Jozy Altidore (pictured) scored three goals, lead the United States to a 4-3 victory over Bosnia in an international friendly on August 14, 2013. (Photo: Mexsport)
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Jozy Altidore spearheaded a stirring comeback from a two-goal halftime deficit with a hat-trick to spark the United States to a 4-3 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in an international friendly Wednesday night at Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium.
The U.S. extended its record winning streak to 12 games, which is currently the longest mark in international competition. Its 13 victories in 2013 also tie a team record for a calendar year, matching the 2005 and 2009 totals.
Altidore struck for his hat-trick during a remarkable 27-minute span in the second half, becoming the first U.S. men's international player to score in five consecutive matches.
The U.S. literally got off on the wrong foot against the No. 13 team in FIFA's rankings as the host took advantage of a Eddie Johnson error in the eighth minute. After the Seattle Sounders forward lost the ball, Edin Dzeko ran up the middle, dribbled to his right and fired a shot that forced goalkeeper Tim Howard into a body save. Dzeko took in the rebound and used his left foot to give the host a 1-0 lead.
Bosnia doubled its lead in the 30th minute. Zvjezdan Misimovic crossed the ball from the right for Vedad Ibisevic – who played university football in the United States – to head home from close range.
Johnson, however, halved the European's lead ten minutes after the break. Michael Bradley started the scoring sequence with a long ball to Altidore. The Sunderland forward sent a soft pass for the onrushing Johnson to knock past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Then, Altidore took center stage with brilliant striking play.
First, he equalized in the 59th minute. Fabian Johnson nut-megged a defender before passing to Altidore on the left side. The 23-year-old blasted a shot inside the right post to make it 2-2.
Altidore lifted the Americans into a 3-2 advantage in the 84th minute with a brilliant free kick from 24 yards out to the upper left corner after teammate Edgar Castillo was tripped and fouled.
Only two minutes later, he completed his dazzling hat-trick for a 4-2 U.S. lead. This time, Bradley started things off with a pass at the top of the penalty area. Altidore split the defense and launched an effort to the right side of the net for his 20th career international goal..
Dzeko made the visitors sweat a bit as he scored his second goal of the match, flicking a header from point-blank range past Howard.
The U.S., which leads the CONCACAF hexagonal with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points, will try to clinch one of the confederations three automatic berths at Brazil 2014, visiting Costa Rica on September 6 and hosting Mexico on September 10.
NOTES: Altidore’s hat-trick was the 16th in U.S. history and the second this year, following up Chris Wondolowski’s three-goal effort during a 6-1 CONCACAF Gold Cup victory against Belize on July 9… Defender John Brooks, 20, and forward Aron Johannsson, 22, made their U.S. national team debuts… Altidore is just the third player to score two career hat tricks for the U.S. National Team, joining Landon Donovan and Peter Millar.