Jurgen Klinsmann called Bobby Wood a “work in progress” and one salivates at the thought at what the finished article will look like.
The United States forward, who is just 22, sealed his status as USMNT’s new hero after scoring his second winner in a week against a footballing superpower. First Holland, now Germany.
Following his 90th-minute winner in the friendly victory over the Dutch on Friday, the Hawaiian-born Wood scored in the 87th minute to give the USA a 2-1 victory over the World Cup champions Germany in Cologne on Wednesday.
From making a habit of conceding late goals, the USA now can’t stop scoring them.
Wood’s club team Erzgebirge Aue – at whom he is on loan from 2 Bundesliga side 1860 Munich – were recently relegated to the German third division but it would be surprising if he is playing at that level next season following his heroics in the past week.
In a case of bad timing, Wood was also left out on the USA’s preliminary squad for the Concacaf Gold Cup named earlier in the day by Klinsmann – and again one imagines he will soon be added.
Prior to Wood’s winner, the Americans equalized through Mix Diskerud late in the first half to cancel out Mario Gotze’s goal for the hosts in the 12th minute.
The victory gave Klinsmann a winning return to his homeland and the United States their first win on German soil.
“An entertaining game with a happy ending with us,” Klinsmann said. “To win against the world champion in Germany is something special, but we deserved it. It’s an important step toward the Gold Cup.”
A picture tells a thousand words: Jurgen Klinsmann comiserates Joachim Low (EPA)
While it must be noted that Germany were missing several key players, nothing can take away the achievement of the US team over the past week – and its effect on soccer in the States.
Klinsmann added: “This success will give American football even more attention.”
“We really wanted to win this match even though it was a friendly and it was important for us,” said American Alfredo Morales, one of several players who have played for clubs in Germany. “We beat the World Cup winners. That’s quite a statement.”
But the spotlight remains firmly on Wood, who is just the second Hawaiian to represent his country in football.
He is uncertain about his club future – but his international future certainly looks very bright.