Netherlands FC

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Alexis Nunes discuss what the U.S. did well against the Netherlands and what they will look to take away from their upcoming friendly against Germany. Members of the USMNT preview their friendly against Germany, following their dramatic 4-3 win over the Netherlands. ESPN FC's Jonathan Yardley and Brian Dunseth elaborate of the United States' come-from-behind win over the Netherlands, and highlight defensive errors as the USMNT's main concern.

With 97 international caps to his name, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley knows enough not to get too high or low after any single result, least of all one that comes in a friendly.

So for those still trying to put the national team's 4-3, come-from-behind victory against an all-world Netherlands squad last week into its proper context, who better to consult than the acting U.S. captain, whose brilliant run in the final minute of the second half set up young striker Bobby Wood's unlikely game winner.

"These are much closer to the types of games that you play in a World Cup in terms of the opponent, the pace, the atmosphere, the demands of the game, " Bradley told ESPNFC.com Sunday in a phone interview from Germany, where the U.S. plays another marquee exhibition on Wednesday, this time against the reigning world champions.

"Look, it is just a friendly. It doesn't mean anything, and you don't get any points for it. But it's a good win nonetheless, especially after going down twice - the second time by two goals, " Bradley continued. "To stick with it and find a way to get rewarded, you hope that these experiences all add up for guys along the way, so that when we do get ourselves to a World Cup a few years down the road, there's a feeling that we've won games like that before."

Of course, the U.S. has won games like this before. In the quarter-century since the Americans returned to the global stage at Italia '90 following a 40-year absence, the Stars and Stripes have stunned almost all of the sport's superpowers. They've beaten Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy, Spain and Uruguay - a couple of those more than once - and the upsets haven't been limited just to meaningless friendlies. (France is the only previous World Cup champ the Yanks have yet to topple.)

In a still-young soccer nation, the tendency is usually to overreact. Still, Friday's game was different. The visitors were missing four of their most productive, experienced players in Jozy Altidore, Alejandro Bedoya, Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones, and were facing a full-strength Oranje side preparing for a pivotal Euro 2016 qualifier in Latvia. Yet the U.S. team was still able to continue its trend of impressive road results under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, which, after almost four years, is looking less and less like a coincidence.

After scoring his first international goal versus the Netherlands, Gyasi Zardes now takes aim at Germany on Wednesday.

The U.S. has posted its first wins at Italy, archrival Mexico, and now the No. 6-ranked Dutch since Klinsmann took the helm in July of 2011. They've gone 3-3-2 against top-10 teams during that span. Given that progress at the top level isn't linear, that's a tangible sign of improvement for a program with an ambitiously stated goal of standing toe-to-toe with the game's leading nations.


soberlivingfl.org

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