At halftime of the U.S Men’s National Team’s friendly match in Sarajevo against FIFA World No. 13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the proceedings appeared dire. Eddie Johnson was lethargic on the ball, giving up an easy 8th minute first goal to Manchester City talisman Edin Dzeko. Just 22 minutes later, a glancing header from the noggin of Vedad Ibisevic made the score 2-0.
The Bosnians bellowed from the Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium stands, creating a rattling, daunting atmosphere. A lesser team would have wilted, but not Jurgen Klinsmann’s Stars and Stripes side, key among them the in-form Jozy Altidore.
From the soles of his infrared adidas F50 adizeros, Sunderland’s superlative striker cushioned a lobbed pass from Michael Bradley to set up Johnson for the first goal in the 55th minute before he smashed the second into the lower right corner of the net from his left foot moments later. Capping off the comeback, Altidore curled a glorious 84th minute free kick past the airborne Asmir Begovic, the Stoke City shot-stopper. Bradley again set the table for Altidore in the match’s dying embers, and so completed a cultured 27-minute hat trick, his first in red, white and blue since dismantling Trinidad and Tobago, playing them for a fool, on April, 1 2009.
Wednesday’s match was just a friendly, yes, but it was a historic, breathtaking encounter, nonetheless. With the win, the USMNT added to its worldwide best 12-match winning streak, the most wins on the trot in the history of the side. Altidore became the first American to score in five consecutive contests, sealing the first comeback win in U.S. soccer history on European soil.
The match was exactly the kind of test Klinsmann’s squad needed to face and pass as FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil approaches. Altidore’s adizeros have Sam’s Army marching down a promising path.