USA vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina: Biggest Takeaways from Impressive Win for Americans
Get excited, people. After its 4-3 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the United States has now won 12 straight games—both the longest winning streak in the country's history and the longest active streak in the world today.
But there was far more to the win than the preservation of a streak, and most of it was positive. Let's take a closer look at the biggest takeaways from Wednesday's win.
Jozy Altidore Can Dominate a Game
We knew that Jozy Altidore had really come into his own as a striker, as he had scored four goals in his last four games for the USMNT, but his performance in the second half against Bosnia-Herzogovina was truly dominant.
Though his hold-up play and movement were quite good during the entire match, the chances finally came in the second half and he didn't disappoint.
His first tally—one touch in the box and a cross-face drive that Asmir Begovic was helpless to stop—was indicative of a striker in top form. His second goal, a beautiful, curling free kick, proved he can handle set pieces, a dimension we haven't seen on the national level. His third goal was the icing on the cake.
He also set up Eddie Johnson's goal.
Four goals for the United States, and Altidore was involved in all four. It was one of the most dominant performances we've seen from an American in quite some time and proof that Altidore can steal a game or two for the United States in the future.
The Young Players Have a Bright Future
The kids are alright.
Aron Johannsson was a firecracker in the second half, showing off excellent movement and great energy when paired with Altidore. His performance was really, really exciting for the future.
John Brooks was overmatched having to deal with a star like Edin Dzeko, but he's far from the only centre-back in the world to be in that position. Still, he showed a lot of potential in this match and, while he probably won't do enough to be a factor next summer, it looks like he could be a future mainstay in the United States defense.
Mix Diskerud showed some flashes as well in his 45 minutes and looked to have drawn a penalty that wasn't called. He might be better suited playing a bit further back on the pitch, however, and could end up being a very bright understudy for Michael Bradley.
The United States Has Legitimate Depth
No Clint Dempsey. No Landon Donovan. No Graham Zusi. No Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler or Damarcus Beasley. And yet, against the 13th-ranked team in the world, the United States earned a 4-3 win.
Sure, the team still had stalwarts like Altidore, Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson. Yes, Bosnia-Herzegovina made a slew of subs in the second half. Nevertheless, the important thing to focus on is that the United States had the depth to compete at a high level.
In leading the CONCACAF hexagonal table in World Cup qualifying, winning the Gold Cup and winning 12 straight matches, the United States has proven it has the depth to build a really strong World Cup team next summer.
The deeper a bench, the more the incumbents are pushed to prove they belong in the starting 11. The 2014 World Cup squad should be the most talented in this country's history.
Jurgen Klinsmann's Tactics Are Clicking
Personally, I'm a proponent of the 4-2-3-1 system that Jurgen Klinsmann has generally employed.
I think it perfectly suits Michael Bradley's game, giving structure to the team's attack and allowing Dempsey to play the role of poacher when he's the No. 10 or granting Donovan the freedom to play the role of creative playmaker when he sits behind the striker.
On Wednesday, though, the 4-2-3-1 just wasn't clicking. Without Dempsey or Donovan behind him, Altidore often ends up isolated and devoid of service as the lone forward while Eddie Johnson is too inconsistent on the wing to be utilized regularly in that role.
So in the second half, Klinsmann switched to a 4-4-2. Four goals later, his decision seemed more than vindicated.
It was a savvy move, and the good adjustment to the personnel he had at his disposal was just another example of why this United States team is in the right hands.
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