If USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t furiously demanding to hold the World Cup right now, he should be. Fresh off a perfect run to win the Gold Cup, the United States came back from a 2-0 deficit in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina (currently 13th in FIFA rankings) in Sarajevo to win 4-3 and earn their first ever come from behind win on European soil. That extends their team record winning streak to 12 matches, currently the longest in the world. And it’s largely thanks to Jozy Altidore, who also set a team record of his own by scoring in his fifth straight match.
After looking outmatched by Bosnia and going 2-0 down in the first half, the U.S. stormed back, scoring their first goal in the 55th minute. Michael Bradley’s brilliant long and Jozy Altidore’s excellent touch set up Eddie Johnson for the goal and the Americans were ready to force their way back into the match. Four minutes later, Altidore scored one of his own to equalize, giving him five goals in his last five international matches. But he wasn’t done.
In the 84th minute, heaving with the confidence of a dozen Zlatan Ibrahimovics, Altidore curled in a wonderful free kick to put the U.S. ahead 3-2 (video above). But still, he wasn’t done. Just two minutes later he completed his hat trick and gave the U.S. a cushion that they would end up needing when Edin Dzeko scored his second of the night to put the final score at 4-3. Altidore now has eight goals in his last five games. Eight.
In the midst of all this, the U.S. had two promising debuts. First from 20-year-old Hertha Berlin defender John Anthony Brooks, who started and played the full 90 minutes, and later from 22-year-old Alabama born, Iceland raised forward Aron Johannsson, who came on in the 63rd minute. The inclusion of these two will likely prove to be far more important than anything else that happened in this match.
So the USA has now shown that they can consistently beat local competition by winning the Gold Cup and leading the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tale, they’ve shown they can beat quality European teams on their own turf by beating Italy and now Bosnia (in friendlies, but it’s a start) and they’ve shown they can come from behind after an uninspiring first half and completely turn things around. Even without Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey included in the squad.
They’re passing all the test thrown at them, but until they do it at the World Cup, the naysayers will keep finding excuses to naysay. Which is why Klinsmann should petition FIFA to hold both the Brazil and Qatar World Cups right now.