A defensive collapse. A Belgian onslaught. Defeat.
As the Americans left the field last Thursday night, things looked painstakingly bleak. The defensive back four failed to cement Jurgen Klinsmann’s claims. The forwards failed to substantially produce, scoring twice in garbage time. The Belgians had blazoned their class, driving an inexperienced America team into the ground.
The scene on Sunday in Washington was, in fact, night and day. A 4-3 victory was fueled by two goals from skipper Clint Dempsey, fantastic play from Jozy Altidore, and bend-but-not-break defensive performance from the back four. Albeit against a German reserve team, the U.S. left with triumph, most notably having drenched Lukas Podolski in pots of shame.
As the Americans prepare for three crucial World Cup Qualifiers, six points is the magic number. With an away match with Jamaica first on the docket, Klinsmann knows that his team cannot afford to drop points.
The positive signs from the friendlies will bode well for team USA. However, CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying is a behemoth in and of itself. If the Americans are to enter the tournament next year, they must perform as heroes, warriors, and world-beaters. A long summer awaits.