The under-pressure USA forward delivered in an overwhelming performance, as the Americans emerged victorious in their final tune-up before the next World Cup qualifiers.WASHINGTON -- Jozy Altidore's drought is over, and the U.S. men's national team has a boatload of momentum heading into three vital World Cup qualifiers later this month.
Altidore's first-half goal -- his first for the USA in 19 months -- set the tone for a 4-3 win over Germany in the Centennial Celebration match in front of 47,359 at RFK Stadium on Sunday. Clint Dempsey scored two goals in the second half to put away the result, as the Americans beat Germany for the first time since the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Altidore broke his drought in the 13th minute, hitting a wondrous first-time volley off a cross from Graham Zusi. He had not scored in the run of play for the USA since June 2011, and it was his first international goal since a penalty kick against Slovenia in November 2011.
Four minutes later, the Americans were gifted a goal, as German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen failed to handle Benedikt Howedes' backpass and allowed the ball to creep into the low left corner of his goal.
Miroslav Klose entered the match a goal behind Gerd Muller's German record of 68 international goals, and he nearly brought Germany within 2-1 in the 24th minute. He split the U.S. center backs and finished past goalkeeper Tim Howard, but he was judged to be offside.
Per Mertesacker had an earlier chance to open the scoring, but the Arsenal defender fluffed his chance from close range. Germany got on the board in the 52nd minute, though, with Heiko Westermann heading home Max Kruse's corner kick. The Hamburg defender gained separation from Omar Gonzalez and connected for a clean header to slice the deficit in half.
Clint Dempsey restored the two-goal edge in the 60th minute, blasting home an effort off a cross from Altidore. The forward latched onto a long ball from Jermaine Jones, taking it down off his chest. Even though his touch took him away from goal, he remained patient and spotted both Michael Bradley and Dempsey in the box. The Tottenham attacker made no mistake with his first-time hit to make it 3-1.
"I think today we set the tone from right from the beginning," Klinsmann said. "We pressured them high. We made it very difficult for them to play out of the back, which is what they like to do, and we were right there on their toes. This is what we need to do every game. Every game we need to win battles, and you have to move off the ball and create something. There was a pace and understanding to our game.”
Dempsey added his second in spectacular fashion minutes later, as he put a perfectly placed left-footed hit from long range past ter Stegen to bring the capacity crowd to a fever pitch. Even though Kruse's vicious right-footed strike and Draxler's opportunistic tap-in brought Germany within 4-3, the USA saw out the victory, ensuring that U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann defeated his former national side and assistant coach, Germany manager Joachim Low.
“We’re happy with the win, but at the same time we expect a lot out of ourselves," Dempsey said. "We’re not happy with conceding the amount of goals that we’ve conceded in these two games. It needs to be better. Even though we’re playing against top quality, we need to do a better job of protecting our keeper. At the same time, we’re happy with the result in the sense of winning and we take confidence from beating a good team.”
Of note in the U.S. lineup was that Seattle Sounders midfielder Brad Evans was handed the start at right back, and he more than held his own in providing service down the right flank while marking up Lukas Podolski. Fabian Johnson moved into an advanced winger role and played the first half before coming off in favor of Brad Davis.