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2023 October Friendlies - USA 1-3 Germany: The USMNT wilts despite high expectations

A solid first half is followed by a lackluster second 45

Germany v United States - International Friendly Photo by Adam Glanzman/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

The USA took on Germany in New England with both sides looking to get things going in a positive direction. For Germany, it’s been a tough year as the team has struggled throughout 2023. Meanwhile, the USMNT entered the match following two wins against poor teams.

Gregg Berhalter lined up in a 4-3-3ish... maybe a 4-2-3-1 with Reyna at no. 10 though... with a side featuring Gio Reyna starting, Joe Scally making the XI, and Folarin Balogun at no. 9. The match was also of such vital importance that Tim Ream got another look with the national team wearing a cast.

For their part, Germany showed up meaning business with Julian Nagelsmann sending out his side in a 4-2-3-1.

In the manager matchup, Nagelsmann went with a strong “the dream of the 90s is alive in Hartford” look with an unbuttoned flannel over a t-shirt. Clearly he was sending a message that he would not be intimidated by Gregg Berhalter’s cool sneakies.

Germany v United States - International Friendly Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images


Things got off to a promising start for the USA as a ball was played to Pulisic through the middle just past the halfway line who took it to the house, but the attacker mis-timed his run and it was called offside. The play would set the tone for what would be an exciting start to the match as both teams were content to play a wide open game from the get go.

Germany largely controlled the game as the USA looked somewhat uncomfortable on the ball and had difficulty not losing possession.

In the 27th minute after a whirlwind sequence in which Pulisic wasn’t awarded a penalty (because he dove) and Turner saved a shot from Niclas Fullkrug, CP10 took aim at the upper 90 and blasted it past Marc Andre ter Stegen to make it 1-0.

IT was a fun 10 minutes having the lead against Germany but Der Mannschaft answered back as Leroy Sane dribbled into the box forcing Matt Turner to come out and cut him off on the way to goal. The ball found it’s way to İlkay Gündoğan and the Barcelona man hit it into an open net.

It was a well worked goal by Germany but if Joe Scally had stayed with Gündoğan the lead probably stays intact.

The teams would go into the locker rooms tied at one for the half and when they emerged Luca de la Torre came in for Gio Reyna. The half started with Germany pressing with much higher energy but the Americans were up to the task and even managed to play through the press somewhat successfully.

The deadlock would eventually be broken when Niclas Fullkrug celebrated Friday the 13th a day late and sliced one past Matt Turner.

That would be followed up by an ball that fell unluckily to Jamal Musiala who hit one into the net to make it 3-1.

While this was for sure unlucky, the USA had spent much of the game letting Germany camp out at the top of the 18 and in cases like that teams make their own luck.

Sensing that he needed to do something about the other team scoring two goals in three minutes, Berhalter subbed out Chris Richards for Cameron Carter-Vickers. Meanwhile, Germany took out a wunderkid for Kai Havertz so things didn’t get much easier for the Yanks in terms of new personnel coming on the field.

The USA would make a bunch of subs, Brenden Aaronson came on and so did Johnny and Keven Paredes but nothing worked. All in all the second half was abysmal from the USA. The biggest highlight was not getting the ball taken off of them as much in the defensive third during buildup play. Germany came out for the second 45 and made adjustments, the USA got back from the lockers and seemed to think things were going well and that nothing new would be needed to break the deadlock.

This followed this kind of talk from the USA before the game:

The question must be asked: where does this expectation come from? When was the last time that the USA even beat a top 20 FIFA ranked team that wasn’t in Concacaf? This team has a lot to work on before it can keep saying this kind of thing because the product on the field is not matching the arrogance in press conferences.