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Black History Month: Bobby Wood calls “Game” twice

Dagger. Dagger.

FBL-NED-USA-FRIENDLY Photo credit should read Koen van Weel/AFP via Getty Images

When the United States Men’s National Team scheduled back-to-back friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany in June 2015, many considered the tests to be too much for the team to handle. With the Netherlands ranking 6th in the world and Germany ranking 1st (and then World Cup champions), the 27th ranked USMNT should have been in over their heads. A Hawaiian by the name of Bobby Wood decided that the time was right to give the world a double dose of shock.

The USMNT first headed to Amsterdam on June 5, 2015 to take on the Dutch. It started out with the Dutch hitting the scoreboard first, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar making it 1-0 in the 27th minute. It didn’t take long for the USMNT to strike back, with Gyasi Zardes equalizing in the 33rd minute. That 1-1 score carried through until halftime.

After halftime, the Dutch came out firing. Huntelaar added a second in the 49th minute, with Memphis Depay adding a goal 4 minutes later to make it 3-1 to the Oranje. The USMNT were flat-footed and had to steady themselves from the perceived knockout blow.

Bobby Wood entered the game in the 65th minute and the U.S. got one back 5 minutes later, courtesy of John Brooks. They were pressing but it seemed like 3-2 was going to be the final score.

Then, in the 89th minute, Danny Williams was able to tie the ballgame. The U.S. fished the ball out of the goal and ran it back to the center circle, hoping for a chance to maybe steal one on the road. Seconds after the restart, Michael Bradley got the ball and dribbled from midfield to just inside the box. He slotted a pass to Jordan Morris, who sent a low cross into the middle. Bobby Wood decided that was the moment to call game.

Game time. Bobby Wood smashed the finish home to give the USMNT a 4-3 victory over the Dutch. The crowd at the stadium now known as Johan Cruyff Arena was in stunned shock, except for the delirious group of American fans who made the trip. The U.S. had stolen one.

Next, it was off to Köln on June 10th to take on the World Cup champions, Germany. It was the return of USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann to his native country, but surely the Americans couldn’t get lightning to strike twice, right? The Hawaiian Bobby Wood once again started the match on the bench, so it was thought his luck didn’t have the passport necessary to make the trip from Amsterdam.

It was a disastrous start for the Americans, as Mario Götze scored in the 12th minute to give the Germans the lead. Germany had the Americans on their toes, but in the 41st minute, the U.S. was able to equalize. This time, a Michael Bradley cross found the shoelaces of Mix Diskerud, who was able to flick it home.

The second half was highlighted by a lot of back-and-forth, with a few chances keeping the crowd energized. Bobby Wood entered the match in the 74th minute, and with the game still level at 1-1, American fans started to get hope that maybe magic could happen again.

In the 87th minute, Michael Bradley was able to get a pass out to Brad Evans on the right side, just past midfield. Evans, seeing Bobby Wood in the middle, sent a 25-yard diagonal pass to his feet. Wood collected the ball, made a turn to his left to seal off his defender, and from about 25 yards out, said one thing:

Auf wiedersehen.

Game time. Wood time. He flexed his muscles in celebration as Klinsmann and the rest of the team celebrated once again with disbelief. Germany and its fans, on the other hand, looked on with stunned bewilderment. Minutes later, the full time whistle blew and it was all over. The #1 team in the world, the defending world champions, had gone down at home to the United States. Bobby Wood once again called game.

It was the first American victory over a #1 team since the upset of Spain at the 2009 Confederations Cup. And Bobby Wood was known as a hero who stole consecutive matches against two of the best teams in the world in the blink of an eye.


For more Black History Month stories, check out our Black History Month hub. We will be bringing a story each day this month to highlight some of the biggest moments in black American and world soccer history.