USA 4-3 Bosnia-Herzegovina: Altidore Runs Rampant as the United States Come From Behind in Europe

George Frey

After a first-half performance that left many shaking their heads, the Yanks kicked it into another gear in the second half, outscoring their hosts 4-1 to finish with a historic 4-3 victory. Jozy Altidore set a U.S. record by scoring in his fifth straight match, and then decided to make sure it stuck by turning that goal into a hat trick.

U.S. fans could be forgiven if, at the end of the first half, they felt that the United States' winning streak was in jeopardy. Bosnia-Herzegovina had a solid 2-0 lead thanks to some pretty poor defending on the Yanks' part, and the American attack was stalling badly whenever it saw opportunities to be dangerous.

Oh, the difference ten minutes in the locker room can make.

Eddie Johnson opened up the scoring for the States in the 55th minute after a brilliant ball over the top played in Jozy Altidore, who slipped it easily to Johnson for the finish. Altidore then got one of his own just four minutes later in the 59th, thumping a left-footed effort past Asmir Begovic after Fabian Johnson danced into the Bosnian defense and nudged the ball onto him.

It took 25 minutes more for the the Nats to take the lead, and it was Altidore again. He lined up to take a free kick from about 20 yards out - something he's not quite known for - and whipped it right over the wall and under the crossbar. Then, two minutes later, Altidore latched onto another Bradley feed and fired home from close range to make it 4-2 and complete his hat trick.

Edin Dzeko pulled one back for the Golden Lilies in the 90th, his second of the game, but it wasn't enough. The Americans' landed a great friendly victory.

Despite the fireworks in the second half, there were some points of concern.

  • The defense played poorly for most of the match. John Anthony Brooks made his United States debut, but communication and chemistry issues were evident from the first minute. Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic sliced through the center of defense over and over again, resulting in two goals and several clear chances. Each time, it appeared that Brooks was left confused while Geoff Cameron scrambled frantically to cover.
  • On the other hand, Brooks did very well in most of his one-on-one defensive duels, indicating that he is a solid defender that just needs time to acclimate with his new teammates. Notwithstanding the final goal, of course, in which Dzeko beat him to a flick header.
  • Eddie Johnson, despite scoring, had a poor game. His decision-making was poor, and twice in the first half he hesitated when decisiveness may have resulted in a goal. It was his giveaway in the defensive third that lead to Bosnia's first goal, and the attack often stalled with him. His finish on the first goal was good, and it was his presence of mind to stay with Altidore that allowed it to happen, but that was probably his only decent contribution all day.
  • The first half featured far too many midfield giveaways. Everyone was at fault. There really isn't much more to say about that.

One more bright spot from this match, however? The debut of Aron Johannsson. The Icelandic-American striker made an immediate impact, firing off two shots on goal, slipping incisive passes, and giving the Bosnian defense fits while on the pitch. It was plain to see why the Icelandic footballing community was so upset to see him file his switch.

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