U.S. earns historic come-from-behind win over Bosnia

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Last week, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard called Jozy Altidore "our moneymaker." Against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Altidore did more than earn his paycheck, delivering a second-half hat trick to lead the U.S. to a historic 4-3 comeback victory, its first such triumph on European soil.

The home side's strike tandem of Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic was as lethal as advertised, as they both scored in the first half and appeared to send the home side on its way to a comfortable victory. But a tactical switch at halftime from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 sparked a U.S. revival, with Altidore the main beneficiary. Eddie Johnson pulled a goal back in the 55th minute, and Altidore then scored goals in the 59th, 84th and 86th minutes to give the Americans a memorable victory.

The key matchup going in was thought to be Dzeko and Ibisevic against the U.S. center back tandem of Geoff Cameron and John Brooks, with the latter making his international debut.

-- Video: Ley, Lalas recap all of the action

And early on, the Bosnian pair had their way. Dzeko scored with the match less than 8 minutes old. Johnson coughed up the ball in front of his own penalty area, and Zvjezdan Misimovic proceeded to put Dzeko clean through on goal. Howard saved the initial shot, but could do nothing about the rebound. The fact that Cameron and Brooks wasted precious seconds pleading for an offside call that never came didn't help matters.

The U.S. had some good spells of possession, with Mix Diskerud and Altidore linking up well at times. Altidore appeared to have a clear look at goal, but opted to pass to a static Johnson, and the chance was wasted.

The home side doubled its advantage in the 30th minute. A Bosnian corner was only half-cleared by Cameron, and when the play reset to Misimovic, his cross was nodded home by Ibisevic, although there was more than just a hint of offside.

The aforementioned tactical switch completely turned the game around. Diskerud was taken off for Edgar Castillo, which allowed Johnson to move up top alongside Altidore, with Fabian Johnson sliding into midfield.

The move was successful well beyond manager Jurgen Klinsmann's wildest hopes. In the 55th minute, Michael Bradley's long pass picked out Altidore, whose touch around goalkeeper Asmir Begovic fell right into the path of Eddie Johnson, who finished easily into an empty net.

The Americans then equalized in the 59th minute, when Brooks picked out Fabian Johnson, and his through ball was hammered home by Altidore.

The U.S. looked to be the more likely of the two sides to find a winner, with substitute Aron Johannsson -- in his American debut -- looking lively in tandem with Altidore.

But it was from a set piece that Altidore put the U.S. ahead. Castillo won a free kick 25 yards from goal, and Altidore bent his shot perfectly into the upper corner.

Altidore added what looked like an insurance tally in the 86th minute when he collected a pass from Bradley and fired home with another first-time finish.

As it turned out, the goal was needed as Dzeko responded with a header. But the U.S. closed the match out, finishing off one of the most memorable European nights in the team's history.

Player ratings: (0-10; 10=best)

G Tim Howard, 7 -- Delivered a sharp initial save on Dzeko, only to get no help on the rebound. Made one odd decision to punch instead of claim a through ball, but came up big to deny substitute Edin Visca in the second half.

D Fabian Johnson, 6 -- Looked much more comfortable in midfield than in defense. Too slow to close down Misimovic on Bosnia's second goal, but threaded a gorgeous path to set up Altidore for his equalizer.

D Geoff Cameron, 4 -- Similar to the friendly against Belgium last May, was slow to recover after an initial Howard save, and was cleanly beaten by Ibisivec on the second. Recovered a bit in the second half.

D John Brooks, 5 -- Like Cameron, was slow to recover on Dzeko's opener, but grew into the match, winning some key one-on-one battles and showing off his good distribution skills, including a pass that helped set up Altidore's first goal. Was beaten late again by Dzeko.

D Brad Evans, 5.5 -- Defended his side capably for the most part, although his appeals for offside on two goals didn't help. He picked some good spots to get forward.

M Michael Bradley, 8 -- Was his usual consistent self both in terms of his defending and passing. His inch-perfect through ball set the table for Johnson's goal and he also set up Altidore's third as well.

M Jermaine Jones, 5 -- Started off decently enough, but then endured a nightmare stretch where he couldn't stop giving the ball away. Recovered to provide more of a midfield presence in the second half.

M Eddie Johnson, 5 -- Deserves credit for recovering from a terrible first half. His turnover in front of his own penalty area gifted Bosnia its opener, but he perked up when moved up top.

M Mix Diskerud, 6 -- Was sharp with his ideas and threatened early with a surging run. His biggest problem was that too often, he was muscled off the ball. It was a bit of a surprise to see him taken off at halftime.

M Alejandro Bedoya, 6 -- Showed good aggression in the final third, and tracked back well defensively. His stock has definitely risen in the past month.

F Jozy Altidore, 9 -- Showed some good work on top in terms of movement and link play. Only complaint is that he was too unselfish with an early chance, but he learned his lesson and took his goal with confidence.

Subs:

D Edgar Castillo, 6 – Did well to recover and tackle away a half-chance early in the second half.

F Aron Johannsson, 7 -- A menace from the moment he entered the match. Did well to pick out Altidore with a defense-splitting pass shortly after coming on. Freed himself for a shot with a deft move in the 74th minute as well.

M Joe Corona, 6 -- Kept the U.S. attack ticking over with some sharp touches.

M Sacha Kljestan, 6 -- Slotted into the center of midfield alongside Bradley, and provided some valuable energy. He also slotted a sharp pass to Bradley to set up Altidore's third.

M Michael Parkhurst, 6 -- Didn't take long to get up to the speed of the game, and showed no hesitation getting into the attack.

F Bobby Wood, NR -- Brief cameo for the 1860 Munich forward.

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