Jozy Altidore played out of his mind against Bosnia in Wednesday night’s 4-3 international friendly victory for the United States, and it helped show that the team is ready for a strong showing at the 2014 World Cup.
The United States didn’t look good at all throughout the first half of the friendly as Bosnia put two goals up on the scoreboard. But Eddie Johnson scored in the 55th minute to cut the deficit to just one and then Altidore went to work against the Bosnian defense. And by “went to work,” I mean, “put on an absolute show.”
Altidore scored in the 59th minute, then again in the 84th minute and then one more time in the 86th minute. Yes, the American put a trio of goals in the back of the net to help his team come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the match 4-3. Altidore has now scored a goal in five straight appearances (h/t ESPN Stats & Info):
Jozy Altidore yesterday became the first American player to score a goal in five straight appearances.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 15, 2013
Here’s what head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said of Altidore’s performance after the conclusion of the match, according to USSoccer.com:
We see Jozy understanding the demands at this level, to be consistent and always focused. He went through a lot of maturing the last couple years. The ups and downs are normal. But he really understands when it counts and how he has to be there with his presence. He makes everybody around him a better player and its (sic) real enjoyable, real fun.
Altidore deserves a world of praise for the way he played against Bosnia, but the team, as a whole, also deserves some credit. It had the fight to make a huge comeback after it found itself down early. That’s the quality a team ready for the World Cup needs to have. Now, we know for sure the USMNT is ready.
The United States team has now won 12 matches in a row. The team was fantastic throughout the CONCACAF Gold Cup, as it went undefeated in Group C play. It then cruised past El Salvador in the quarterfinals and Honduras in the semifinals and then won 1-0 against Panama in the final to claim the tournament crown.
The USMNT only needs to finish in the top three of the World Cup Fourth Round in order to clinch a spot in the biggest international competition in the world. It can finish in fourth place as well, but will then need to win a playoff in order to book a trip to Brazil next June. Here’s a look at the current standings:
As you can see, the USMNT is in a prime position to make it to Brazil next year. The Americans still have four matches left on their schedule against other teams vying for a spot in the World Cup, but it seems highly likely that the United States team clinches a spot in the top three—or at least the top four.
The Americans came all the way back against Bosnia and didn’t even have Landon Donovan—the Gold Cup hero—or Clint Dempsey—one of the best players in the country—on the pitch. Altidore did it all by himself, for the most part, and the international competition better watch out for what’s to come.
Can the Americans top their 2010 World Cup performance (loss in the Round of 16)?
After the Gold Cup concluded, Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey predicted what the squad for the World Cup is going to look like. It seems that the Americans are going to have one stellar set of forwards. Tansey thinks Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan, Johnson and Chris Wondolowski will all make the team.
Altidore just showed everyone that he’s ready for the World Cup, Johnson has been very impressive, Donovan and Wondolowski each scored five goals at the Gold Cup and Dempsey is sure to put the team on his back should the United States fall behind. The forwards can carry the United States very far.
While the World Cup is still around a year away from commencing, the USMNT continues to show that it's ready for anything an opponent throws at it. Altidore’s performance against Bosnia to give the Americans a win solidified that statement. This team is red-hot and the rest of the world needs to watch out for the Americans.