The United States was down 3-1 in the second half against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. It was over. But then they scored. And scored again. And scored again. And somehow -- probably drugs -- the Americans walked away 4-3 winners.
The U.S. played well from the opening whistle, getting the best chances of the early going. They nearly scored when a Michael Bradley shot ringed off the post and Brek Shea had a golden opportunity when he was played in on goal, but his shot was right at the goalkeeper.
Buoyed by a strong start, the U.S. was feeling good about themselves, but that disappeared with one Memphis Depay cross. The U.S. backed off of the winger and he took the time to hit an inch perfect cross that found the head of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The striker nodded the ball home and the Dutch had themselves a 1-0 lead.
The Americans responded quickly. They got forward a few times and then they broke though. Fabian Johnson hit a wonderful cross to the back post where Gyasi Zardes used the outside of his foot to redirect it to the back of the net from the half-volley. It was a wonderful bit of play and memorable first interenational goal for Zardes.
When the teams went to halftime level at 1-1, it was a fair scoreline. Both teams had their share of chances and an equal amount of the play.
Things changed quickly right from the start of the second half. Huntelaar ran right down the middle of the field and Michael Orozco, who was subbed on at halftime, never got close to him. That made it an easy finish for the striker and the Dutch were in front. Not long after, the U.S. couldn't clear the ball so Huntelaar got the ball and fired from the top of the box. His shot took a deflection off of Depay and the home side were 3-1 up.
Down 3-1 at the Amsterdam Arena should have been it for the U.S. But they never slowed down just because the Dutch went in front. They kept attacking and it paid off when John Brooks won the ball at midfield. He passed the ball and continued his run. Eventually, Michael Bradley hit a perfectly weighted through ball to DeAndre Yedlin, who squared the ball for a still-running Brooks to tap in. It was a gorgeous goal that took advantage of a terrible Dutch defense.
It looked like the match would end 3-2, but the U.S. kept pushing and, in the 89th minute, it paid off. The Netherlands' tried to clear a ball, but it only made it as far as Danny Williams, who ripped a shot from 20 yards that took a deflection and found the back of the net. Somehow, they were level.
And if equalizing wasn't weird enough, what came next was even weirder. Bradley once hit a great through ball in stoppage time that led to a square cross, but instead of one played waiting to tap it in, there were two unmarked Americans to do it. Bobby Wood was first to the ball and did it and in defiance of all logic, the U.S. had come back to win 4-3.
There are reasons not to get too excited about this match -- the Netherlands' serious struggles for the better part of a year and shambolic defending among them -- but whatever. A stupid match happened and it worked out for the U.S. Enjoy the absurdity.