This year marks both the 100th year that the United States has fielded a men’s national soccer team and a crucial portion of qualifying play for the next FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil just over a year from now. In preparation for a string of qualifying matches that begins this week, the US hosted Germany for a friendly match and centennial celebration Sunday at Northeast DC’s RFK Stadium. Soccer royalty from past and present came to Washington to watch—we spotted Cobi Jones, Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, and Hope Solo, among others—and the US men won 4-3.
Jozy Altidore (on purpose) and the German goalkeeper (by accident) each scored once for the US in the first half, and Clint Dempsey found the net twice in five minutes to open the second half and give the US an ultimately insurmountable lead.
Dempsey—who has played at RFK many times as part of the national team and Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution—said there could be no better place to celebrate the team’s 100th year than the nation’s capital. “I mean, how much more patriotic can you get?”
He also used the game to debut a new shoe by team sponsor Nike—the Hypervenom—which was introduced to a large crowd of fans at the company’s Georgetown store in advance of the game. Dempsey pointed to the already-broken-in feeling as a perk of the new design, and said he expected the almost sticky outer material to help with ball control. Did the new kicks help? Dempsey’s two goals would point to the affirmative, though being that he’s the team’s leading scorer by a factor of five in 2013, perhaps his exceptional play was just par for the course.
Local product and W.T. Woodson and University of Maryland alum Clarence Goodson was on the roster for Sunday’s game but did not play.