USA vs. Bosnia-Herzogovina: USMNT Stars Who Had Most Impressive Showings
Football, as they say, is a game of two halves.
It's one of the most tired cliches you could possibly hear about the sport, as if any match would ever not be a game of two halves.
Occasionally, there is that one match where that same tired cliche couldn't be any more accurate.
By the time the first half was over in the United States' friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina, US supporters were telling themselves it was only a friendly and didn't matter. After all, the States were down, 2-0.
When the referee blew the whistle to end the match, those same supporters were buying their plane tickets to Brazil and securing lodging for the 2014 World Cup. It's not every day you overturn a two-goal deficit in 45 minutes and win 4-3.
It was an historic friendly win that continues the positive momentum Jurgen Klinsmann has been building in World Cup qualification and the 2013 Gold Cup.
Given the performances of these three players, Klinsmann has reason to be encouraged.
It's hard to believe that Jozy Altidore was ever out of favor with Jurgen Klinsmann. The 23-year-old striker had a hat-trick against Bosnia-Herzegovina and was the biggest reason the United States were able to come back in the second half.
The best of Altidore's three goals goals was this beautiful free-kick in the 84th minute.
Within about a year, Altidore has gone from being an outcast to one of the most important players in the side. He's finally following through on the promise he showed as a teenager.
His spell with AZ Alkmaar was invaluable as Altidore was forced to become a more tactically astute player. He couldn't simply sit at the top of the attack and wait for service. Getting out of that comfort zone has helped the now Sunderland forward improve by leaps and bounds.
Under Bob Bradley and earlier under Klinsmann, Altidore was an automatic starter only because the US lacked any alternatives. Now Altidore is earning his spot on merit.
Is there any doubt Michael Bradley is the most important player on the United States? There isn't another player in the talent pool who is the combination of distributor and box-to-box midfielder.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina friendly was another typical Bradley performance. He was a composed presence in midfield, spraying passes out to his teammates and providing cover for his defenders. If it weren't for Altidore's hat-trick, Bradley would have been man of the match. According to MLS's chalkboard, he completed a whopping 92 of his 100 passes.
Watching the 26-year-old's growth from a purely defensive midfielder to a metronome-like presence on the pitch has really been something to treasure.
Much has been made of Aron Johannsson aligning himself with the US national team. Almost all of his development in football was done in Iceland, yet Johannsson chose to make himself available to the United States rather than Iceland. Suffice it to say, the Icelandic FA weren't very happy about the decision.
What's Iceland's loss is the United States' gain.
The US wasted little time in getting him in the team after making his switch official (h/t US Soccer Twitter account).
This was Johannsson's first appearance for the national team, and while he only appeared for about 27 minutes, he made his time count.
In that relatively small window of time on the pitch, the 22-year-old made a good account for himself. He had two shots on goal and generally was a threatening presence up top.
You didn't expect much of the forward, so whatever Johannsson contributed was going to be a positive. Going forward, he should be a regular inclusion in the squad.
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