COLOGNE, Germany – Nothing boosts the confidence of a young forward like breaking a duck. Just ask sudden US national team hero Bobby Wood.
Before Friday's stirring rally win against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, the 22-year-old was scoreless in six USMNT caps that included a few missed chances. One simple finish to beat the Dutch later, Wood hopped off the bench on Wednesday night to bag a fantastic decider away to World Cup holders Germany, resulting in a 2-1 win for the visitors.
With just three minutes left in a tie game, No. 18 accepted a brisk entry pass from Brad Evans that benefitted from a shrewd Jordan Morris move. Wood then completed a terrific turn to gain space away from German center back Shkodran Mustafi before perfectly placing a left-footed curler inside the post.
"Confidence is a big difference-maker," said Wood after the game, who admitted he probably would not have scored that goal a week ago. "I got my chance and I took it."
While the play and resulting strike surely shocked the Germans and a crowd of more than 40,000 spectators at RheinEnergieSTADION, Wood and Morris enjoyed post-game chuckles about how unsurprising the goal move was to them.
"It's kind of funny that it happened that way because me and Jordan practiced that like 20 times yesterday," said Wood. "It worked out perfectly, and I got my goal."
Added Morris: "Bobby and I tried to build a partnership, so I knew when Brad put a great ball in really hard, Bobby would be there if I let it go. He made an unbelievable turn and finish, so all credit to him."
Wood did still have plenty of work to do when he received the pass from Evans. He completed the job in picture-perfect fashion to celebrate another big US win over the current top soccer nation – and one that has housed his entire professional career, to boot.
"It's amazing," grinned Wood, clearly still trying to grasp the evening's outcome. "We don't get these opportunities so often, especially in Germany. Our whole team was excited. Before this game, we said we were going to win it and we did."