It’s February 3rd! Today we take you back to 2013, where the United States Men’s National Team is smack in the middle of 2014 World Cup qualifying and looking for a spark. Enter Jozy Altidore, then 23, to the rescue. After being roundly criticized by then-USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Altidore responded with one of the finest stretches of play in the history of U.S. Soccer.
First, Jozy opened his 2013 bank account with a goal against Germany in the U.S. Soccer Centennial match on June 2nd in Washington, DC. Germany was the 2nd-ranked team in the world at the time, but that didn’t stop Jozy from opening the scoring in this incredible match:
The USMNT eventually beat Germany 4-3 and then resumed World Cup qualifying with a trip to face Jamaica in Kingston on June 7th. Altidore wasn’t to be denied against the Reggae Boyz, scoring the opening goal of that match as well:
After a 2-1 victory against the Jamaicans, the team returned to the United States for 2 more qualifiers. The first was against Panama in Seattle on June 11th. In the 35th minute, Jozy Altidore finished a Fabian Johnson cross with, you guessed it, the opening goal in a 2-0 victory.
On June 18th, the team finished up the summer window of World Cup qualifying with a match in Salt Lake City against Honduras. In the 73rd minute, Jozy Altidore broke a scoreless match with a goal that proved to be the eventual game-winner for the Americans:
With that match, Jozy Altidore matched the record for most consecutive games with a goal, tying Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, William Lubbe, and Erik Wynalda. But, Jozy was not done. After almost a 2 month break, the USMNT was back in action with a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. It was here that Jozy broke the all-time consecutive goal scoring record in monster fashion. With the United States down 2-0, Jozy Altidore put his team on his back, notching a natural hat trick to secure a 4-2 victory for the Americans. The first goal came in the 59th minute to equalize 2-2:
Next, a miraculous free kick in the 84th minute gave the United States the 3-2 lead late.
Finally, Altidore put the game out of reach with a goal in the 86th minute to seal it:
His hat trick helped secure the USMNT’s 12th straight victory of 2013, itself a U.S. Soccer record. Many people think that this was Jozy’s peak, but at age 28, he’s still in the middle of his prime. He has a chance to catch Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey at the top of the all-time USMNT goalscoring list. But, we will always have 2013, when Jozy Altidore went on a tear no one may ever match.