U.S. Defeats Bosnia, 4-3, in a True Thriller in Sarajevo
Jozy Altidore scored a hat trick to lead the United States back from a two-goal deficit and defeat Bosnia 4-3. The game also featured the American debuts of John Brooks and Aron Johannsson.
BY John Godfrey PostedA SEEMINGLY UNSTOPPABLE Jozy Altidore scored a second-half hat trick to lead the United States to a thrilling 4-3 win over 13th-ranked Bosnia. It extends the Americans' winning streak to 12 matches, an all-time high. Despite falling behind by two goals early, the Americans made adjustments at halftime and showed tremendous poise in clawing their way back into the match. Though just a friendly, it was a magical night for the Yanks. The game got off to a terrible start for the United States. In the eighth minute, American forward Eddie Johnson carelessly gave the ball away on the edge of the U.S. penalty area. The ball quickly ended up at Edin Dzeko's feet, and he immediately took a shot at Tim Howard's goal. The U.S. keeper made a strong save, but the rebound fell back to Dzeko who slotted the ball into the back of the net. Down 1-0 early due to an unforgivable mistake, the Americans faced an uphill battle in a hostile environment. In the 19th minute, Mix Diskerud nearly leveled the score. The play took shape as Michael Bradley slid to retrieve an errant pass. The Roma midfielder found his central midfield partner Jermaine Jones, who proceeded to send a through ball to Diskerud at the edge of the Bosnia penalty area. Diskerud smartly turned his defender, Ervin Zukanovic, and pushed on toward goal. A few shoves later, Diskerud was on the ground and the ball went into touch. A penalty could have been called, but it was not. At the half-hour mark, the game started getting out of hand. Out on the right wing Zvjezdan Misimovic delivered an uncontested cross into a dangerous spot, and Vedad Ibisevic beat defender American center back Geoff Cameron to the ball and headed it into the back of the net. Up 2-0, Bosnia looked calmer on the ball, and much more lethal in attack, than the visitors. A few minutes later, Jones was overrun by a pair of Bosnian midfielders and gave up possession in a dangerous position. Miralem Pjanic soon found himself alone at the top of the U.S. penalty area but the midfielder's shot went wide. Bosnia led 2-0 at intermission. But everything changed in the United States' favor after the restart. Jurgen Klinsmann shifted out of his 4-2-3-1 formation at the break, bringing Edgar Castillo in at left back, pushing Fabian Johnson to wing, and nudging Eddie Johnson to forward in a 4-4-2 setup. And it worked. In the 55th minute Michael Bradley lofted a long, and beautifully weighted pass straight down the pitch. Jozy Altidore trapped it perfectly, laid it off to his right, and Johnson, who had been playing on the wing in the first half, was perfectly positioned to tap it home. The United States was back within one goal. Five minutes later, the score was tied. German-American defender John Brooks, making his senior debut for the U.S., pushed forward and delivered the ball to Fabian Johnson, who made a deft move to his left, and then crossed over to the sizzling-hot Altidore. The Sunderland striker took one touch and then sent in a blistering left-footed shot that beat Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic easily. The very loud Bosnia crowd got very quiet very quickly. The game went back and forth from that point. In the 67th minute, Edin Visca ran onto a cross and headed a lovely shot to Howard's right, but the Everton keeper made a great one-handed save. Icelandic-American Aron Johannson came on as a substitute in the 63th minute and made a few very promising runs. But it wasn't until the 85th minute that the United States went ahead to stay. It came on a Jozy Altidore spot kick from 27 yards out, and it was an absolutely perfect shot into the top right corner. U.S. 3, Bosnia 2. And the Yanks were not done. Altidore completed the hat trick off a brilliant Bradley run just a few minutes later, tapping in his third goal of the match, and the Americans' fourth, to kill the game. Bosnia did get a garbage time goal to pull within one, but that's how it ended: United States 4, Bosnia 3. So tell us—what did you think of the match, U.S. fans? Encouraged? Thrilled? Cynical? Go!
August 14, 2013
August 14, 2013