Recap: The Netherlands 3–4 USMNT

On an historic night in Amsterdam, in a game in which both teams could have scored five or six or more goals—and combined for five goals in the second half—the US defeated the Netherlands for the first time ever, 4–3. The US went behind midway through the first but equalized shortly thereafter. After giving up two quick goals to start the second period, things looked grim, but late goals from John Brooks, Danny Williams, and Bobby Wood capped a frenetic turnaround.

First half

In an open and exciting first period, both sides had multiple chances to score. The US, while giving up possession to the Dutch in the early going, had the first good looks. After a quarter hour, the US hit the post twice in rapid succession. Michael Bradley took the ball out of the air with his chest and hit a left-footer from the top of the box, but it came off the right post. The ball fell to Fabian Johnson, but his effort clanged off the other. Just moments later, Brek Shea, playing at left back, was played free into the Dutch box. He cut inside, but had to take the shot with his weaker right foot and couldn’t curl the ball past Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen.

The Dutch, perhaps spurred by the US chances, began generating their own, and it wouldn’t be long before they drew first blood. In the 25th, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar looked to be away, but had his shot blocked at the last possible moment. On the resulting corner, Memphis Depay took it short and then sent in a delicious cross, which just evaded Brooks’s head, finding Huntelaar’s, for the score.

The Dutch grew into the game then, and looked good value for a second goal, but the US would stun the crowd with a goal of their own. After Aron Johannsson and Johnson traded passes around the corner of the Dutch box, Johnson sent in a cross to the back post where Zardes met it, poking the ball goalward with the outside of his right boot. Cillessen met it, but too late, and the ball flew in.

But the Dutch kept coming, with Depay looking especially dangerous. In the 39th, he found himself one-on-one with Guzan, but cut back rather than shooting, and was crowded out. The Dutch had the ball in the net just before stoppage time, but the goal was called off for a foul on Timmy Chandler. Then, Depay should have put the Dutch ahead, getting a free shot from the edge of the box, but he put it wide.

Second half

The US looked down and out by the hour mark, giving up two quick goals. After getting a scare from a Robin van Persie header requiring both an heroic Brad Guzan save and a Kyle Beckerman clearance off the line from the van Persie backheel that followed it, the US was nevertheless beaten through the air on both goals. For the first, a deep cross from the Dutch right side again was pinpoint, just clearing Brooks’s head for another Huntelaar header. Brooks thought he’d scored two minutes later off a corner kick, but it was waved off for a shove. And then two minutes after that, another Dutch cross resulted in a point-blank header for Georginio Wijnaldum. Guzan was equal to it, but the Dutch retained possession and found Huntelaar open at the top of the box. His shot deflected off Depay and in.

The Dutch felt comfortable and their play reflected it, with a dialing down in their attacking energy and a lack of focus defensively. In the 70th, Brooks would take advantage of both to even his account somewhat. Stealing the ball off Huntelaar near midfield, he drove upfield with Michael Bradley beside him and DeAndre Yedlin beyond Bradley on the wing. The Dutch, feeling Huntelaar was fouled, barely pursued. Brooks passed to Bradley, who fed Yedlin, who simply centered the ball across the Dutch box for Brooks to tap home, unmarked.

And the US didn’t stop there, though it would have the goalposts to thank for keeping the Netherlands off the board. In the 83rd, Daley Blind got free behind the US defense. His cross deflected off Brooks and behind Luuk de Jong. Johnson was there to clear, but his clearance hit de Jong and pinged off the post and away!

In the 88th minute, Jordan Morris did very well to beat Bruno Martins Indi to a Guzan punt, working Cillessen with a shot and earning a corner. Bradley’s ball in was headed clear by the Dutch, but only to Danny Williams, whose shot deflected off a Dutch defender and in. Then, just minutes later, in the first minute of stoppage time, de Jong forced Guzan into another save from a header, but the ball fell back to him and yet again he could only hit the cross bar with a close-range effort. The US tore upfield with the rebound, counterattacking with speed and numbers. Bradley rode multiple challengers before feeding Jordan Morris in the box, where he centered the ball through the Dutch defense to a wide open Bobby Wood for the winning goal.

US verdict

Narrative: For much of the second half, the story looked oh so familiar—the US giving up goals in the second half. But something happened . . . the Dutch did their best US impression and lost concentration multiple times, couldn’t finish their own chances, and got burned by a team that didn’t quit.

The posts are a keeper’s best friend: By our count, the teams combined to hit the post or crossbar at least five times, which is remarkable (not to mention the two goals waved off for fouls). The Dutch looked unstoppable on offense at times, with the US defense not organized enough to deal with their speed and technical ability. But with a heaping helping of goal frame assistance, it didn’t matter.

Weak in the air: All three goals given up by the US came through the air. John Brooks looked especially suspect, never quite being in the right spot to get his head on the ball, or being straight up overpowered for the Robin van Persie chance. He must do better, and the US must do better to limit crosses. The Dutch service was superlative, and they had too much time to measure their crosses.

Subs make the difference: Danny Williams and Bobby Wood each scored, Yedlin had an assist on the US second, and Jordan Morris played an important role in both the US’s equalizer and winner. It was Wood’s first and Williams’s second international goal. Williams looked especially lively and deserves more minutes.

Final thoughts

What just happened? This game was simply wild, an incredibly open-end-to-end spectacle, especially in the second half. The US could have been up by two or more goals had they taken their early chances, but the Dutch could have pulled further away if they’d finished theirs. In the end, the US is probably good value for the win, as they played harder longer. The Dutch let the game get away from them mentally, and the US stayed focused. While it wasn’t pretty at all times, it is undeniably a signature win that should give the team confidence and momentum as it faces Germany next week and heads into the Gold Cup.


  1. So congrats. I rail against our USMNT but no matter the circumstances, anytime you beat Holland, especially at home in the sea of oranje- you have accomplished something. Something. That game was something.
    Unsure what to make of the game it was just that quirky. I’m not a fan of Chandler at the back with F. Johnson pushed to midfield. Fabian Johnson is the answer at RB that much I know. He is the antidote- good positional awareness, good distribution and can get forward. Chandler makes too many mistakes.
    What else I know, I wish we had just one player as good as Memphis Depay.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Agreed. Memphis is ridiculous. Can’t wait to see him in the EPL soon I’m sure. Ha

    • I could only watch on my small cheap phone through Sling, and I was at work, but I’ll say this:

      1. I like Yedlin as a winger, much more than I like him as a back. Kind of like what I’ve said about Fabinho, but not at all for the same reasons.

      2. Fabian Johnson is the best player on USMNT–pure talent and upside wise. I’m not big on how Klinsmann’s preferred 2nd division German-Americans (is it 1990 again?) but FabJo is Fab, Jo!!

      3. I don’t like this strange Triangle Klinsman does in the midfield. Again, it was hard for me to see, but it was like we were playing a 4-5-1 with 3 DMs. I know that Bradley is an 8, but he’s a pretty deep lying 8. He seems to get canceled out by his pairings.

      4. Morris > Zardes. Zardes is a decent forward, but he was the beneficiary of the rest of the Galaxy team last year. He’s 5 or 6 as a forward, whether striker or winger, in my depth chart.

      5. I disagree with you on FabJo as RB for the sole reason of my point #2. He may be the best wingback, but that’s not because that’s his best position.

      6. I don’t really believe in Klinsmann, beyond a director of personnel or ombudsman. Let him stay in Germany and recruit. While he made some good choices as subs, I don’t think he’s really a very good x and o guy when it comes to knowing who you have and how to build the rest around them. In other words, I think that you should identify the best 3 or 4 (excluding keepers) players and build the rest of the team around them.

      Ok. Tear me up!

      • Also, on a side note: as I live in Tucson, AZ, Carson is the closest mls field to me. I went a few years back, and I’m going again this year.

        Is anyone going to the game at LAG?

        I’m excited because of the form the Union seem to have found of late.

        Also, my boss “blacklisted PSP” i guess I have to get online at home now. 🙁

      • el pachyderm says:

        Big Brother has the I on you.

      • el pachyderm says:

        If it was my team I would play out the Gold Cup with the ‘current squad (World Cup 2014)’ and begin making a youth movement with some veteran guidance sprinkled in.
        Guys like Beckerman, Jones and dare I say Clint Dempsey (though in truth he should stay as a veteran leader), IMO should be getting phased out. I would keep Bradley as he is still pretty young and servicable and a veteran so you get both positives from him.
        ID your best players in the 24 year old wheelhouse +/- one year, bring in guys like Zalelem and Julian Green and the other very technical players at your disposal and give them mulitple opportunities to build repoire. I would use next years Copa America as the coming out party with intent to make noise in ’18 World Cup.
        I am of the opinion that by 2018, the Quarters should be the MINIMAL expectation every major tournament- save the occasional lapse.
        This is not your daddy’s USMNT is what I am saying.
        What do I know.

  2. WOOOoooOOOT. JK isn’t JKing anymore. He’s serious.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    That really was a quality win. The D was a little shaky at times but that’s to be expected against a quality European opponent, especially in Europe. But man, what’s up with that Dutch defense?! They looked awful… all night long, not just in the 2nd half. I can see why they are having issues in qualification. The U.S. team attacked all game, that was good to see. Guzan was good too. Made a few 10 bell saves, Howard style. All in all, a good showing. Hope to show well against Germany Wednesday. That style of game, especially offensively, wins you the Gold Cup going away.

  4. McMohansky says:

    As Chris Farley said,
    “That was awesome”

  5. alicat215 says:

    I’m going to keep the good vibes going on this one……..great win. Shaky CB play on our side, shaky defense overall with the Dutch….could have been 6-6! Wide open match that makes for great entertainment, but aneurisms for the coaches. My favorite part was the silence of the crowd after the fourth goal…except for that pretty good sized US section going bonkers!

    • The CB were shaky. Orozco is just not that good, and Alvarado is quite young.

      They are by no means our best back line. Part of what annoys me about Klinsmann is that he’s more concerned with getting dual citizens cap tied than putting out our best 11.

      Edu is a better CB than those two. Heck, I think he’s better than Besler.

      Anyway, I’d better settle down before I go into a rant on the squad he brought to the WC.

  6. pragmatist says:

    The Dutch had a fluke misdirection goal and we had 2, I think. I’m ok with that, and with our deficiencies. If we want to be one of the big boys, we have start beating the big boys, no matter the circumstances.
    There were positives and negatives here, but let’s withhold full judgement until JK has his full roster for the Gold Cup.

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