By FRANCO PANIZO
The U.S. Men’s National Team not only capped off a dream summer by picking up an impressive road win against Bosnia & Herzegovina on Wednesday. They also gained confidence in knowing they have the ability to rally when the chips are down, something the Americans believe could come in handy down the road.
Following their 4-3 victory in Sarajevo on Wednesday, the U.S. discussed how much they learned about their character as a team after rallying against a talented opponent. The Americans trailed Bosnia, 2-0, at halftime, before scoring four unanswered goals in a dominant second half and will now carry that knowledge of being able to respond and momentum into September’s World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.
“It definitely prepares us confidence-wise,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told ussoccer.com of the win. “If something goes wrong and we’re down a goal or two goals, we know how to react the right way. We know to keep playing at our rhythm and our pace and our passing game.
“Going into Costa Rica it will be very dramatic and we’ll need to have a calm element in our game to say, even if something goes wrong, we’ll still make it through, score and even win the game.”
While the Americans benefited from Bosnia making a number of substitutions, they also kept an aggressive mindset that worked out in their favor. The United States, which also switched from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-4-2, immediately began creating more chances on goal and the final result was a historic comeback that extended the U.S.’s winning streak to 12 games.
“It’s exciting and I think it shows how far the program has come. At the same time we understand we still have to raise the bar,” Jozy Altidore told ussoccer.com. “We can’t afford to make mistakes (like the ones tonight) because in group stages of the World Cup you can’t come back from them. We have to learn to iron those out but we take the positives from tonight and move forward with our head held high.”
Now, the U.S. players will disperse back to their clubs around the world before regrouping for next month’s pair of World Cup qualifiers. It is likely that those games provide difficult moments, just as the one in Bosnia did on Wednesday, but the U.S. now know they can respond even when things look bleak.
“We conceded the two goals and we knew that (Edin) Dzeko and (Vedad) Ibisevic are such a threat, especially from set pieces,” said Klinsmann. “But we already had chances to score and I said to the guys at halftime, ‘There’s a game to play and we can come back in this game.’
“It was wonderful to see the energy and dynamic of the whole group. We pushed and pushed, kept the tempo higher than Bosnia did and absolutely deserved the win.”
What do you think of the lesson learned by the U.S. in the win over Bosnia? How valuable will it prove to be going forward? Do you see it coming in handy in September?
Share your thoughts below.