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U.S. Men's National Team

Altidore hat-trick helps USMNT pull off improbable comeback vs. Bosnia

Bosna i Hercegovina - SAD

 Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The U.S. Men’s National Team were staring at a 2-0 deficit at halftime of their match against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Wednesday, and their 11-game unbeaten streak was in serious jeopardy.

Then, Jozy Altidore changed all that with one of the more dominant performances in recent U.S. history.

Altidore helped the U.S. pull off an improbable comeback, scoring a second-half hat-trick that included a splendid free kick goal while also adding an assist in a 4-3 victory in Sarajevo. The impressive rally saw the Americans extend their record winning streak to 12 games while also giving them their first come-from-behind win on European soil.

Altidore’s heroics, which made him the first U.S. player to score in five straight games, spoiled a two-goal performance from Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko. The Manchester City striker netted the opener in the seventh minute and scored late to make things interesting again after the U.S. had pushed four unanswered past the hosts in the second half.

A pair of young and inexperienced Americans contributed to the impressive result, as Aron Johannsson and John Brooks made their debuts for the United States. Brooks started and went the distance while Johannsson came off the bench to provide a spark for a U.S. team that struggled mightily in the first half.

Starting the game in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Americans were unable to create much in the way of scoring chances in the first half and were plagued with sloppy turnovers. One such giveaway from Eddie Johnson led to the opener from Dzeko, who scored off his own rebound after U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard had initially stopped him.

The hosts then doubled their advantage at the half-hour mark, as former St. Louis University player Vedad Ibisevic nodded a cross from the right flank past Howard. The Americans had cleared the initial cross, but Bosnia recovered the ball and whipped in another that Ibisevic beat centerback Geoff Cameron to.

Trailing by two goals, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann altered his tactics by going with a 4-4-2 to start the second half. The results were almost immediate as in the 54th minute Michael Bradley, who also enjoyed a strong performance for the Americans, hit a sublime ball over the top to Altidore. The veteran forward brought the ball down and into the path of Johnson, who made up for his earlier mistake by scoring easily into the open net.

Four minutes later, Altidore turned from provider to goal-scorer to bring the U.S. level. Altidore scored his first of the game on clinical left-footed finish to the far post following a short diagonal pass from Fabian Johnson, who had moved into the left midfield spot at the beginning of the second half after starting the match at left back.

Altidore was not done, however. He bent a wicked free kick from about 25 yards out past Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and into the top corner of the net in the 84th minute to put the U.S. up for good, and then capped his incredible showing with a low finish following a nifty pass from Bradley two minutes later.

Howard also impressed in the closing 45 minutes, making a number of fine saves to keep the Americans from falling behind again before Dzeko beat him with a header in the 90th minute to make the scoreline close again.

The U.S. will now set their sights towards their next round of World Cup qualifiers in September. The Americans visit Costa Rica on Sept. 6 before hosting arch-rival Mexico four days later.

—–

What do you think of the Americans’ 4-3 win over Bosnia? How impressed are you by the comeback and Altidore’s performance? Which U.S. players do you think showed well?

Share your thoughts below.

311 comments
  • Murray Burns

    I love the MLS. I’m a season ticket holder. But reality does not = ignorance

    Like

  • Good Jeremy

    RE: Brad Evans

    He has surprised me and been perfectly average in a place where I thought he would be overmatched, but…

    He is seen as the second-best American RB on Seattle, so how long until we see Yedlin given a shot? I know that he is young and hyped, I just wonder if Klinsy sees something that Sigi doesn’t. I thought we would be looking at a lot more people at RB since Dolo has been injured and a handful of players we have in Europe have been disappointing there.

    Like

    • SanFran415

      Yedlin is a marketing tool for Seattle. Clearly Brad Evans is superior to Yedlin as a right back. So Sigi wants them both on the field.

      And I’d hazard a guess that Klinsmann sees quite a lot Sigi doesn’t.

      Like

      • MLSsnob

        Disagree, JK is not going to call up a 20 year old, that’s why he hasn’t called him in. Yedlin is a promising talent.

        Like

      • louis z

        JAB is 20 y.o. with ONE (1) BL1 game under his belt. JK not only called him but started the kid.

        Like

      • nate

        Really? You’re saying that after we all just watched JAB go the full 90 at age 20. I think more likely is that Klinsmann doesn’t think he’s ready. Even if I wasn’t inclined to agree with JK (though I am), I’d probably give him the benefit of the doubt, given his recent success.

        Like

      • whoop-whoop

        I saw an interview with Klinsman where he said it was Sigi who suggested he give Evans a run at RB.

        Like

    • CroCajun1003

      That’s like saying Beasley is a better LB than Fabian. I’d say it’s more likely that the coach is making the best decision he can for the players he has to work with.

      I do however also find myself conflicted with Evans. On the one hand, he’s an MLS midfielder playing RB on our national team. On the other hand he’s been unremarkable (a good thing for a defender) during a 12 game win streak. I think at some point I’m going to have to suck it up and admit that this guy may have some game at right back. Enough game at least for Klinsman to have the confidence to tell Chandler to go fly a kite.

      Like

      • GW

        Crocajun,

        No reason to discard Chandler before he has to. There are still ten months to go and Chandler may yet come good. Ten months ago most of you laughed at Evans.getting capped with Parke.

        Re: Evans

        If it walks like a duck……

        Dolo, Chandler, Castillo, Fabian, Evans, Torres, DMB,
        Parkhurst, Cameron.

        These are the main guys who have been fullbacks for JK. The first seven are converted midfielders. The last two are converted centerbacks but Parkhurst made the conversion years ago and Kinnear converted Cameron to centerback from midfield and back again.

        Dolo is the only “natural” fullback but I always thought he might be a better midfielder and Chandler if he did not start as a midfielder certainly plays as a midfielder often enough.

        The abundance of converted midfielders is not a coincidence.

        On JK’s teams the fullbacks are withdrawn wingers with defensive responsibilities. But their primary orientation is offensive and aiding in possession. JK expects 11 on attack and 11 on defense so the team is set up to protect the fullbacks when they are under attack.

        The basic ideal template for a JK USMNT fullback is quick, good on offense , good on defense, and smart, good at reading the game. That usually describes a midfielder.

        While he isn’t ideal and none of these guys are, Evans is close enough to it.

        Like

      • CroCajun1003

        GW.

        Can’t disagree with that assessment of the RB situation. Spot on.

        I will say that I never felt Klinsman should discard Chandler. Only that Klinsman has shown that he will sit a player to send a message, and that Evans is playing well enough to give Klinsman the ability to do just that.

        Like

      • joe

        Evans looked solid all game and in the previous games, and has a surprisingly good touch on the attacking end. If you’re looking for faults and can’t find many in a back, its a good thing. Until Cherundolo looks better, Evans has the starting spot.

        Like

      • LB

        Sounders fan so I watch Evans and Yedlin every week. Yedlin is much faster than Evans and better with the ball at his feet, but he also has a tendency to be out of control and not make effective passes once he beats a couple of players on his runs forward.

        Defensively, I’d rate them about even. Evans is much taller and will win more balls in the air. He is smart and far more experienced than Yedlin. He is also slower and more prone to getting beat on a through ball. Yedlin can find himself out of position on occasion, but has great recovery speed. He can be outmuscled both in the air and on the ground.

        Yedlin has a lot of upside, but I don’t see him being World Cup ready. And while I think Evans would be an adequate right back in the World Cup, I’d like to think there is someone better.

        Like

  • Chris

    This was a very nice result and we played some fantastic attacking soccer, especially in the second half. Your definitely seeing the possession based game klinsi has been pushing for. However, the defending really has to improve, yes were winning these friendlies but we’re giving up wayyy too many goals, and they’re stupid and easily avoidable goals. Even in the gold cup, we didn’t give up many goals but the ones we did concede were just stupid, avoidable goals.
    Some specific thoughts:
    -JAB looked very good, could see him filling our 4th CB spot for right now, but has huge potential. I think I’d like to move forward with besler and gonzo who kept two clean sheets at the end of the last batch of WCQ.
    -Still unsure of evans, i get hes a decent MLS midfielder but i dont think he deserves to be starting out of position over some other guys, it is good to have someone that versatile tho
    -Bradley was exceptional like always
    -EJ oh boy, what can I say, his first half was dreadful, cant give away possession where he did and then had two good chances in the 1st half and was just too slow, i like johansson over him going forward
    -Actually castillo really impressed me and im not a huge fan of his, he always had speed and ball control going forward but he defended pretty well here, and he actually runs at people and creates chances for others
    -Lastly, jozy altidore, he scores when he wants

    Like

    • Dinho

      Why does it seem like it’s me that is scared sh*tless (and not in a good way) when I see Omar line up in the backline. His lack of composure and tendency to have brain lapses is terrifying.

      Evans is definitely an interesting issue. For me, the question is whether he is playing out of position for club or country. Yes, Yedlin plays right back for the Sounders but that’s because Evans fills another role for the Sounders in the midfield. It’s kind of like the “big fish is small pond” scenario.

      Like

      • Chris

        1. Yeah gonzo scares me as well but i think him and besler complement each other pretty well, and if gonzo does go off the rails i could see cameron, goodson or maybe even brooks filling that spot. But for right now i like gonzo, just the dudes gota focus.

        2. Ive just never been impressed by evans, i was at the germany game when he first came in at rb and he didnt exactly impress me as a player he just worked his a$$ off, i think id take a healthy dolo, a motivated chandler as well as an in form parkhurst over him. I might even like some other guys like lichaj or spector to possibly play over him. Evans is a guy going into a WC that you bring a long to keep other players up to it, as well as to fill in at a few different spots. I would just use that pick for cameron who can play CB, CDM as well as RB if needed.

        Like

      • Lost in Space

        Until the back 4 are more settled and gain experience playing with one another I think we’ll continue to have questions/concerns with the defense.
        RB is in flux at the moment due to inconsistent performances and injuries.
        A healthy Dolo is still likely first choice, Chandler needs a stretch of good games @ club level, Parkhurst needs club minutes period, Evans (IMO) is holding his own….but not inked in (yet). Dark horse for me is still Lichaj. Yedlin is for camp-cup-cake or next cycle….
        LB will really depend on how JK deploys Donovan, Dempsey, & Zusi. Unless JK moves 1 of the 3 to the bench, F. Johnson will be the 1st choice LB. Beasley is the Backup, and Castillo is 3rd. Dark horse would be Lichaj again (speed of Castillo/Beasley, strength of FJ).
        Once the wing backs are more settled I think the CB’s will be more comfortable and understand the cover scheme better. Familiarity between the 4 will be key to improved performances.

        Like

      • OPMG

        Chandler needs to accept a call up. he’s not even in the conversation at this point. It’s pretty clear that he’s not as committed as he needs to be.

        Like

      • louis z

        I don’t think he was invited. He is going through a rough patch even at club. PLUS, JK didn’t like the fact Chandler called in “sick” for the qualifiers after the Honduras game and went to play for his club a couple of days later. There is a price to play.

        Like

  • Michael

    Can we officially rule out Wondow making the World Cup squad. I’ve gotta think AJo is ahead of him just based off of this game!

    Like

  • Shawn

    clear starting linup
    ——————————————–Altidore———————————————————-

    F. Johnson—————————Donavon——————————–Dempsey

    —————-Bradley———————————-Jones—————————————-

    Cameron/Castillo—————–Besler———————Gonzo/jab————–Evans/Chandler/Cherundolo

    Like

    • Dinho

      Two things:

      1. Funny that you say “clear” starting lineup, but have multiple guys listed at multiple positions. Was that to be funny?

      2. Dempsey and Donovan need to switch positions

      Like

      • Shawn

        1. The first people are the people who i got starting now but / means it can change

        2. Donavon is more import as amf, dempsey can play amr better

        Like

    • Lost in Space

      1) No Beasley? Would actually have him ahead of Cameron/Castillo as LB.
      2) I too would switch Donovan & Dempsey. Would also flip Jones & Bradley
      3) Have been a little concerned with Jones/Bradley pairing. I think they may be too similar in style. If they can’t work out the pivot may need to sit 1 for a more dedicated CDM.
      The possibilities and interchanging parts of this team is what is making this run so much fun to watch. Real quality at positions without a significant drop in performance is great to finally see.

      Like

      • Generalisimo

        castillo is not very good defender. I cringe every time he comes in. Johnson is a better option with Donovan taking the L mid

        Like

  • sho

    It is a friendly but…

    In one game, the US scored 4 goals on BH. BH only has allowed 3 goals in 6 World Cup qualifiers so far.

    That is kinda sweet.

    Like

  • DJ777

    Great win today. But the few of you that said there is no place to fit dempsey in the USMNT lineup need to get your heads examined.

    Like

    • GW

      JK said Clint needs to maintain his standard. I’m sure he is serious.

      If he does not, does anyone doubt JK would drop him?

      Like

      • ironhorsewayne

        Dempsey’s “baseline” if you will is higher than anyone on the USMNT other than maybe Donovan. He could ride pine at Seattle and still make it onto the Brazil squad.

        Like

    • Nate

      After Altidore’s recent run as well as Donovans run for club and country, and now that Dempsey no longer plays in “Europe”, does anyone seriously believe Dempsey is the most important US player?

      Like

      • Lost in Space

        Would argue that Bradley is the MOST important player for the USNT.
        He’s been the most consistent player who has been most influential.
        Jozy, Donovan, Dempsey, & Howard are all important and solid contributors, and as individuals can be replaced for a game or 2. But combined with Bradley they are what have been driving the 12 match winning streak. Can’t wait to see them all together.

        Like

      • Generalisimo

        Bradley is the most important player.Bradley is the connecter on the squad. He makes the long passes, switches the play, breaks up play, and makes the late run into the box to take up space and draw defenders away. He is very good at what he does and I have been more and more impressed by his continual development (mostly his passing lately).

        Like

      • Nate

        Bradley is certainly important, but the US does not win that game without Altidore. What makes the good teams stand out are players who can change the game in an instant. While Bradley is good at what he does, he can do that all game and the US doesnt score ( see the first half). The second goal was a great run and pass by FJ, but a sublime first touch and finish by Jozy. Jozy is the only player in the pool who can pull off goals on the turn like that. And having that type of player puts tremendous pressure on a defense. When it comes to turning a match, especialy at the world cup, you need special players like that. I see Bradley as like a Phillip Cocu, type player, important, but not the difference maker.

        Like

  • Mueller

    My new lineup:

    Jozy-Johannsson
    Dempsey-Jones-Bradley-Zusi
    Johnson-Besler-Goodson-Donovan
    Howard

    Like

    • Dinho

      Donovan could never play RB. If you insisted on playing someone out of position, it’d be Zusi over Donovan.

      Like

      • GW

        Dolo and Donovan are almost the exact same size. LD is just as good a tackler. He is faster. He is better in the air than Dolo. He can put in a cross with either foot. He reads the game well. He would certainly be the most dangerous attacking fullback around.

        I see no down side.

        Like

      • Mueller

        +1

        I just love the idea of his speed on overlapping runs and his ability to create for others. I love Donovan but the 3 best finishers on the team are Jozy, Johannsson, and Dempsey. They are the ones I want closest to the goal.

        Like

      • Nate

        have you been watching soccer lately? dont know how you rate dempsey as a finisher over donovan given donovans performance over the last 4 weeks and um, history…

        Like

      • Mueller

        You are kidding right? Donovan scored 5 goals in the Gold Cup but missed countless chances inside the box.

        History is nice and all but he has like 15 PKs and about 50 caps more than Dempsey. If you look at their goal scoring form over the past 5 years or so and who those goals where against, Dempsey is much more impressive to me.

        Like

      • Nate

        You obviously missed the last Galaxy game. Now that Dempsey is in MLS, we’ll see how well he stacks up against Donovan. Remember, Dempsey is only 1 year younger than Donovan, yet in 284 pro games, Dempsey scored 82 goals, against Donovan’s 98 in 205 just with the galaxy. And goal scorers take PK’s. Donovan isnt the only one.

        Like

      • Dinho

        1. Donovan is not as good a tackler as Dolo.
        2. Dolo has played the position professionally for 13+ years, so you cannot compare them. It’s a completely different position, completely different role, completely different point of view.

        This is not FIFA on your XBox.

        Have you played the game a lot? Honest question.

        Like

      • louis z

        Sorry GW,
        How can you say LD is a better tackler when LD’s defense is to contain not to tackle an opponents. LD is a finesse player, DOLO mixes it up with bigger players because he is a defender.

        Like

      • patrick

        you see no downside? WHat about defensive p[ositioning, running a high line defense, defending set pieces, etc. Just because you have speed, and look like another guy who plays the position well doesn’t mean you’ll succeed. Dolo has been playing in the bundesliga for 12 years, the comparison is silly.

        By the way, LD is not just as good a tackler as cherundolo, and its insulting to even think.

        Like

    • Johnnypauly

      Switch Zusi to bench & bump Donovan up. That’s our 6 up front. I would even enjoy switching JJ for Cameron and let Geoff play the #6, while MB bombs forward and slices defenses with a pass or a late run into the box whenever possible. Clint on the left cutting in often & Donovan on the right wing, duh. The back-four? Well, we have 299 days to figure that out….

      Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      Landycakes? I thought we just saw an object lesson yesterday in why you want a back who doesn’t just get forward but can play his spot defensively. Doesn’t get stuck in.

      Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      Jozy
      Dempsey Landon (Bacon first off the bench)
      FJ Bradley
      Jones
      Beasley Besler Brooks Evans
      Howard

      Like

  • Johnnypauly

    If I were Terrence Boyd, I’d be nervous. If I was Hurcules Gomez, I’d be nervous. If I was ANY other young player in the USMNT striker pool that is not named Jozy Altidore, I would be exceptionally nervous cause the boy Aron Bacon can play. And our boys looked good in that 4-4-2, can’t lie. Seriously impressed today.

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      It’s going to be interesting how the midfield and forwards shake out. You can’t have Jozy, Landon, Dempsey, Bacon, Zusi, and EJ all on the field at once up front.

      A healthy Gomez might be competitive but same numbers game.

      Boyd has to be nervous in general because he’s roughly Jozy’s age. He can’t wait him out and his body type pigeonholes him at Jozy’s spot.

      Like

      • OPMG

        I love me some Zusi, but no way he takes a spot ahead of LD if what we saw in the Gold Cup is any indication of his form. EJ scored, but he looked awful for most of the game. Still, I’m not sure how Jozy, Dempsey, and Bacon all play together. Bacon brings a lot energy and quickness, could be a very useful sub for this cycle

        Like

  • Troy

    If you go through and run all the scores and update the FIFA calculator it places us at #12 in the world as of today. I know the rankings are FAR from perfect but they matter. If we are #12 now then every game could be crucial to getting in the Top 7. Will it happen probably not but if we are at #12 that would be a goal to shoot for in my opinion.

    Like

    • DC Josh

      Even if we earn a seed for the draw, we will still get the Group of Death. It is just our World Cup luck.

      Like

      • Trey

        but it’d be nice if the group was called Group of Death in part because USA is in it! eh

        Like

      • louis z

        Yep, we may be in one from this point forward until one day we are part of the “selected 8”

        Like

  • Al

    ———————–Altidore———Dempsey————————

    Donovan————Bradley ——————Cameron————–Zusi

    Fabian Johnson——–Besler———Gonzalez/JAB———–Evans/Dolo

    Howard

    GK: Howard, Guzan, Rimando/whoever
    D: FJ (m), Besler, Gonzalez, JAB, Evans, Dolo, DMB (m)
    M: MB, Cameron (d), Donovan (f), Zusi, Jones, Corona
    F: Jozy, Dempsey (m), Aron, E. Johnson (m-hate him here but JK does it)

    That’s 20… a lot of versatility and guys that can play multiple spots… the next 3 are a toss up but I would take Torres, Kljestan, and Castillo at this point

    Like

    • Hooligan

      Your line-up is correct except Jermaine Jones will be paired with Bradley, I don’t know why people hate on Jones so much, although he is always a risk due to yellow card accumulation. Also I think Evans has now solidified himself as the #1 right back, I thought he looked really confident yesterday. And I believe when all is said and done Omar will be paired with Besler in the back. There just isn’t any other room for Cameron, E Johnson, Beasley, and a few others but they will all be on the roster next month.

      Like

      • patrick

        Evans is certainly not the #1 right back. Cherundolo, parkhurst and even chandler are ahead of him in the long run (not saying right now).

        As for no room for Cameron/Beasley/Johnson, it’s pretty clear how highly JK thinks of all three, so it’s silly to think they don’t have a place. Bringing in Beasley to play LB allows FJ to push into the midfield, where he’s a far more impactful player for us. You could even do the same with Chandler.

        Like

  • DC Josh

    Jozy is in beast mode. The show has finally arrived. Haters can find exits at the back and front, but please walk, do not run.

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      Straw man. When he wasn’t scoring for an extended period everyone from the coach down had reason to beef. Now that he’s producing at this rate I doubt there are any “haters” left.

      Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    Few thoughts:
    EJ may have scored when shifted upwards, and getting him out of M may have helped the reversal, but that may not bode well for his role in the team going forward. If he has to be played up front to not be a liability he would be down the depth chart once you go back to the quali situation of calling up the best……Jozy Landon Dempsey Johannson etc.

    FJ also underlined he’s a LM and not a LB. Which means you still need a LB, Beasley or otherwise.

    Liked Johannson’s energy.

    People are all excited about the comeback but it covers up the fact the defense was shoddy again. You give up two goals to the starters in a real game and there won’t be a friendly-sub-time reversal, you’ll probably lose. We have been consistently leaking a goal many games. Running theme that needs correction. If it gets fixed this is an offense where if the right people are chosen can be scary.

    Like

  • chris thebassplayer

    Internal team politics aside, this would be the most fluid attacking group

    …………….Jozy………………….
    ……………………….Ice…………….
    FJ…………………………………………LD
    …………..MB(capt)…….Cam………..
    X……… JAB………….Besler………..X

    I don’t have a problem with two lefty CBs. Now we just need to find flank fullbacks that we are comfortable with at a WC. Deuce can do what he does best, sub in and grab a opportunistic goal.

    Like

    • OPMG

      Pretty sure one decent showing from Johannsson doesn’t replace Deuce as the starter…but he did look good. Didn’t make a wrong decision all night.

      Like

      • chris thebassplayer

        Yeah, I know but Johannsson is the real deal and will only get better with familiarity…he could be scary good on a LD level, we’ll see. The combination of FJ, MB and LD supporting Johannsson and Jozy is first rate.

        Like

      • louis z

        A bit early but this is the way AJ play at club, it’s not a one-off performance that he gave us, in fact, I think it may be a sub-par performance compare to his 1 goal per game average.

        Like

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