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USA vs. Turkey (Matchday Commentary)

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The U.S. men's national team takes on Turkey today (2pm, ESPN2) in its final match before departing for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The United States should feature most of its starters today against a strong Turkish squad that is arguably one of the best teams not going to the World Cup.

I will be providing commentary throughout the match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are always welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– That's all for me now. Please be sure to read SBI's post-match coverage and feel free to share your thoughts on today's match in the comments section below.

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FINAL– Who stood out today? Jose Torres, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Robbie Findley, Jay DeMerit and Landon Donovan carried the day. Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein struggled badly, while Benny Feilhaber failed to impress.

Oguchi Onyewu looked better today than he did on Tuesday, though he had less to do.

At this point it would be hard to argue with Jose Torres as the new favorite to start in central midfield next to Michael Bradley, as well as Cherundolo being the favorite at right back.

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FINAL– USA 2, Turkey 1 (Hey, who picked that score?). A shaky first half, but a strong and promising second half that helped answer some questions about position battles. The Americans answered a lot of questions, though some players came away from today's match losing ground in their individual battles for starting roles.

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90th Minute– Time is just about up here. USA 2, Turkey 1.

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90th Minute– Arda Turan is subbed out. Class player with a great future. He'll be a star with a big European club soon enough.

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89th Minute– Torres free kick OFF THE POST. Torres' free kicks have been great in practice so no surprise there.

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87th Minute– Holden springs Bradley with a great pass and Bradley's lay-off pass finds Dempsey, who hits a shot just inches wide. That was close to 3-1.

USA free kick on the right flank drawn by Cherundolo.

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85th Minute– Tonight's attendance is 55,407, largest crowd for a soccer match in Philadelphia.

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83rd Minute– Suspect foul call gives Turkey a dangerous free kick on the left flank.

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83rd Minute– Bear Choker was scared into nearly falling on his butt.

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80th Minute– Stuart Holden comes in for Altidore. That's it for subs.

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79th Minute– Sercan Yildirim just schooled Bornstein, but nobody gets into the dangerous cross.

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78th Minute– Nihat Kahvechi comes into the match.

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76th Minute- GOAL USA!! And it's Dempsey with the clever finish off a great pass from Donovan. USA 2, Turkey 1.

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75th Minute– Bornstein coming in for Bocanegra, who had a very good match today at left back. He showed today that he's easily the best choice for that spot.

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73rd Minute– Semih Senturk comes in for Altintop. Not exactly a big dropoff there for Turkey.

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70th Minute– Cherundolo has been solid since coming in. It's fair to say he's got the edge for the right back job now over Spector.

Torres just might have Bob Bradley thinking about starting him over Ricardo Clark or Maurice Edu.

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66th Minute– Offside call saves the USA on that sequence.

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61st Minute– Donovan came out inspired this half, and Findley has looked good today.

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60th Minute– Corner cleared away.

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60th Minute– USA corner, drawn by Findley.

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58th Minute- GOAL USA!!! And it's Jozy Altidore, finishing off a great pass from Donovan, who rounded the Turkish keeper with a nice touch and then squared it to altidore. Findley with the nice pass to spring Donovan. USA 1, Turkey 1.

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56th Minute– Torres always seems to put himself in a good position to hold up opposing attacks. Good stuff today.

And Topal gets a yellow for a foul on Dempsey.

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54th Minute– Findley tries a long-range left-footed shot but it goes high. Nice combination between Altidore and Findley.

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53rd Minute– Turkey sub- Mehmet Topal for Selcuk Inan.

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52nd Minute– USA with another corner.

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51st Minute– Torres off to a good start, already like him better than Clark today.

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49th Minute– Findley with a good run into the area, but his cross is grabbed by Volkan.

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47th Minute– Nice sequence leads to a Bradley shot, blocked by Bear Choker.

Best Donovan pass all day. He's had  an off day today.

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46th Minute– We're back.

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HALFTIME– Those were the subs for the USA.

No Turkey subs (yes, you can laugh).

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HALFTIME– Onyewu, Torres, Cherundolo and Findley are warming up on the field right now so those could be the four halftime subs. Torres is a good call because he should be able to help with possession.

Who comes out? Spector, Feilhaber Goodson and Clark make sense.

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HALFTIME– Who will come in at halftime? Onyewu, Beasley, Edu and Cherundolo would be good subs, not just to stop the bleeding, but to see those players. 

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HALFTIME– Turkey 1, USA 0. We knew Turkey was a strong team that would push the USA, but the Americans have looked slow and sloppy, with Jonathan Spector struggling mightily. That shouldn't come as a complete shock because Arda Turan is Turkey's best player and Spector wasn't in the best of form late in the EPL season.

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45th Minute– Halftime can't come soon enough for the USA. Not much positive about this half.

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43rd Minute– Altidore with a Great move to spring past Bear Choker, but Dempsey couldn't get onto the cross.

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42nd Minute– Clark fouls Altintop, earning a yellow.

Someone asked me who has been the best U.S. player today. Couldn't think of one. Bocanegra hasn't been too bad, but that's it really.

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41st Minute– Turkey keeps pressuring and have a corner.

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40th Minute– Spector gets beaten yet again.

"Steve Cherundolo, please pick up the white courtesy phone."

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37th Minute– Spector gets caught forwards again, but the team covers for him much better this time. DeMerit holds up well, though he was lucky it was Richards on him and not Tuncay.

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35th Minute– Nice dummy by Clark, but Dempsey's touch fails him.

Not liking Feilhaber or Clark today. Will we see Edu/Torres today?

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33rd Minute– Bear Choker (Cetin) is a beast, tough defender for Turkey.

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32nd Minute– Feilhaber forces a corner with a good cross.

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29th Minute– Spector got caught forward there, but the USA needs to be able to cover for a run forward from a fullback. It did take a great pass from Turkey to spring Turan though, so they deserve credit for creating and finishing that one.

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26th Minute- GOAL TURKEY!! And it's Arda Turan with the finish on a counterattack. Spector surged forward on a run, but turned it over and Turkey pounced. Turkey 1, USA 0.

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25th Minute– It's a Saturday, and Memorial Day weekend, so let's hear some drinking game ideas for this match.

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24th Minute– USA corner is cleared away. Some decent looks for USA. They still need to show they can keep the ball.

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23rd Minute– Dangerous free kick for the USA.

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22nd Minute– Richards is down for Turkey, but he's limping off now. Should be back in.

USA needs to be sharper with its passes and more creative with the ball. Resorting to the longball won't help much today.

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19th Minute– Turkey has slowed down a bit but continue to control most of the possession. The Americans must be sharper with their passing or the defense will remain under pressure all day.

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15th Minute– Turan with a dangerous chance after beating Spector. Turkey's passing is very crisp today. Luckily for the USA, their finishing hasn't been as good.

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13th Minute– Dempsey forces a shot well wide.

Turkey has been very good on the ball early on, leaving the Americans to chase quite a bit. USA needs to do more with its possession and not give it away cheaply.

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10th Minute– Altintop pushes a shot wide as Turkey puts together another quality passing sequence.

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8th Minute– Turks are knocking it around now as the Americans look to stay organized defensively after being way too loose early.

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5th Minute– Tuncay JUST wide, a great sequence with Turan laying off a great ball, but Tuncay sends it just wide. Turkey's attack looks dangerous.

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2nd Minute– Howard tips away a dangerous cross. Some shaky early moments for the USA.

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1st Minute– And we're off.

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PRE-GAME– Lots of media here think Turkey is going to torch the USA today. I don't see that. I think the Americans win, 2-1. Donovan and Altidore score and Tim Howard has a big match.

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PRE-GAME– So who will we be watching for today? The Altidore-Dempsey tandem, Bocanegra at left back and Jonathan Spector at right back. It will be interesting to see how the Americans deal with Turan. 

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PRE-GAME– We're close to getting underway here. The crowd isn't full yet, but the fans are definitely here, making their way in late. We should have close to 55,000 here today.

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PRE-GAME– How strong is this Turkey squad? Consider that Nihat Kahvechi, Semih Senturk, Halil Altintop and Nuri Sahin are all on the bench today. Not bad at all.

Also, Guus Hiddink is on the sidelines for Turkey today. When he was originally hired it was believed he wouldn't be manager for this match, but he is here. Hiddink exchanged pleasantries with DaMarcus Beasley, who managed him at PSV Eindhoven.

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PRE-GAME– Arda Turan is the player to watch for Turkey. Whether on the left wing, or centrally, he will be the key to Turkey's attack. Altintop is also a dangerous player who should push Bocanegra.

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PRE-GAME– I have adjusted the Turkish lineup, which will be in a standard 4-4-2.

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PRE-GAME– One of the central defenders for Turkey today is Servet Cetin, who is nicknamed "Ayigoban", which means "Man who can choke a bear". Okay then.

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PRE-GAME– Every World Cup player is dressed today so all 12 reserves are available today.

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PRE-GAME– Dempsey should play in a withdrawn forward role today, the role he's likely to inhabit come June 12 vs. England. The Feilhaber start is certainly an interesting one, but if you consider that Beasley and Holden both played on Tuesday it makes sense to get Feilhaber a look today.

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PRE-GAME– Landon Donovan will be playing on the right flank today, with Feilhaber on the left. That's what we've been told.

As for Onyewu, he just played his first 65 minutes in seven months on Tuesday so he's being rested, but is expected to play in the second half.

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PRE-GAME– Here is Turkey's lineup:

—————–Sanli Tuncay—–Colin Kazim-Richards——–

Arda Turan————–Emre Belozoglu—————–Altintop

—————————–Selcuk Inan—————————-

Caglar Birinci—Servet Cetin—-Gokhan Zan—Sabri Sarioglu

—————————Volkan Demirel———————

I will adjust the Turkey positions shortly, but these are the starters. The attack is especially dangerous.

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PRE-GAME– In a bit of a surprise, Oguchi Onyewu is on the bench today, with Goodson getting the nod. Feilhaber is going to play on the right flank today (as it turns out, Feilhaber will be on the left and Donovan on the right).

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PRE-GAME– Here is the USA lineup today:

—————–Altidore————-Dempsey————–

Feilhaber———————————————Donovan

——————Bradley———–Clark———————-

Bocanegra——DeMerit———Goodson————-Spector

—————————Howard——————————–

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493 comments
  • Gacm32

    Hey man, sorry for calling you a troll, it was wrong of me. I apologize, you seem like a good USMNT fan like the rest of us.

    Like

  • Marvin

    Torres was a machine today. He orchestrates the midfield and fought well defensively and recovered well supporting Bradley. Very impressed his technical ability and footballing mind is awesome. I also believe he might be the closest thing we have had to a freekick specialist since Joe-Max.

    Like

  • Todd

    Really? The same guy who got us to the Confederations Cup final by finding Davies when no one knew who or where he was?

    I’ll stick with the idea that BB knows what he’s doing.

    Like

  • Gacm32

    Ya there is a reason. We took out spector and feilhaber. Inserted are most skilled passer and started pressuring the ball.

    Like

  • chill

    that’s because these dudes think these are the starters. the real starters (with some minor permutations) came on in the second half. spector and goodson are not starting down back, feilhaber is not starting in mid

    Like

  • madmax

    Bornstein, Clark, Spector, and Feilhaber have lost their starting chances, I hope.

    Like

  • Gacm32

    Ya man, I thought Holden was starting in the middle when Bradley had his first touch haha

    Like

  • I JIK I RED BULLZ

    OMG Bornstein go away they past by him like if he’s air. Spector made a huge mistake you never leave out your position like that run up and pass don’t do it yourself you’re a defender. Clark seemed lost, it must be because he hasn’t played in a while. And Fielhaber was no where to be found, it was like he wasn’t at the game. Findley did what he had to do with speed and he prove it when he chase down for the ball and his chip lead up to the 1st goal. Torres was amazing I wish the freak kick would have went in that would have been nasty. Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan, and Bradley all show up and need to perform like that against England. Cherundolo needs to start RB enough said! Gooch seemed better from last game and it seems like DeMerit plays better with Gooch next to him we should call they the Bash Brothers lol. Black Mouth was decent still coming back from his surgery. Overall great comeback win 2-1. Donovan man of the match oh yeah GO USA!!!

    Like

  • usa

    you’re clueless. yes, there are thousands of young children playing recreational soccer that receive poor coaching from volunteers, but to say that our best youth players, or even just above average club players just “take a few shots on goal and run laps” shows how disconnected you really are from soccer in america. get off your computer fatboy, enough with the cliches you poser.

    Like

  • I JIK I RED BULLZ

    switch Beasley for Donovan and put in Holden and I’m loving the lineup and the subs

    Like

  • boludo

    It’s really not a big deal. It’s his choice since this is America and we have a little something called freedom of expression.

    But I’d kind of like to know why he doesn’t do it, especially if he’s representing the USA. Insight, anyone?

    Like

  • chill

    you cannot be serious. altidore has been all over the pitch today. if you want to see lazy strikers, pull up tuesday’s first half and compare them.

    Like

  • chill

    he’s not. he hasn’t said anything positive about the squad on this entire post.

    Like

  • Big Phil

    Torres and Gomez bring some hair style to this team….You noticed how Torres hair never changed even though he played the entire second half (thanks to copious amounts of hair gel)…Now that’s a true Mexican….

    Like

  • bobiskool

    Americans care way too much about that kind of thing. Chill out. Let Altidore do what he wants to do.

    Like

  • micah

    You can still show respect w/o the hand on the heart. I’m in the military and fine w/ not putting the hand over the heart, as long as you are still respectful.

    Like

  • AQK

    Funny you should say that I was thinking during the game he was like a poor-man’s-Theo.

    Like

  • AQK

    Beez sucks on the right, Landon looked good on the right. I want Beez on the Left, maybe coming in for Holden (who you’ve excluded).

    Like

  • mattoomba

    Micah, as a Navy vet myself, I agree with an everyday civilian choosing to do what he wants. Yes, it’s America. But someone representing the country in a position of (some) honor, such as in the Olympics or the USMNT, should be a little more active in their respect for the country giving them the opportunity to perform on the grandest of stages. It’s a small thing, but a symbolic thing.

    Like

  • mattoomba

    Actually, bobiskool, I’d say Americans today care way too little about that kind of thing. I have noticed that’s it’s even rarer among us soccer fans. Happy Memorial Day.

    Like

  • dantheblue

    1st half: sloppy US ball control, too many FREAKING turnovers and bad touches… Looked like 1992 all over again. Poor defense and your basic clusterf@^& spread out over 120 x 75 yards of pitch. Turkey made us look STUPID…

    2nd half: Torres calmed that entire midfield down. Donovan and Duece freed up to be creative moving forward with excellent hustle from Josie and Findley… Torres changed the complection of the US team. How is he NOT automatic?

    Does anybody doubt now, besides BB, that Bornstein does NOT belong on the USNat team? That forward took JB’s lunch money, dated his sister, AND drove his car to the prom.

    Like

  • mat

    was at the game. Gooch deserves some respect. rebounded today. he and boca looked great.

    Like

  • John

    I missed the game on TH. Will it be rebroadcast today or tomorrow? I would appreciate to know of the time and channel if they do.

    John

    Like

  • Chris

    I was at the game right behind a pocket of Turkey supporters, but don’t worry guys, I was keeping them in check. When we scored our second goal, they were all dead quiet and I let’em have it. I must say though, I was impressed with some of the Turkish ladies on hand.

    Nothing like watching the boys win in the USA in front of 55,000 fans (about 50,000 US fans, 5,000 Turkey burgers or so it seemed from my section.)

    Like

  • andrew in tampa

    I had the luxury of looking at a replay on ESPN3.com. WHen Turkey scored my reaction: three and out. Once the second half started though, I felt as if we would equalize even if we didn’t win.
    I agree on most of the comments; My takeaway: Spector should only see playing time if all our right back options are hurt. His confidence is shot.
    While I like Dempsey up top, here is the problem. We have no real pace with him and Jozy THat is why Ching is home and Finley is on the team. Even though he is not the best player, his space makes this team so much more dangerous offensively. Like CD, he stretches the defense. Forget hold up play ability, that is not going to beat teams, we need forwards who are going to make defenders worry about the pace of th e forward. That scare gives other players room to work. Benny is always terrible when asked to play out side.
    Clark and Bradley – not the answer. Although Bradley was very poor in the first half. I need to see his old man sub him when he is playing poorly. We have not seen that yet.
    Torres is a revelation. He needs to start.
    Ok. This is all obvious, but like I said,I watched the game then signed on to read the postings. I am also delighted the way the team handled the game once they took the lead.
    Finally BB needs to fake a Bornstein injury so he could replace him with Anthony Wallace. JB should never see the field in SA.

    Like

  • Derrick

    Honestly i think Clark, Feilhabe, and spector are exactly what they’ve always been. Benny’s not a wide player. Spector i thought got a raw deal because when he went forward Nobody covered him. And worse he ran past like three players just to get back and defend. When he goes forward there has to be cover. To me that’s a communication and a lapse by our defensive mids. I think it’s wrong to blame him for the goal as tactically you alway have to cover for a wing back the moment he starts getting forward. but he’ll burn cause that’s how u.s. soccer is. i also think the fact that we had no possession, an no shots on goal and provided little threat going forward meant all our defenders spent the entire first have chasing the ball. which brings me to Edu.

    I love Edu but i think, right now, He’s almost the same player as Bradley. Now mind you I think in many Ways Edu is better then bradley but Torres is an out and out central attacking midfielder. He’s great in close quarters and has great vision. Edu is good but he’s not like Edu. So I don’t think you’ll get the same results as the second half with Edu. cause he’s not the same attacking presece centrally. it’s

    Donovan—-Torres/Fielhaber—Dempsey
    ————-Bradley/Edu———

    Now i know bradley plays the two central guys side by side. But still my way keeps Fielhaber where he’s had the most success and plays to his strength. And personally, aside from that ridiculous early giveaway i thought benny was very good, especially getting on the ball and moving it around in the first half. And most of it he had to tuck inside to do it. not surprising. But i don’t think he was taken off because he was bad. i think he was taken off because he wasn’t bad and Torres, needed to play, an Donovan, Dempsey and Holden were all going to be played wide. With four subs someone’s gotta come out. Consider this i don’t think Goodsen or Demeritt where particularly bad, though they had some communications issues as howard’s screaming showed. But one of them came out for Gooch. Clark is ok but to me he’s the third string defensive mid.

    Like

  • Eddie Lewis

    ” I also believe he might be the closest thing we have had to a freekick specialist since Joe-Max.”

    Eddie Lewis was better

    Like

  • D

    By higher than Egypy, you do realize you are talking about the 3 time defending Anfrican Cup champions, right?

    Like

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