Jozy Altidore's hat trick was top shelf, but was it the best ever by a USMNT player? | SIDELINE

Jozy Altidore's hat trick on Wednesday was spectacular — not just because it completed a turnaround from 2-0 down against Bosnia-Herzegovina to a 4-3 victory for the US national team or the fact it was just the 16th hat trick in the history of the USMNT. The true beauty was in the quality of the goals that Altidore scored.

He's always had favorable size, strength and raw finishing power in his bag of tricks, many of his now-20 international goals a product of this particular skill set. But what we had never seen before Wednesday was the kind of precision on display on his first goal — a rocket strike placed perfectly inside the far post — or the touch applied to his curling free kick for his second.

Which brings us to the next logical question: No, not "How good can Jozy Altidore be?" We already know (in our hearts) he's going to lead the line for the US at next summer's World Cup in Brazil and break the USMNT's dubious streak of back-to-back World Cups without a goal scored by a true forward.

The better question on this day: Was Altidore's hat trick the best ever scored in a USMNT jersey? Based upon the availability of highlight videos from US Soccer in the modern Internet age, we present to you the opposing candidates to Jozy's magic in Sarajevo:

Landon Donovan — March 25, 2007 — Donovan registered his second career international hat trick, in a friendly against Ecuador

Sacha Kljestan — January 24, 2009 Kljestan scored his first, second and third career international goals, in a friendly against Sweden

Jozy Altidore — April 1, 2009 — Altidore scores his first of two career international hat tricks, at 19 years old, in a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago

So there's the three other USMNT hat tricks of the highest quality, prior to Altidore's on Wednesday. Do any of the three top Jozy's brilliance? Is there another one you feel should have been included? Let us know in the comments section below.


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