Jozy, Jozy Jozy

By Paul Kennedy

It's impossible to think of a better performance a U.S. forward has ever put on than what Jozy Altidore did on Wednesday night in Sarajevo. Not just the three goals and assist he had in the space of 32 minutes that silenced the capacity crowd at Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium. But his work for the entire 90 minutes.

The USA's record winning streak looked dead at halftime, but Altidore with some notable contributions from his teammates made sure the USA made it 12 in a row with a stunning 4-3 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

JOZY, JOZY, JOZY. Just about every touch of Altidore's game was perfect -- even in the first half when the USA fell behind -- but none more so than his free kick -- yes, Jozy takes free kicks -- that put the USA ahead 3-2 in the 84th minute.

Altidore got help from Michael Bradley, who led him the ball he touched on to Eddie Johnson to slot into the empty net for the first goal and who again led him with the through pass for his third goal that concluded a great build-up, and from Fabian Johnson, who played the ball ahead to him for the clinical touch, turn and shoot that gave former Canada U-20 goalie Asmir Begovic no chance to the far post on the tying goal.

Altidore's goals give him goals in five straight games, a U.S. record. Johnson's assist marked the third straight game he found Altidore for a goal after charging into the attack from the left side.

HALFTIME ADJUSTMENT. It's dangerous to read too much into tactical switches, but one change Jurgen Klinsmann made to start the second half made all the difference, contributing directly to the first two U.S. goals.

Edgar Castillo came on a left back, Fabian Johnson moved forward into midfield, Eddie Johnson moved into attack and Mix Diskerud (who was struggled in the slot usually occupied by Clint Dempsey or Landon Donovan) came off as the USA switched from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2.

THE DEBUTANTS. John Brooks got his first start for the USA alongside Geoff Cameron, and they certainly had their hands full with Edin Dzeko.

Brooks, who made his Bundesliga debut on Saturday, showed he's ready to challenge -- if not yet ready to take over for -- the likes of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler in the middle of the backline even if his performance was far from flawless.

The 20-year-old defender was one of several players who were caught waving for offside as Dzeko scored on a rebound of his initial shot well saved by Howard and he was cleanly beaten on Dzeko's second goal.

On Vedad Ibisevic's goal, Brooks was pushed in the back by Emir Spahic as he went up for the incoming cross and unlucky not to get the call for a foul that would have nullified the goal.

Former Iceland U-21 Aron Johannsson, who only Tuesday was cleared to play for the USA, showed why Klinsmann lobbied so hard to pry him away from Iceland, creating two good chances for himself and being involved in the lead-up to the fourth U.S. goal.

Hawaiian-born Bobby Wood was the third player to make his U.S. debut, coming on for a cameo appearance.

THE STREAK. The USA's 12-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the world. It is only three wins away from tying the world record held by Spain -- a streak the USA stopped with its 2-0 win at the 2009 Confederations Cup. The USA ties the Concacaf record winning streak held by Mexico (1987-90).

Aug. 14 in Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina 3 USA 4. Goals: Dzeko 7, 90, Ibisevic 30; E.Johnson 54, Altidore 58, 84 86.
Bosnia & Herzegovina -- Begovic; Bicakcic, Spahic (Sunjic 46), Rahimic (Zahirovic 46), Zukanovic (Visca 62); Misimovic, Salihovic (Vrsajevic 46), Lulic, Pjanic; Dzeko, Ibisevic (Stevanovic 46).
USA -- Howard; Evans (Wood 88), Cameron, Brooks, F.Johnson (Parkhurst 79); Bradley, Jones (Kljestan 70); Bedoya (Corona 63), Diskerud (Castillo 46), E.Johnson (Johannsson 63); Altidore.

Jozy's Hat Trick:
28 comments about "Jozy, Jozy Jozy".
  1. Mark Hardt, August 14, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.

    Wow what a great win' Quality opponent at home and top of their qualifying group. Altidore should do great at Sunderland.

  2. Dick Burns, August 14, 2013 at 7:04 p.m.

    Tough choices going ahead selecting the players for the Hexagonal. Looks like a lot f players are playing well. Good problem to have.

  3. Ginger Peeler, August 14, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

    What an exciting second half! But I have a problem with several of our players, including Jozy. When the national anthems for our opposing teams are played, at least 95% of the players are singing along...including the guys on the bench. Playing for one's country should be an honor and a privilege. However only about half of our guys sing. LD never does, nor does Clint Dempsey. I didn't see any of the guys on the bench singing, but several were chewing gum vigorously. But what's up with Jozy? The last 5 games he has started, he has kept both hands at his side or clasped behind his back. Obviously, he is taking no pride in his country and is making some sort of statement. I love that he's scoring lots of goals, but I don't think he should be allowed on the field if he has no respect for the country he's playing for. Just sayin...

  4. Bruce Smith-grant, August 14, 2013 at 7:37 p.m.

    For a guy that I had a very low level of esteem for - before this year - WOW - what a metamorphosis ! ! !

  5. soccer talk, August 14, 2013 at 7:37 p.m.

    Great 2nd half by the US. Bradley quietly
    Held things together. Jozy has shut up the naysayers. JK had great insight w 442 move which played dividends early. Defense still spotty in giving goals away carelessly.
    Ginger , spot on. US should sing, hand over heart
    ... To show respect for the country they rep.
    Some I understand have dual citizenship but
    97% should show respect or get the heck
    Off the field.

  6. John Soares, August 14, 2013 at 7:40 p.m.

    Beautiful game....well second half anyway!

    A lot will be said about B-H subs in second half. This is the #13 team in the world and the USA did not have there first 11 either. Good to see promising young talent on the field. ***Ginger, singing is not and should not be a requirement.... AND is in NO way proof of love, respect or pride for country or anything else. Just sayin....

  7. Charles Stamos, August 14, 2013 at 7:42 p.m.

    Players only need to be respectful of both their national anthem and their opponents. There is no reason they have to sing it, just stand at attention. It's what in your head and in your heart that's important.

  8. Charles Stamos, August 14, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.

    Given that I only watched the goal video highlights, the only comments I can make relate to them; 1) nice goals and assist by Altidore, 2) nice assist and hockey assist by Bradley and 3)you don't play defense and mark your opponent by raising your arm and appealing to the linesman for an offside flag.

  9. Valerie Metzler, August 14, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.

    I was unable to watch the game but I can't wait to see the replay. I don't know that I have ever read such glowing reports--and 8 comments in unison!

  10. Allan Lindh, August 14, 2013 at 9:25 p.m.

    Seems only fair to concede that having a charismatic famous coach has raised the profile of the US program, and now kids with a choice are choosing the US some of the time. I have no idea how good a coach he really is, the assistants may be more crucial, but having a more glamorous program has paid real benefits -- like having too many good players at some positions. Even 12 months ago who would have thunk it?

  11. Power Dive, August 14, 2013 at 9:30 p.m.

    Ditto what Stamos said.

  12. Tom Tani, August 15, 2013 at 7:08 a.m.

    Ginr, whiel I respect your opinion, I disagree that you have to "show respect" by snging, etc.s This is the USA and you are allowed to expres yur feelings in any fashion. Someplayers are getting into game mode (like Jozy). As long as you stand quietly and ar not clowning around, that is enough. Like Stamos said, it's what in your head and heart that matters...

    Am very happy with team and with job JK has done. I notice that Paul "I hate USA because they don't play MY way" Gardner has been silent. Which is a good thing

  13. Miguel Dedo, August 15, 2013 at 8:46 a.m.

    In the Washington Post the US-Bosnia match received 17 column lines on the bottom of a page, in a catch-all column titled "Tennis Wimbelton champ Bartoli retires suddenly." The featured soccer story, by the Post's "soccer writer" Steven Goff, was about parking problems encountered by people who wanted to attend the Chelsa-Roma match at RFK Stadium last week-end -- Aug 10. 184 column-line at the top of a page.

  14. Walt Pericciuoli, August 15, 2013 at 8:57 a.m.

    Congrats are due all way around. Great win.Even the first half I didn't think we were that bad. Just a couple of mistakes that cost us. Otherwise we were holding our own. 2nd half, we blew them away.I'm really liking this team now and I'm enjoying the ride.

  15. Ginger Peeler, August 15, 2013 at 9:31 a.m.

    I'm afraid I was misunderstood. My point about the singing of the national anthems was that all the players on other nation's teams do and it doesn't seem to matter if they can carry a tune...they belt out their nation's song anyway. I am disappointed that we seem to be the only national team where so many choose not to sing. Of course they don't have to, but it still looks to me as if some of them are only interested in playing the game and have forgotten who they're playing for and why they're on the represent the USA. However, there ARE rules for an American citizen saluting the flag (don't they teach this stuff in school anymore?)...according to the United States Flag Code, "...citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note....citizens should stand at salute by placing their hand over their heart, facing the American Flag." Jozy used to put his hand over his heart, as citizens of the US are supposed to do. Now he deliberately keeps his hands at his sides or, usually, behind his back. Why? What message is he sending us?

  16. soccer talk, August 15, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.

    Ginger, again you r spot on w/ your observation. American fans, players should show respect by placing their hand over their heart during the anthem. It is a national honor to be playing for their country and they should show respect for all those that have died to give them this opportunity especially on a grand stage for everyone to see. It is a shame when other countries display more respect and passion for their homeland. We do teach respect for country/flag in school and I realize it falls customarily mundane everyday and the children are often reminded by myself the importance of the sacrifices afforded them for the freedom that enjoy. While singing is not required, hand over the heart is and these players should realize that they represent the USA and do so!

  17. Gus Keri, August 15, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.

    Ginger, it's not true that only Americans don't sing their anthem. There are many players of other nationalities who don't sing theirs. I guess it's all about how much personal freedom each country has and what defines "respect to the flag" that is different from one person to another.

  18. Chris Sapien , August 15, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.

    Ginger, keep up the good fight girl......deep down most of us would love to see them, hand over heart and singing/mouthing the anthem......regardless what some have written in response to you. Freedom isn't free......ask Egypt or Syria, but ignorance is bliss for alot of folks.

  19. soccer talk, August 15, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.

    Amen Chris! The USMT could learn a little
    Patriotism from the WNT.

  20. Ginger Peeler, August 15, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

    Hey, guys, thanks for your support. You know, I've been watching our USMNT for many years. I saw Tab Ramos take an elbow from a Brazilian player that resulted in a skull fracture in the 1994 WC. I watched Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley play in the Korea 2002 WC. Bruce Arena called Beasley "Gumby" for the way he used to bounce right back up after being flattened by an opposing player. I have watched all of this series of games that the US has won and, it's true, I did see 3 or 4 players from one (only one) other team that didn't sing. I love seeing Tim Howard and Michael Bradley. They always sing. So does Joe Corona when he starts. I can understand the dual citizenship guys not participating in the singing but they DO put their hands over their hearts. Each of these US athletes is a role model for the youth of our nation. What is the saying..."they need to pick up the flag and carry it"? Still, I have found the team to be a joy to watch. They are growing with every game, especially since they began the Gold Cup games. Such an improvement from our poor defense and offense of last year. Go USA!!!

  21. Alex G. Sicre, August 15, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.

    Attaboy Chris, I'm with you and Ginger. A lot of people, our armed forces, died for our freedom. I dont care about the singing as much as I do putting your hand over your heart. Thats the least they can do.

  22. Gus Keri, August 15, 2013 at 7:21 p.m.

    Chris, interesting you brought up Syria and Egypt. Do you know that some of the Syrian players who used to sing to the Syrian flag now are demonstrating against the regime lifting different flag. this tells you how sincere their respect to the flag was when they sang to it before. So, when you see some other nationals singing to their flag, ask yourself, "is there a military boot over their neck?" Freedom might be relative as you suggest but respect is what you have in your heart, not what you display in front of others.

  23. Manny Hirschel, August 15, 2013 at 9:55 p.m.

    I am so glad that the discourse on pride and respect for country is finally surfacing. I mentioned it here a few weeks ago and nothing further heard. It is very disconcerting to see players of opposing teams sing with such gusto, which obviously reflects love for their country. As a refugee American citizen, former player and referee and veteran, I am so proud of these guys, particularly what they accomplished yesterday. Just want them to show some love and patriotism for this great country that they represent. G0 USA.

  24. Ginger Peeler, August 15, 2013 at 10:10 p.m.

    Manny, as Soccer Talk has said, "spot on"! You couldn't have stated it any better. Thank you so much!!!

  25. Chris Sapien , August 16, 2013 at 12:19 a.m.

    Gus, Forgive me if I say I'm not sure too many people can follow what you posted. As Americans, we don't consider it singing to the flag. The flag is the representation of our country, and we honor it when we sing the National Anthem, hand over heart and facing it in a respectful manner.

  26. Ginger Peeler, August 16, 2013 at 12:52 a.m.

    Oh, well said, Chris!!! Thanks for expressing it so well!

  27. Walt Pericciuoli, August 16, 2013 at 9:06 a.m.

    Can't we keep this discussion about soccer?

  28. Manny Hirschel, August 16, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.

    Walt, this part of the whole picture.

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