tie translating his formidable 2013 club form to the international team, but in a wonderful first 45 minutes he not only broke his two year scoring drought at this level but had more shots than in his last four US appearances combined.
Yes, the US were gifted a second by the clearly nervous Stegen, and the Germans had some great chances in the first half, but the US deserved something for a very positive start. Nobody would have anticipated this score at half time (and there's clearly a long way to go) before we kicked off, but this is set up intriguingly for the second half. Is Jurgen about to get another famous friendly result?
HALF TIME: USA 2 GERMANY 0
Half time thoughts in a moment...
45 mins +1
Jansen takes advantage of the US defense going to sleep for a moment to get to the byline and cut a low ball back into the box. It's cut out and that turns out to be the last significant action of the half.
Game being played at walking pace in the American half as half time approaches. Sven and Lars Bender combine on the right, but can't create a chance, and eventually a floated cross arrives to an offside Draxler and the US will have the restart.
Now it's a US corner and a chance to exploit the German zonal marking. Only it's not zonal marking any more. They've switched to man marking. Seems to work well enough. Cleared without drama.
Slight pause, which allows Gideon Nachman to wail:
"Am I the only one who rates Eric Lichaj? I feel that he is vastly underplayed at both the club and international level."
Germany have a corner as Evans dives in well to dispossess Podolski on his attempted overlapping run. Then he's in the box to head the ball clear. Germany still have possession and Draxler pulls back a tempting low drive to the edge of the box, where Podolski hits a very poor skied shot. Germany have had chances but they are losing 2-0.
Zusi tries to work a short corner, but rather makes a meal of it and no cross finds its way into the box (he said awkwardly).
Thanks to my Howler ed and sometime Guardian contributor George Quraishi for that...
Zusi twists and turns near the byline to pick out his cross, but having done the hard work his cross is poor and the Germans clear. The Americans still have the ball though and Beasley gets forward on the other flank to earn a corner as he goes round Bender...
The game has definitely slowed down in the heat. The German midfield allowed more time on the ball. Schürrle has a chance to play Draxler in as he sprints round the outside, but the pass is just overhit and the US have a goal kick.
Dempsey hustling a lot through the middle and not letting the German defense settle. He and Altidore hustle a little too hard though and the Germans get a free kick which they move forward and turn into a corner, as Beasley has to make an intervention. USA 2-0 Germany after half an hour.
Jones picks up the ball on a heavy German first touch and races forward down the right. Altidore peels towards the back post, but Jones's would be cross is intercepted comfortably.
At the other end Evans has to improvise well to hook out a chip over the back line intended for Podolski.
Germany trying to push the US back, but so far the US are pressing just as firmly to win the ball back and not give their opponents time to build anything.
24 mins - Klose goal disallowed
The US back four step up and catch Klose offside as he racks back. just as well they did, because the striker picked up a through ball and slotted it under Howard. A warning though.
"Flatley" has some thoughtson that all-time US XI:
"dooley for lalas surely. and wynalda deserves a shout as well"
Wynalda likes a shout, certainly.
Germany trying to settle now and play the ball around outside the US box. Which they do without yet finding the final pass.
A loose ball finds its way to Altidore just inside the German half, and bursting with confidence he tries to lob the nervous keeper from there. He doesn't manage it.
Schürrle is allowed to go on a meandering run through the US defense from the right, but the future Chelsea player, having done all the hard work to dribble past the rather lax US defense, drags his shot past the post.
At the other end a touch from Altidore releases Dempsey for a shot from the edge of the box that stings the keeper's hands. USA 2-0 Germany (believe it or not...)
GOAL! USA 2-0 (OG STEGEN!)
...terrible mistake from the Germans, as Höwedes back pass under excellent pressure from the US forwards, is totally misjudged by the keeper who watches the ball trickle over his line for an own goal. And the US are 2-0 up! Amazing start!
Great movement by Altidore in the build up to split the center backs again.
Now Johnson drifts inside and dribbles to the right of the box to create a shooting chance but drags it just wide. Hang on...
GOAL! USA 1-0 GERMANY (ALTIDORE!)
So after a lively start from them, the Americans are lucky to still be level, as the Germans finally introduce themselves into this game.
But then at the other end Zusi hits a perfect first time cross to Altidore in the box, and the striker hits a perfect first time volley to score his first open play goal under Klinsmann. Perfect timing!
12 mins - BIG MISS BY MERTESACKER
The US never quite get out from the corner and as the ball finds its way back into the box, Mertesacker stumbles past Beasley before sliding the ball past Howard while one-on-one eight yards out. The ball slides juuuuust wide of the post. Big let off for the hosts.
Germany perhaps easing their way into the game to account for the sapping effect of the heat. Certainly the US won't be pressing as much as this the whole game.
The US looking for long diagonal balls from deep midfield, and they're seeing glimpses of openings, but Germany snuff out the approaches and get forward themselves. Gonzalez has to react quickly to address a Klose run into the box and concede a corner...
USA 0-0 Germany after 10 mins...
Altidore looking lively at the start of this one, popping up on the right to torment Jansen again and earning a free kick. It's whipped in by Zusi and met by Altidore, though he can only drag his header across goal.
Nice start by the US.
Germany the slower to settle here, but now they have a free kick in the US half and can maybe test the US resilience at the restart. It's taken quickly and the Germans try to walk through the US midfield, but Drexler's shot is charged down by Gonzalez on the edge of the box.
No 9 second Podolski goal then, and if anything it's the US who've started stronger. Mertesacker gets up well at the near post to clear the corner under pressure from Dempsey.
Altidore lively again, pressuring Jansen into conceding a throw deep in German territory. It's taken long but the US are penalized for an infringement as the ball lands in the box.
Gonzalez with an early sloppy pass out from the back, but Germany just fail to intercept.
Then a long ball over the top sees Altidore work a little bit of space between the center backs to fire an early shot to earn a corner...
It's cleared but knocked back in and the US will have another corner...
A moments silence for the tornado victims in Oklahoma and we're ready to get underway...
The US kick off on a very hot afternoon in D.C.
Looking at that line-up, I think Evans is the most intriguing inclusion, with Klinsmann speaking very favorably about his "intelligence" and ability to adapt to whatever position he's placed in. He also describes this as a "real opportunity" for the player. Not everyone is convinced...
Darius crops up on a lot of our liveblogs as the proverbial "tough crowd"...
OK, teams just came out of tunnel and anthems are starting, so we'll be under way in a few moments. Twitter waits with baited breath to start casting its verdict.
USA: Howard; Evans, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; Jones, Bradley; Zusi, Dempsey ©, F. Johnson; Altidore
Germany: Stegen; L Bender, Mertesacker, Howedes, Jansen; S. Bender, Reinartz; Schurrle, Draxler, Podolski; Klose
OK, so it looks like both teams in a 4-2-3-1 (though the US may be more of a 4-4-1-1) and a couple of notable changes for the US, with Evans starting in the back line, Fabian Johnson being dropped in to fill the wide left role he plays for Hoffenheim, and Matt Besler and Brad Evans getting a start in a back line that, unsurprisingly after the Belgium game, has changed yet again. And of course Michael Bradley is in the side as the midfield fulcrum.
Germany are without the majority of their Bayern and Dortmund players, but as ‘B’ teams go that’s still a mighty strong side put out by the nation ranked 2 in the world.
All time greats
ESPN researchers have decided to celebrate the 100 year birthday by naming an all-time US XI (possibly with slight deference to the fact that Alexi Lalas and Brad Friedel are part of the commentary team):
Here it is:
Keller; Bocanegra, Pope, Balboa, Lalas; Jones, Ramos, Reyna, Donovan; Dempsey, McBride
USA vs Germany
These two teams do of course have history...
It’s been quite a year for German football, culminating in last week’s rather fun Champions League final, but there may be a couple of landmarks still to come. Miroslav Klose needs just one goal to equal Gerd Müller’s German-scoring record, and he may be teamed up with Lucas Podolski (as they were under Klinsmann in the 2006 World Cup). Podolski is no slouch in the goalscoring stakes himself, and a couple of goals today would take him into outright third in the German scoring charts, ahead of Klinsmann himself and Rudi Voller.
No Sami Khedira or Mesut Oezil, what with the Spanish season only just finishing (and there’s been some criticism of the timing of this tour right at the end of the Bundesliga season, back home), but even a depleted German squad still looks pretty formidable:
Goalkeepers: Rene Adler (Hamburger SV), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia Moenchengladbach).
Defenders: Dennis Aogo (Hamburger SV), Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Marcell Jansen (Hamburger SV), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Heiko Westermann (Hamburger SV), Philipp Wollscheid (Nuremberg).
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Aaron Hunt (Werder Bremen), Nicolai Mueller (Mainz), Roman Neustaedter (Schalke), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Stefan Reinartz (Bayer Leverkusen), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), Andre Schuerrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Max Kruse (Freiburg).
Forward: Miroslav Klose (Lazio).
Here’s how they did against Ecuador on the first date of the tour. As you’ll see, Podolski didn’t waste any time in adding to his personal tally...
One of the big questions that will persist over the next year, partly because people like myself keep asking it, is some variation on “Is there a route back for Landon Donovan into this team?” The answer seems to be yes, though as things stand it’s via the purgatory of the Gold Cup, where he has been named as part of the provisional squad, alongside other notables such as MLS-leading goalscorer Jack McInerney, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden (whose reappearance was one of the few bright spots for the US against Belgium). And there are places too for bright young things (well, they’re younger than me) Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra.
Klinsmann had previously said he didn’t intend to use players from the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers in the Gold Cup, which makes the inclusion of Omar Gonzalez interesting even given the as-expected emphasis on MLS players in the squad.
Anyway here’s the squad in full (as lifted from mlssoccer.com):
Defenders (11): Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla/Mexico), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Carlos Bocanegra (Racing Santander/Spain), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana/Mexico), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby/Denmark), Oguchi Onyewu (Málaga/Spain), Michael Orozco Fiscal (Puebla/Mexico), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg/Germany)
Midfielders (13): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Helsingborgs/Sweden), Joe Corona (Tijuana/Mexico), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/Norway), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Josh Gatt (Molde/Norway), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers/England), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Brek Shea (Stoke City/England), Jose Torres (Tigres UANL/Mexico), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards (7): Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna/Mexico), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich/Germany)
As for today, the squad is a little stronger than for Belgium with the arrivals of Bradley, Johnson and Williams into the squad on Thursday, after domestic commitments (putting out the trash, mowing the lawn etc) elsewhere.
Welcome to the official 100 year birthday party for US Soccer. The USA are playing Germany at RFK Stadium to mark the occasion - as the venue for more US internationals than any other stadium, it seems a fitting site, and apparently we have a sell out crowd for the game.
This should be fun. The US got the festivities under way early in midweek, when they played Belgium and delighted their guests with a series of party favors that the Belgians gleefully accepted en route to a 4-2 win. The US actually didn’t look bad for stretches of that game, but some awful lapses of concentration did for them. You imagine a slightly gritted teeth Jurgen Klinsmann addressing his team afterwards and pointing out that while it's better to get little errors out of the way during friendly games, those little errors aren't actually mandatory.
Klinsmann likes to put his team through tough friendlies and indeed results in those friendlies have represented the high point of his reign so far, with eye-catching victories in Italy and Mexico helping offset what at times has been an inconsistent tenure. A talented Belgian side and a strong German team certainly represent a tough little warm up for the three crucial World Cup qualifiers the team will be playing next.
It's a sequence of games that the US will go into with a few crucial questions unanswered — not least of which is who are their starting center backs going to be (and for that matter their starting full backs). Not sure if we'll see another outing for that Goodson/Gonzalez pairing at the back after a display that fell a ways short of convincing against Belgium. And while it was nice to see DeMarcus Beasley get his 100th cap, he's perhaps done a little more “striving” than “convincing” in his own recent run at the back — his conspicuous efforts have won him a couple of man of the match awards, but there’s always a sense that he’s operating very close to capacity.
Anyway, grab your party hat and some streamers, crank your German rock way up high and let’s get this party started. Actually let’s get it started in a minute. First, here are the highlights of USA vs Belgium:
OK? You’ve watched that and still want more? Send in your predictions, thoughts and reminiscences on how you knew US soccer when it was only little to @KidWeil on Twitter, or email@example.com if you’re feeling the need for more adjectives. I’ll be back with some more team news and build up shortly.