The United States may still not be one of the top footballing nations in the world, but they are showing an ability to win in tough places with remarkable regularity. Fresh off their first-ever win over the Netherlands, the United States took down the world's top-ranked team on the road, beating Germany 2-1 in Cologne on Wednesday.
Just as they did a few days prior in Amsterdam, players with ties to the Seattle Sounders played a key role. It was Brad Evans' pass to Bobby Wood that set up the 87th-minute winner, with Jordan Morris dummying the ball and opening up space on the same play. Evans also pressured Sami Khedira on what would have been a late equalizer, a header that ultimately hit off the crossbar and preserved the result.
DeAndre Yedlin, who like Evans and Morris was a second-half substitute, nearly notched his second assist in as many games, perfectly setting up Michael Bradley with a low cross inside the penalty area. But Bradley's shot was saved. Morris also nearly scored a spectacular goal, hitting a shot from the top of the penalty area with the outside of his right foot and nearly curling it into the net.
Evans logged 45 minutes in the match and is expected to rejoin the Sounders on Thursday. Since Evans did not play against Netherlands, there's at least a chance he'll be fit in time for Saturday's game against FC Dallas.
- Morris has shown that he can play at this level. His goal against Mexico and his assist against the Netherlands showed that. But what we saw on Wednesday was something a bit different. Morris was confident and smart, moving into dangerous spots and opening up room for his teammates. Yes, he's almost certainly still going to go to Stanford this fall, but if he plays like this in the Gold Cup, it's hard to see how he turns down a professional opportunity much longer than that.
- Evans played right back for the first time since ... Oct. 14 against the Vancouver Whitecaps. For you people without calendars, that was an awful long time ago. Evans showed absolutely no rust. Despite spending most of the last six months as a center back, Evans moved to right back almost effortlessly. One of his first touches in the match was a nutmeg of Lukas Podolski. That takes some impressive confidence.
- We're not going to get too carried away with two results in friendlies, but let's recognize that the USMNT has accomplished some mighty impressive wins under Jurgen Klinsmann's watch. They've now won in Italy, in Mexico, in Holland and in Germany. They'd never done any of those things prior to his arrival. The USMNT is not playing the type of soccer we all hoped, but they are showing they are perfectly capable of beating very good teams on the road. That's a huge step forward.