Germany delivered on a brisk Florida night against the United States women’s national team in an international friendly, coolly showing that the European runner-ups from this past summer intend to play second fiddle to no one.
The Germans, it could be said, were lucky, as the Americans had multiple chances to grab an early lead. Mallory Pugh pressed center-back Sjoeke Nüsken off the ball in the 15th minute and just failed to find Alex Morgan on the square ball. Later, in the 34th, a wonderful delivery from the right wing from Sofia Huerta found Lindsey Horan for a free header at the back post — just wide.
A minute later, Rose Lavelle did Rose Lavelle things — a cool left-footed nutmeg to drive into the box from the endline and create another golden chance for Horan. Horan’s first-time shot beat Merle Frohms, but rebounded down from the inside of the crossbar without crossing the line.
Barely a minute after that, the USA pressure continued. Morgan was played into space down the left with one defender to beat; she cut inside of Nüsken but Frohms closed the angle brilliantly to deny what probably still should have been a better-placed shot.
The second half continued much like the first ended, with frenetic USA pressure. In the 50th minute, Lindsay Horan tried a bicycle kick off a corner, which struck the post once again.
And that's where the tide turned. In the scramble to clear the ball afterward, Bayern Munich’s Klara Bühl charged down a USA lay-off to put herself in the clear, and send the Germans on a 3-v-2 counter the other way. Bühl found second-half sub Paulina Krumbiegel, whose shot was parried back to her — and on the second try, Bühl beat the American keeper Casey Murphy. Her shot only hit the post, because it was that kind of night, but it bounced off Murphy's back and bounded in.
Because for the USA, it really was that kind of night.
The USA made a late resurgence. Germany had trouble playing out the back again, this time down the right side — a combination of laxness and pressure. Alex Morgan closed down Sara Doorsoun and powered the ball off her, while nobody was there to account for the magnificent Megan Rapinoe arriving late at the far post to knot it up in the 84th minute.
But if the Americans thought that was destiny manifest, Germany had a super-sub hero story of their own to write. Lena Oberdorf’s quick free kick sent Jule Brand flying in behind the defense on the left wing. Krumbiegel did her own Rapinoe impression, arriving back post unmarked. Her sensational 89th minute goal would be the winner.
The loss makes it three straight for the USWNT — at the hands of England, Spain, and now Germany. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side delivered an emphatic and energetic performance to withstand the early pressure and fight back to the last. For Vlatko Andonovoski and the defending champions, there could be some soul-searching to do before the 2023 World Cup.
All in all? Some terrifically entertaining football, a treat for the fans. And the good news — these two teams will square off again this Sunday, at 5PM EST, at the Red Bull Arena in New York.