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United States battles back, tops Turkey 2-1

DempseyTurkey (JohnToddISI)

Photo by John Todd/



PHILADELPHIA- If the U.S. men's national team was looking for a challenge in its send-off series finale against Turkey, it got just that as it had to rattle off a shaky start to post a 2-1 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey scored second-half goals off Landon Donovan assists, erasing a 1-0 deficit after Arda Turan netted on a counterattack in the 27th minute.

"In terms of what you want out of a send-off game, I think today was very good," said head coach Bob Bradley. "There's a lot of things on the field to build on. A real good push when we got behind. And at the end, a good hard fought win against a good team. In that regard, it accomplished a lot today."

The United States started the match slowly and found itself on its heels for much of the first half. Turkey did not enjoy much of the possession, but combined creative passing with quick counters to create its chances.

After missing several opportunities to score, Turkey took a deserved lead just before the half hour mark. Jonathan Spector lost possession near the Turks' penalty area, which allowed the visitors to attack on a quick counterattack. With no one covering for Spector, Colin Kazim-Richards played a ball to Turan on the left flank. Turan raced towards goal and slotted his shot past Tim Howard for the lead.

"When we were trying to attack certain spots and the ball turned over, they were quick to take advantage of it," said Bradley. "Counters come two ways. They come when you think there is an advantage and you're trying to press it forward, which is an important part of the game. And it comes when the reactions after the ball turns over aren't what they need to be."

The Americans did not muster a shot on goal in the first half, but the sluggish attack received a boost at halftime when Robbie Findley and Jose Torres were subbed in. Both players allowed the United States to become more dynamic on offense, and the result was a Jozy Altidore equalizer in the 58th minute.

Altidore scored when Findley played a beautifully-floated ball to Donovan, who took a deft first touch to round goalkeeper Volkan Demirel before playing the ball across the middle. Altidore got on the end of the pass and tapped in easily from close range.

"I think (Donovan) could have put the ball in himself, but he was aware that Jozy was in there and it was an easy tap in," said Findley.

The United States took the lead 14 minutes from time, as Dempsey received a Donovan pass, muscled off a defender and finished from close range with a shot that went between Demirel's legs. The goal was Dempsey's 18th for the national team.

"I got a little bit lucky," said Dempsey. "I knew it was going to be a 50-50 challenge with the defender so I didn't want to go in too hard because I didn't want to kick the ball away from me or let the goalie pick up, so I tried to absorb the hit and I was able to get a good bounce."

The United States almost built on its lead, but shots from Torres and Dempsey banged off the right post. The 2-1 lead would hold regardless, and the Americans will now look to carry over the momentum from the win to South Africa.


What did you think of the United States' 2-1 win? Who impressed you? Who are you concerned by?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t think that Demps is a bad defender, I just don’t think he tracks back as well as he may need to against England. We all know that Boca is a solid defender, but not the fastest and Demps is a top-level Middie, but he is not necessarily the most defensive minded. Just think we might need someone a little quicker. (Beasley…maybe as a second half-sub if the Left side is getting blasted.)

  2. We just need one def mid in front of the backs. Edu would be good but bradley would do better. He needs to concentrate on def and distributing the ball to others which he is pretty good at. Cherrundalo is too small to play at the back for the U.S. Maybe slot him in between the mids and backs, but not too shure.

    Joe in houston

    p.s. I told u so about ching not making the cut.

  3. That’s where you wrong we can’t go into a game looking to adjust to the other team or play there game. If torres is the best option to start then let him start as the game progesses that’s when you make the nessary adjustments. Plus england are terrible at handling player with good technical ability without foul and getting in trouble. There game against mexico proved to me that torres can be out ace in that game.

  4. A much more positive display from Gooch. He looked aggressive and confident challenging for balls. Clearly, our defense was better with him in the lineup. He proved last night that he deserves to be in the starting lineup against England.

  5. It would almost be worth it to have Charlie on the roster just to see what kind of post you would have put up when he played.

  6. I don’t think JB belongs on the World Cup roster.

    However, treating DMB and treating JB the same way seems foolish to me.

    They are completely different players who are at completely different points in their careers. DMB is a much decorated vet who pretty much knows what he is and what he has to do to get where he wants to go. JB is still a work in progress and probably has nowhere near DMB’s confidence.

    I realize you are a fan and fans have that coliseum mentality where player mistakes should be treated by being fed to the lions but good managers, and Bradley appears to be a good one, make their living trying to get the best out of people. And throwing them immediately to the wolves or lions is not productive. It may be satisfying to you but it’s not productive.

    I don’t know what the particulars are with JB, why Bradley persists with him, but I have to believe he has powerful reasons for doing so. Bradley seems like a nice enough guy but, given how many of his “boys” were cut from the team, it’s clear to me he won’t let emotions or sentiment get in the way of doing his job. People run down his resume but you don’t get to where he is without being ruthless.

    I’m almost positive that if he thought he had a better alternative to JB that guy would be on a plane to SA right now and JB would be back with Chivas.

  7. Mingial

    I like you lineup to use against England with a few changers. Move Dempsey into the center and give him a little freedom to roam and put either Holden or Benny F on he left side. Move Edu into Torres’ spot. The reason being that Torres is WAY more effective when the game gets stretched out. Edu, while I am not sold on him, can plug the necessary gaps that we need until the game opens up, if it ever does. Torres should enter the game at halftime as he did yesterday.

  8. The midfield is still not determined. Torres for the first time with the USA (including against Costa Rica) played like he was comfortable with his teammates and adapted to the style that was expected of him. He is able to make great passes and he is never dispossessed, now he is doing some of the tough work by tackling well and positioning that compliments his teammates. Those last 2 things are important mental issues and if that continues, he will start. Edu, Clark, Feilhaver and Holden are great players, but they may have a hard time unless Dempsey starts up top, something Findley made less likely.

  9. The attacking options look great. Right now I would start Findley up top with Altidore, keep Dempsey on the left and move him up when you sub Findley in the 2nd half. Our defense looks shakey, Cherundolo should definitely start on the right. Spector looks confused and has shown zero passion or emotion. Why is Bornstein on this team? If he plays we will surely lose.!/pages/Cut-Jonathan-Bornstein-from-the-US-Soccer-team/121385794567628

    Copy and paste the link to join the Cut Jonathan Bornstein from the US Soccer team club.

  10. I’ll do you one better:

    ———-torres (edu)——-
    boca onyewu demerit cherundolo

    subs (gomez for jozy, findley for torres/edu)

  11. Dear Genius,

    It has taken some time for Torres to adapt to the US style.

    Here’s what he says about it:

    “Torres is making plenty of defensive improvements, though. He told me after the game that he has spent time watching the way Bradley moves in the midfield to win balls and make tackles. Torres also admitted that while every player has to adjust when moving from his club to the national team, he has to adapt more than most to Bradley’s preferred style when he leaves Pachuca, his Mexican League team.

    “The pace of the game is always quicker, faster,” Torres said. “So when I come in, in two or three days I’ve got to be right on target. I have to be fast on the ball, get the ball moving and make tackles. But I’m starting to get the rhythm of the game. Today Bob told me I did great on closing gaps and moving the ball.”

    Clark and for that matter most of the team are rusty.

  12. Agreeing with Lalas severely impacts your credibility on anything related to soccer.

    This was, after all, an exhibition game and allowed Bradley to experiment. After the first half he could see what needed to be done and did it.

    As for Findley benefiting from a better formation isn’t that what you are supposed to do? Put players in formations that give them a chance to succeed? You would prefer to play him in a formation that does not suit him? Are you nuts?

    The USMNT can only play a limited number of formations because of the talent avaiable and the limited amount of time they have together. Bob isn’t playing fantasy football here, he’s trying to win games.

  13. Like Dave W said, being a DM for Pachuca is not the same as being a DM for the USMNT. If you don’t believe me, read what JFT himself said to Grant Wahl:

    The player who benefited the most from this game was Torres, the 22-year-old Texan who came on at halftime for a struggling Ricardo Clark and made a major impact, not just by connecting on his passes (we knew he could do that) but also by showing some bite in the tackle.

    “Jose found a very good way when we were trying to push the game of finding spots and getting the ball moving,” said U.S. coach Bob Bradley. “When you’re behind, we’re pushing Michael [Bradley] to be more active and more mobile, and the understanding between the two was good. I thought Jose really played well. He was sharp, found the right people and covered all the holes very well.’

    Whether Torres earned a starting spot in the central midfield in this game remains to be seen. He might have moved ahead of Clark in the pecking order after Clark had problems completing passes and keeping up with a marauding Turkish attack in the first half. Yet I still think Maurice Edu probably has the inside track to starting next to Bradley against England, not least because he’s a stronger defender than Torres.

    Torres is making plenty of defensive improvements, though. He told me after the game that he has spent time watching the way Bradley moves in the midfield to win balls and make tackles. Torres also admitted that while every player has to adjust when moving from his club to the national team, he has to adapt more than most to Bradley’s preferred style when he leaves Pachuca, his Mexican League team.

    “The pace of the game is always quicker, faster,” Torres said. “So when I come in, in two or three days I’ve got to be right on target. I have to be fast on the ball, get the ball moving and make tackles. But I’m starting to get the rhythm of the game. Today Bob told me I did great on closing gaps and moving the ball.”

    If Torres is now angling for a starting spot, the biggest surprise of this game was Findley, the 24-year-old Real Salt Lake forward who was an unexpected choice by Bradley to make the final 23-man roster on Wednesday. Although Findley hasn’t been as good in MLS this season as he was in his breakthrough 2009, he showed a confidence on Saturday that was missing in his last U.S. game at the Netherlands on March 3.

    Findley made Bradley look smart after coming on as a second-half sub. Not only did he produce some darting runs to create space in the attacking third, but Findley also pulled off a stunning pass that keyed the first U.S. goal. Receiving a long ball out of the back from defender Jay DeMerit, Findley could have just tried to run through or past his defender toward the Turkish goal. But sometimes the key to success at the international level is knowing when to pause for a breath, and Findley did just that, stopping on a dime to loft a delicate chip that found the foot of Donovan.

    Donovan would go on to finish the lovely attacking movement by laying off to Jozy Altidore for the goal, but it was Findley’s vision that stood out the most. Even Donovan acknowledged that he hadn’t seen anything like it before from Findley in MLS. “Not really, but he’s clearly capable of it,” Donovan said of Findley. “He’s a smart player, and he understands the game. His strengths are running at people and in front of the goal, but if he can do that, that’s going to help us a lot.”

    As for Donovan, he played almost the entire game on the right side of midfield, a switch from his usual left-sided position for the U.S. but very much in line with the role he had on the right flank for Everton in the spring. Perhaps the biggest highlight of Donovan’s 10-week stint at Everton was the day he outplayed England left back Ashley Cole in a victory over Chelsea, and now that match-up seems like a possibility again with Donovan moving to the right.

    “When he’s on the right, I speak to him now in terms of Everton,” said U.S. (and Everton) goalkeeper Tim Howard. “Like today we walked out, I said, ‘Remember how we do it at Everton. Track the runner, or go heavy inside and let Jonathan [Spector] take the runner.’ Today his touches were really good. He skinned a few guys down the right side. He was running at people making them backpedal, and it was really fun to watch.”

    Not that it was a perfect day for Donovan. He had a more prominent role in the second half, assisting on both U.S. goals, but his first half was tougher, including his role in the team defensive breakdown that led to Arda Turan’s counter-attack goal for Turkey.

    In that case, right back Jonathan Spector made a run upfield, only to lose the ball with nobody from the U.S. covering the empty space he had left behind. Donovan and Clark should have done more to provide cover but didn’t get back in time to keep with the streaking Arda.

    “Jonathan had made the run, the ball came loose, it got played up and we actually put a little bit of initial pressure on,” said Bob Bradley. “[Center back Clarence] Goodson pushed pretty high to try to shut things down. But the next level of reactions weren’t that good, and they were able to play the ball down the left side and create that opening.”

    “It’s about a team reaction when the ball turns over. You want the initial pressure to give everybody else an idea of what they need to do. In some cases the next guy can join in and maybe it can be taken care of right there. In other cases, it’s a regrouping behind the ball. I just think in that particular case that we were sort of caught half-and-half and didn’t do a good enough job.”

    It was hardly the only time Spector ran into trouble on the defensive end on a day when Arda beat him several times. You can be sure that England coach Fabio Capello will take note of this game when he considers how to deploy his speedy wingers Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon. In fact, Spector’s struggles may have opened the door for a potential switch to right back Steve Cherundolo, who had a solid second half.

    Still, the U.S. showed some grit in a second-half comeback that was in some ways the opposite of what often happened in 2009, when the Yanks fell apart in the second halves and lost leads (and games) against Brazil, Italy and Mexico. This Turkey team was a tough opponent, and the lessons of the U.S.’s final domestic game before the World Cup were readily apparent.

    “When you go into a tournament like this, the urgency is very apparent,” said Donovan. “Every game, every goal, every minute is magnified and very important. And so at the end of all this, to know we can be down against a good team and have the ability in a really intelligent way to push the game and make it faster and be more aggressive without giving up things at the back was really good for us.”

  14. They are all the same to people like Big Phil. He doesn’t know the difference.

    By the way those two are Americans.

  15. I like this team. They showed composure and resolve yesterday to come back against a strong Turkish side. It’s a good sign that we can make halftime adjustments and come out looking stronger. Yesterday it was Clark looking shaky in the midfield, and Torres came in and helped lift the team. However, it may be Torres who stumbles in form in a future match, and Clark that comes in to add a spark…point being, it’s nice that we can show some depth when the mix on the field is right.

    I was also pleasantly suprised by Findlay, especially given some of his recent MNT performances. However, I think the thing we all lose sight of sometimes is that when the MNT comes out with a predominantly 2nd team, as in some of our recent matches, sometimes guys can look less talented than they are because they don’t have the necessary talent surrounding them. Findlay looked much better yesterday playing with a stronger mix of guys on the field. As I’ve heard said in the past, sometimes the best “team” isn’t the most talented 11 players…

  16. We did learn a few things going into the next game…

    Bornstein gets burned more than an albino at the beach…

    Spector is at best a back up to Dolo…

    Clark may be our weakest defensive midfielder… (I think he was the real cause of the break away goal – did nothing to cover Spector)

    Gooch MAY be recovering…

    Feilhaber was lost even when found…

    Torres is better than all of us thought…

    Dempsey is better when withdrawn…

    Donovan may be our best field player…

    Jozy got better when Findley came on to open up the field…

    Speed does matter – Findley did a great job even when he retreated…

    Shockingly our defense is our weakest part.

    I still think we may not make it out of the first round.

  17. Torres is a gangster with the ball at his feet. He has silky smooth skill, confidence, and cleverness that is sorely lacking in our offense.

    Findley really impressed. He showed clever dribbling in taking on his defender.

    That 2nd half offensive shoot start vs England. They downed an in form Turkey in 45 minutes.

    Most of all, Donovan shines when the US plays fast, and having both MB and RC at midfield and non-speedster Dempsey up top results in slow, play that leaves Landon getting the ball at a standstill and marked instead of on the break.

  18. Did you watch the Czech game? Pearce had a wide open opportunity to go to South Africa and take Johnny B’s spot, but he blew it. He was worse than Bornstein.

  19. The second half Starting team is the one we should have on the field on 6/12. Bornstein SHOULD NEVER BE PLACED ON THE FIELD. He demonstrated AGAIN that he doen’t belong to a WC team and Bradley AGAIN couldn’t resist with putting his Adopted/second son on the field because he had to for some REASON. When is he going to learn? I hope Bornstein’s 2 let downs on the left in his only 15 minutes of play was good enough. We shall see but I won’t put money on it knowing Bradley and his mysterious connection with Bornstein!?

  20. Wow, not sure how you jumped to that conclusion from my response. I think Jeremy Schapp’s (spelling?) question was a baiting type question to see if Dempsey might criticize one of the players that had been substituted. I am a little more cynical when it comes to the likes of Schapp. Not sure what my response has to do with Findlay.

    Torres did change the game for the better. Findley’s ball over the top to Donovan was sublime. On the other hand, and up to this point I hadn’t criticized Findley, he did have several touches that took the ball out of play. Including when he could have made a very simple play back to Donovan.

    I have been one of the biggest Bob Bradley’s supporter’s on here and I defy you to find posts where that hasn’t been the case.

    Did you not have enough balls to come out and support MichaelVick and didn’t want to go full retard with your name?

  21. Oh please….

    “62nd min* failed to outjump Kazim who is about 5 inches his junior”

    61:25 – He leaps up in clear space and puts a strong header up the field to Altidore. Altidore loses the ball
    61:44 – He slides to block a shot.

    Perhaps you were thinking of the corner at 60:13?

    “77th min* loses his mark after a high lob pass is played over him that was met with Howard coming out of the box to head, of which he was unable to make any effort to catch up with the play.”

    77:40? First, they were playing a high trap. Second, that man came through DeMerrit’s zone. Third, Gooch was hanging back to clear the ball had it popped forward. As it was, Howard headed it wide, where it was collected by a Turk. That Turk had Gooch in front of him.

    You’re really grasping at straws here, but that’s you’re prerogative.

  22. Thank you Birchman.

    And Marcus, you’ve made a lot of assumptions about my comment. I do not want to withhold credit from BB on the decisions he made — I do give him credit for bringing in Findley. Findley did well no doubt. Torres did also. I’m happy with both of them. I don’t think anyone’s out to deny Findley his just due, though.

  23. Probably agreeing with the rest of you, but here are my thoughts after just watching the game (thank God for DVR).
    — Bob deserves props. Seriously. He brought in Findley and everyone thought he was crazy. Not saying Findley dominated today, but he did look better than anyone could have expected based on his MLS form recently. And the 2nd half subs (other than Bornstein), were great choices.
    — Speaking of Findley, his chip to Lando was excellent. Now he’s just gotta realize where the touch-line is and we’ll be getting somewhere.
    — Rico looked out of his element. Played ok, but not what he’s capable of. With everyone else stepping their game up (Holden, JFT, Edu), not a good time to be figuring things out.
    — Jozy played well, his finish was confident and his move to beat the defender and slide the ball across the six yard box was class. The only thing I wasn’t impressed with was how much he fell down. He’s a big dude, throw it around a little bit.
    — Somehow, in 15 minutes Bornstein managed to get torched on D, and NOT chase down a great ball from Torres on the wing going forward. He is #23 out of 23.
    — Finally, Jose Torres FTW! That was what we’ve all been waiting for. It’s still a little early to say he should be permanently starting (still think Edu would be better vs. England), or calling him the next Reyna/Xavi/etc. But damn, dude looked GOOD. It was awesome to see the US squad play controlled, composed soccer. That said, John Harkes definitely loves him some Jose Torres. It’s bordering on a man-crush.

  24. What he said x2. We can’t look back at this point. Nonetheless, Pearce brought a phsyicality and forward presence that Johnny doesn’t have. While neither would likely see the field, insurance, as we’ve seen in the markets, goes a long way to calm fears.

  25. yea i like that. i thought dempsey would have done much better at forward with the way we possessed in the second half. he really just didn’t get the ball much in the first half since we didn’t possess it at all. i like this cause i just want to see holden on the field, he is class. findley would be a good sub with that lighting speed. he changed my mind about him today. i’m not suprised about torres though, i thought bradley should have put his trust in him ages ago. once we get our back line fully healthy and all working together, we are going to be a force to be reckoned with in SA

  26. that second half performance has me feeling better than I ever have about US soccer. we looked elite today. i think we should not be looking to settle for a draw against England, if we can keep up the momentum from that performance today, we should be looking to win our group. i have never seen us possess the ball(thanks almost entirely to Torres) and create so many dangerous chances as we did today. if Torres doesn’t start in SA i will be supremely disappointed. i re-watched the game, and i counted it, he only lost the ball twice, out of about 20. and he has improved monumentally defensively. incredible

  27. Dempsey drove me crazy in the first half. Touch was terrible. What he was good at was getting knocked down. He improved with the team in the second half — and he got knocked down over and over again. I wish the ref had called one or two of them. I mean, Dempsey knows how to dive, but he was getting run over.

  28. i really hope bornstein and spector don’t see playing time in s.a. they were TERRIBLE. findley for ching…who’s ching and who wants to play ‘holding ball’. f that. findley was the right pick. second half team starts against england and they have a chance. and play landicakes on the wing.

  29. Edu should get minutes in place of MB against Australia.

    Ie start Torres-MB at CM, then bring on Edu for MB and see how he combines with Torres.

    In case of injury to MB that’s our center pairing.

  30. I think our biggest question now is whether to start Spector or Cherundolo at right back. Spector didn’t have a good game today, but I feel like he has more to bring to the team. And after these last two friendlies, I could actually imagine us playing two natural forwards. Bob Bradley’s done a good job picking the team. I think I’d still start Dempsey up top though to allow Stuart Holden to get on the field.

  31. Clark’s fine as an MB back-up.

    Torres is literally in another league and different position than those 2.

    Edu’ a little in between, solid d with a touch more passing skill than MB or Clark.

  32. Tad harsh? no way was bornstein better than spector, in 15 minutes he didn;t just embarrass himself, he’s an embarrassment to the sport.

    You got beat, badly, by your own goal – so what do you do?

    pout? stop running? (Bornsetin’s answer today)

    Or run as hard as you can and hope to somehow disrupt the shooter? (Dolo, Boca, Spector and day)

  33. good point, we don’t know how Dempsey up top works with decent possession.

    We just know that Clark and MB shouldn;t be playing together, just as some of us have been saying for oh a year now.

    BB isn’t the brightest bulb on the block in spite of the Princeton pedigree, at least when it comes to recognizing the glaringly obvious.

    Like Torres starting CM. Duh.

  34. His exact quote — “not saying this is definitely what happened, but it’s plausible.”

    You, in your infinite wisdom, respond, “just because it’s plausible, doesn’t mean it’s true.” Which is damn near plagiarism.

    And Torres made the difference, point blank. Findley’s speed cause problems and he was most definitely the most confident he’s been on the ball, but Dempsey was most certainly praising Findley so as not to say something that could be considered a backhanded/disrespectful comment towards Rico Clark.

  35. Did you see him with Everton? He was praised for his ability to track back and win balls in support of Neville. His work-rate and box-to-box mentality is what won over fans in England.

  36. The 2nd half US team was much better then the first half. Torres was awesome. Findley was suprisingly decent as well. Bornstein at Left back is a nightmare. I have nwever seen someone slip and fall so much, and get completely faked out of his shoes. Please Bocanegra be completely healthy! I would rather see Spector at left back than Bornstein!


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