USMNT Report: Streaking Past Bosnia

Jozy Altidore scores 3 goals in the USA’s 4-3 win over the Golden Lillies
by Herb Scribner   |   Wednesday, August 14, 2013

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

The United States Men’s National Team, with its back against the wall, searched for a solution against Bosnia.

And Jozy Altidore provided the answer, scoring 3 goals in the USMNT’s come-from-behind 4-3 win over Bosnia in Sarajevo earlier today. With the win, the Americans are undefeated in their last 12-games.

Though the US pulled out the victory on European soil and increased its winning streak, there’s still a lot to take away from this match as the fall World Cup Qualifiers creep into view.

POST-GAME REACTIONS: Klinsmann said after the game that the US is catching up with the rest of the world.

"It's good for the guys to see we can come to Europe and we're not here to defend, we're here to play eye-to-eye," he said. "I think everybody here in Bosnia saw that the second half we dictated the tempo and kept the rhythm going. The passing in moments was fun to watch.”

Altidore responded to how important the winning streak is for the USMNT.

"It's exciting and I think it shows how far the program has come," he said. "At the same time we understand we still have to raise the bar. 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."

MAN OF THE MATCH: Jozy Altidore – Without question the Sunderland striker deserves praise after his 3 goals and amazing play in the attacking third. He assisted on Eddie Johnson’s goal and had a stellar free kick to wrap up the match and make it 7 goals in 5 games at the international level. Altidore scoring in his 5th straight game is an all-time US record.

ANALYSIS: Whatever Klinsmann says at halftime has to be working for the USMNT.

Faced with a 2-0 deficit on the home of the Dragons, the US barreled through the 2nd half and never looked back. Altidore, still confident and hungry for goals, netted a hat trick and kept the USA afloat. Though at times it looked bleak – very bleak – somehow the Americans held tight and kept Bosnia away.

The attacking third did very well in the 2nd half, as Altidore and Eddie Johnson connected on multiple occasions and seemed to play well off each other. Altidore formed a strong bond with Aron Johannsson, who recently defected from Iceland’s national squad to play for the USA.

Johannsson did well in his 1st cap for the USA, getting solid touches and providing good flicks and moves on the ball. Like Altidore, his former AZ Alkmaar teammate, the 22-year-old striker was buzzing with confidence with nearly every possession. With the right development, he could be an exceptional asset to go up top for Klinsmann’s squad.

Another youngster, John Anthony Brooks, started at centerback as he earned his 1st USA cap. He did well at points, but had trouble marking Edin Dzeko, who netted a pair of goals in the contest and is one of the world’s top strikers. It’s too early to tell if Brooks will be a mainstay for the USA, but he was a welcomed change in the centerback spot.

The backline didn’t do very well against Bosnia, failing to keep pace on several occasions. Goalkeeper Tim Howard had to make some remarkable stops to keep Bosnia at bay. The only bright spot out of the backline came from Brad Evans, who impressed with his defensive ability on the right. Still unsure if Evans deserves a spot come World Cup time, but he’s certainly making a case for it with his solid performances.

His Seattle Sounders teammate, Johnson, failed at points, too. Johnson wasn’t alone in that, though, as Jermaine Jones was dreadful in the defensive midfielder slot. Though Jones and Michael Bradley struggle to find cohesion, Jones never offers much except for bad giveaways and foolish yellow cards. He’s favored by Klinsmann, but it might be time for the US manager to find another player to slide into that defensive role.

The USA’s confidence has to be high as it moves towards the qualifying games in the fall. A 12-game winning streak, no matter the opponents, is always something to revel in, and certainly something that’ll push the USA to succeed. The USA is now 7th all-time for world soccer winning streaks and is 3 wins away from tying Spain's record.

And that's a point of interest for US soccer fans. Winning and being successful has always been a tradition in US sports. And with the USMNT riding this 12-game hot streak fans – new, casual and hardcore – will celebrate along with the American squad.

There’s still a lot to work on for the US. It’s almost impossible to see how the USA will settle its backline issues come World Cup time, and the defensive midfielder slot is providing more problems than it should.

Klinsmann has his answers, though, and now knows what the USA – compiled of Gold Cup winners, World Cup qualifying successors and European standouts – can do when put under pressure.

NEXT UP: September 6 – World Cup Qualifier: United States vs. Costa Rica, Estadio Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica. 10 p.m. EST, beIN Sport.


UMass Amherst
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FC Barcelona
SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.