Jozy Altidore Scores Second-Half Hat Trick to Push USA Past Bosnia-Herzegovina
Spurred by a scintillating individual performance from striker Jozy Altidore, the United States men's soccer team stretched their record win streak to 12 matches Wednesday, defeating Bosnia-Herzegovina, 4-3, in Sarajevo.
Altidore scored three second-half goals, helping push the United States past a 2-0 deficit through the first 45 minutes. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this marked the USMNT's first come-from-behind victory against a European team on its own soil:
The #USMNT trailed 2-0 before winning 4-3 against Bosnia-Herzegovina, its 1st come-from-behind win in Europe.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 14, 2013
Bosnia-Herzegovina got off to a hot start early, getting an Edin Dzeko goal in the eighth minute and another by Vedad Ibisevic in the 30th minute to take what seemed like an insurmountable lead into halftime.
After break, though, Jurgen Klinsmann's squad came out red-hot—particularly Altidore, who has emerged into arguably the country's most reliable player on the attack. An Eddie Johnson strike in the 55th minute started the United States on the comeback trail, one that Altidore took over down the stretch.
The 23-year-old star added a goal four minutes after Johnson's, tying the game before a stunned crowd at Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium. A stalemate ensued for the next 25 minutes with both sides leaving opportunities on the table. But given a free kick just outside the box, Altidore sent a rocket past Asmir Begovic to give the United States a lead they would not relinquish.
A member of English club Sunderland, Altidore finished off the goalscoring with his third of the night just two minutes later. Dzeko added a goal for Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 90th minute, but it was to little avail.
Altidore's goalscoring effort not only made history for the United States, but also for him as an individual. He has now scored in five consecutive international contests, breaking a record he held with five others coming into the contest. This was also Altidore's second international hat trick, the other coming in 2009.
The United States will look to continue their record streak on Sept. 6, when they take on Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifying. Their win Wednesday ended almost an equal run of excellence from Bosnia-Herzegovina, who were 8-0-1 over their last nine matches. Bosnia-Herzegovina are also back in action on Sept. 6 against Slovakia in a qualifier.
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