WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The United States celebrated its centennial with a 4-3 victory over Germany, surviving a late rally by the second-ranked team in the world in an international friendly at RFK Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Clint Dempsey connected for a pair of second-half goals for the Americans in their Centennial Game, while Jozy Altidore and a German own-goal gave the host a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Americans enjoyed a 4-1 advantage before the Germans made the game interesting with goals by Max Kruse and Julian Draxler in the waning minutes, before a sellout crowd of 47,359 at RFK Stadium.
Germany used mostly a second-team lineup as defender Per Mertesacker was the only regular in the starting 11.
In stark contrast to its 4-2 loss to Belgium in Cleveland on Wednesday night, the U.S. came out in a confidently attacking mood and it paid off in the 13th minute off a counterattack. Graham Zusi sent a right-wing cross into the penalty area that Altidore volleyed home with a clinical finish for a 1-0 advantage.
Altidore, who this year set an American record for goals in a European season by scoring 31 for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, collected his 14th international goal and first from the run of play since June 14, 2011, against Guadeloupe in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Only three minutes later, the U.S. was gifted a goal by Germany, when goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen allowed a backpass from Benedikt Hoewedes to roll off his right foot and into the net for a stunning own goal and a 2-0 lead.
Miroslav Klose had a goal called off for offside in the 22nd minute as the veteran striker remained one short of tying Gerd Mueller's German national team record of 68.
The Germans sliced the lead in half on a 51st minutes header from Heiko Westermann off a Kruse corner kick.
Dempsey, who captained the U.S., restored the hosts' two-goal advantage, scoring from eight yards to the left post in the 59th minute.
Five minutes later, Dempsey outdid himself with a wonderful 25-yard strike that was fired into the left corner for a 4-1 bulge, passing Eric Wynalda on the U.S.'s all-time goal list with 35. Landon Donovan remains as the all-time leader with 49 goals in 144 international appearances.
The Americans' defensive frailties were exposed when Kruse and Draxler scored their first international goals in the 78th and 82nd minutes, respectively.
Kruse beat keeper Tim Howard from 20 yards to pull within 4-2 and, then, Draxler struck after parried Sidney Sam's long-range shot into his path for a 4-3 margin.
The U.S. will resume qualifying for the FIFA World Cup on Friday when it visits Jamaica in a CONCACAF hexagonal, followed by home matches against Panama (Seattle) and Honduras (Sandy, Utah) on June 11 and June 18, respectively.
The encounter against Germany was the 22nd time the U.S. men has played at RFK, more than any other venue in the world. The Americans improved their record at the stadium to 14 wins, 5 draws and 3 losses.