Nicklas Bendtner scored his first international hat trick, taking advantage of an American defense that gave up two more late goals, and Denmark rallied to beat the United States, 3-2, in an exhibition game at Aarhus on Wednesday night.
Jozy Altidore scored in the first half and set up former club teammate Aron Johannsson’s goal in the second. But Bendtner tied the score in the 83rd minute and got the winner in the first minute of stoppage time. Christian Eriksen looped a ball over the defense and Bendtner ran onto it, took a touch and beat goalkeeper Nick Rimando from 15 yards for his 29th goal in 65 international appearances.
The U.S. is 2-6-3 since beating Ghana in its opener at the World Cup, where it was knocked out by Belgium in the second round. In a worrisome trend for the Americans, they have given up 12 goals from the 80th minute on in their last 12 games.
John Brooks had a chance to tie the score in the third minute of stoppage time, but put an open header wide off Michael Bradley’s pass.
Denmark outshot the U.S., 12-4.
“We have to learn from this and get better,” said Bradley, who started a match as U.S. captain for the first time.
The No. 32-ranked Americans play Switzerland on Tuesday in Zurich.
U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann changed seven starters from last month’s 2-0 home win over Panama, keeping only Rimando, midfielders Bradley and Gyasi Zardes, and Altidore.
On a cool, 41-degree evening, Klinsmann changed his entire back line, starting Timmy Chandler on the right, Michael Orozco and Brooks in the center and Greg Garza on the left. Alejandro Bedoya and Fabian Johnson also were in the midfield of a 4-4-2 formation, and Aron Johansson was up front.
Club America defender Ventura Alvarado, eligible to play for the U.S. and Mexico, made his international debut when he entered in the 80th minute.
Altidore put the Americans ahead in the 19th minute with his 27th international goal. After an unmarked Bendtner tied the score in the 33rd, Johannsson gave the U.S. the lead in the 66th off a pass from Altidore, who played with him on the Dutch team AZ Alkmaar during the second half of the 2012-13 season. Johannsson made his first national team appearance since the World Cup.
Before Johannsson’s goal, the U.S. had been outscored 9-0 in the second half of games since the World Cup while outscoring opponents 9-2 in first halves.
Wearing its new navy road jerseys, the U.S. was missing regular captain Clint Dempsey and defender Jermaine Jones because of injuries. Klinsmann bypassed No. 1 goalkeeper Brad Guzan and defenders Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez.
Altidore’s goal, his fourth in six games, came against the run of play. Chandler lofted a 40-yard cross from the right flank, and Altidore got by Daniel Wass. Altidore ran onto the ball after a bounce and took a left-footed shot from 8 yards that deflected off sliding defender Simon Kjar and beat goalkeeper Stephan Andersen.
Bradley created the second American goal when he played a 30-pard pass over the defense to Altidore, who burst past Wass. Altidore took a touch and laid off the ball to Johannsson, who scored from 8 yards on the field of AGF Aarhus, the club he played for from 2010-13.