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Bradley offsets shaky U.S. defense in victory vs. Germany

Five days after the U.S. beat the Netherlands in Amsterdam, it stunned reigning World Cup champion and current FIFA No. 1 Germany with a 2-1 win Wednesday in Cologne. After surviving a difficult first half -- Mix Diskerud equalized just before halftime after Mario Gotze had given the hosts an early lead -- substitute Bobby Wood played the hero once again. The 22-year-old striker scored his second straight winner off the bench for the U.S., this time in the 87th minute. Here's how the Americans fared individually in yet another memorable victory, their first in Germany.

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Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK Brad Guzan, 7.5 -- Kept the U.S in the game in the first half with several well-timed saves, the best of which was a 31st-minute stop on Gotze. Not at fault on Germany's goal.

D Timothy Chandler, 3 -- Lost Gotze on the back post just before the Bayern Munich star put the hosts up 12 minutes in. His crossing was off the mark in the first half but improved after the break.

D Ventura Alvarado, 4 -- Made a couple of good clearances early but again struggled with positioning and was caught ball-watching on Gotze's opener. Looked nervous overall, as he has in previous games in Europe.

Ventura Alvarado's struggles at center back continued on Wednesday in Cologne.
Ventura Alvarado's struggles at center back continued on Wednesday in Cologne.

D John Brooks, 4.5 -- Better than he was against the Netherlands but still had a few shaky moments early. Much improved in the second half, though.

D Fabian Johnson, 5.5 -- Competent performance at a position that he hasn't played much lately (he was at right midfield against the Dutch and plays on the left wing for his club team). Got forward well and sent in several dangerous crosses.

M Danny Williams, 6 -- Was left on an island in the Americans' diamond midfield but still managed not to stand out -- a compliment for a defensive midfielder -- before Kyle Beckerman replaced him at the half.

M Gyasi Zardes, 7.5 -- Continues to improve. He lacked the finishing touch he showed against the Dutch, but his energy changed the game after he was moved from midfield to forward in the second half.

M Mix Diskerud, 6.5 -- Was beaten badly by Patrick Herrmann during the buildup to Germany's goal but redeemed himself with a well-taken strike of his own four minutes before halftime.

M Michael Bradley, 8 -- Once again, the acting captain was at the center of everything the U.S. produced. It was his brilliant diagonal pass that set up Diskerud's timely equalizer, and he nearly added what would've been a late winner but sent his low drive right at keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.

Michael Bradley was once again a driving force in the U.S. midfield against the Germans.
Michael Bradley was once again a driving force in the U.S. midfield against the Germans.

F Aron Johannsson, 5 -- Made a few nice moves in and around the German box and combined well with teammates at times. But he didn't seriously threaten Zieler.

F Juan Agudelo, 4 -- Didn't show much energy in his first U.S. start in almost four years. It was no surprise, then, that he was pulled at halftime in favor of DeAndre Yedlin, with Zardes taking his place up top.

Substitutes:

D Brad Evans, 7 -- Evans, one of the last cuts from the 2014 World Cup team, helped shore up the U.S. back line after coming on for the final 45 minutes. Also showed some skill going forward -- not least by setting up Wood's winner.

M Kyle Beckerman, 6.5 -- Defensive midfielder brought his usual blend of simplicity and composure -- part of the reason the U.S. settled down in the second half.

M DeAndre Yedlin, 7.5 -- Yet another fine performance off the bench from the 21-year-old, who continues to show that his all-world speed can unsettle any opponent.

M Alfredo Morales, NR -- The German-American helped keep his birth nation off the scoreboard after coming on with just over a quarter-hour to play.

F Jordan Morris, NR -- Sent a wicked shot just off the mark moments after coming on in the 74th, and his clever dummy led to Wood's winner. Morris continues to show no fear at the top level, despite not even being a professional (yet).

F Bobby Wood, NR -- It's too bad that players who come on after the 70th minute don't get a grade, because Wood's would have to be high: The Germany-based forward took his second winner in five days with aplomb.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

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