It was supposed to be an opportunity for Team USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann to simply get his young players some pitch time against a talented Netherlands side with stars like Jozy Altidore and Tim Howard either hurt or sitting out altogether.
Instead the United States showed its mettle with an incredible three-goal comeback and 4-3 friendly victory against a loaded Dutch side looking to regroup before the next round of European qualifiers.
The U.S. scored three unanswered goals with defender John Brooks first giving the U.S. some hope in the 70th minute, converting a breathless fastbreak with a right-footed strike down the pipe off DeAndre Yeldin’s assist from the right wing.
From there, midfielder Daniel Williams provided the equalizer in the 89th, and Bobby Wood scored a minute later to cap one of the most impressive wins under Klinsmann’s reign. It marked the first victory over the Netherlands in U.S. history, and the first international goals for Wood and Williams.
Forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar notched a brace to give the Dutch the lead early half way through the first half, and after U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes equalized in the 33rd Huntelaar gave the Dutch another lead four minutes into the second stanza.
Regular PSV Eindhoven forward Memphis Depay would later pad the Netherlands lead with his third international goal in the last year and assisted Huntelaar on his first goal.
The loss further puts manager Guus Hiddink’s side on their heels before they travel to Latvia, and seek to erase poor losses to Mexico and Iceland in the qualifying.
Depay first helped Huntelaar get on the board in the 27th minute, sailing a cross from the left wing deep into the U.S. box for Huntelaar corral the sweeping header into the net.
Six minutes later, Zardes solidified his first international goal by deflecting Fabian Johnson’s cross from just six yards out into the left bottom corner. With Altidore battling a hamstring injury it was an encouraging sign from the L.A. Galaxy player. It was Zardes' seventh appearance for the Yanks.
At the half, other than the score, the statistics suggested a dominating performance by the Dutch but the U.S. held strong. The Netherlands forced four corner kicks and 12 total shots while maintaining a 62-38 possession advantage.
But the U.S. kept up the pace and fired off eight shots, with five on target, and were simply unfortunate to face Netherlands keeper Jasper Cillessen. The 26-year-old Ajax star registered eight saves in the first 45 minutes alone, and totaled 14 by the end.
Filling in for Howard, who’s taking a year off from international play, keeper Brad Guzan totaled 14 saves against a relentless and pressing Dutch attack.