United States come from behind to beat Netherlands, 3-1

allie long

by TOM SLATER

This was not a friendly against a weak side used as cannon fodder to help say farewell to a beloved departing player.

As the United States found out quickly, the Netherlands came to play and took an immediate lead, forcing the hosts to pull out their “A” game.

The result was the United States played some of it best attacking soccer in a long while and came from behind to beat the Netherlands, 3-1, in the Georgia Dome. As usual. Carli Lloyd was in the middle of things with a goal and an assist in the team’s 18th victory of the year.

The Dutch, who are getting ready to hold the European championships next year by playing the Americans and then the Germans next month, surprised everyone by scoring in the second minute. A cleared ball was headed backward by the United States and the speedy Shanice van de Sanden swooped in on goal and surprised the US defense and American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

The Netherlands kept pressing with van de Sanden showing her speed off but couldn’t get a second one. And that opened the door for the Americans to equalize in the 35th minute.

Whitney Engen, getting a rare start, sent Tobin Heath down the right side with a great outlet pass. Heath went end line and sent a pass back toward the penalty area. Carli Lloyd ran into the area and one-timed the shot past goalkeeper Sari van veenendaal.

It was Lloyd’s 94th international goal and 15th of this calendar year.

The goal seemed to ignite the United States and it came out firing hard to open the second half. Three times, only the post stopped the Americans from taking the lead.  Van veenendaal also made two key saves early on.

Finally, it was the Dutch, with a little help from Heath and Christen Press, that put the Americans ahead for good. Press, who came on the in the second half for Alex Morgan, went down the left side and served a hard ball on the ground across the box. Two Dutch defenders and Heath converged on the ball before Heath appeared to push Mandy van den Berg in the back. Van den Berg knocked the ball past her own goalkeeper for the own goal.

The United States kept the pressure on for the rest of the half as the Netherlands attack on goal came few and far between.

Finally, the United States scored again on a nice serve from Megan Rapinoe, a hustle play by Lloyd and a semi-diving header by Allie Long.

Rapinoe, who kneeled again during the playing of the national anthem, came on to a mix of boos and cheers from the crowd. Non-plussed, the midfielder took a thrown-in from Morgan Brian, spun inside and served far post. Lloyd snuck in between a pair of defenders and headed the ball back against the grain. Long was there to head it past the Dutch goalkeeper with half a dive.

Van de Sanden nearly scored her second goal a few minutes later when she sped down the right side and sent a bad-angle hard shot across the goal mouth. Naeher got her hand on it to prevent the score.

The United States now have two friendlies with Switzerland on the schedule in late October.