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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. Realshaggy and goo,

    Isn’t that what Findley did? Come in at the second half and spark the team? What are you two bitching about?

  2. Torres made fine tackles in other appearances for USMNT – was it in the tie in El Salvador where he chased a guy to (our) corner, stole the ball from him, moved it upfield, which then led to a shot that tied the game lat sec?

    That was important for helping USMNT qualify first in the group.

    But definitely yesterday was a break-out performance for Torres, no question.

  3. Since his foot injury last winter Benny hasn’t been quite the same player, whether in the Danish league or for USMNT.

    Too bad, I like the guy, but don;t want him on the field at the Cup.

  4. Not playing Torres is clearly the higher risk option for USMNT.

    I give BB credit for finally getting it, and expect he will go with what works – and finally abandon what doesn’t work.

    Meaning 2 similar players side by side, whether MB and Clark or MB and Edu. RIP

  5. It felt like an eternity watching the Turks’ pass after one of the moves past Bornstein roll through the box…you sure it was only 15 minutes of torture?

  6. Is too.

    Watch the second half of yestedray’s game again and tell me who made more tackles in cm, who connected more passes, who blocked more shots even – answer is not MB.

    Nice kid, hard worker, but not as skilled as Torres, obviously.

  7. Like I said they play different (CM) positions and roles.

    1 has skill on the ball, can break up plays with tackles, and thread passes.

    MB…is the other guy. In the other CM position which could be rotated among MB, Edu and clark without a big dropoff in team performance, I suspect. As long as Torres is in the other CM slot.

    So yeah, Torres is obviously a more gifted player than MB. Grit and hustle is great; grit, hustle and skill is even better.

  8. Dear Nerraw,

    Thanks for the compliment.

    I suspect Torres would have adjusted a lot faster to playing with the USMNT if Bob had actually let Torres on the field for more than limited action here and there; and didn;t pull him every time someone else like his son screwed up eg the famous Costa Rica goal last summer.

    But anyway, now that you and Bob have got with the program, I need say no more.

  9. Torres’ creativity and skill, along with his solid D, was a refreshing site to the midfield after Clark looks lost game after game. I was surprised by Findley’s skill, I haven’t seen him much. As he matures and distributes the ball to the box sooner, he will wreak havoc on defenses.
    The defense has me a bit concerned, but after we start the starting 4 against Australia I’m sure it’ll be buttoned down. Bornstein is a mess and I hope they go with Demerit and Gooch in the middle, Carlos and Steve on the wings. That will really help with the counter attacks, having that skill on the wings can only help landon and clint find open space.

  10. exactly waht i’ve been saying since last summer whil otehrs always claimed ‘but coach knows best’

    My favorite excuse to keep Torres off the field – repeated multiple times on these boards just days ago – ‘but Torres is too skilled for USMNT.’

    Right, we’re better off playing worse players. makes sense. Check that, complete nonsense, as Torres play the other day showed.

  11. It was great to see Findley fulfilling the roll he was given; to stretch out the defense to allow Dempsey and Donovan more space to create. This worked at the Confed Cup with Davies and now Findley. I would like to see Buddle and Donovan interact as they do for the Galaxy and of course Gomez should be excellent when put with the “A” team, which he hasn’t experienced yet!.

    Spector was off his game. He did well in the Confed Cup with his long penetrating passed from the backline. Why he chose to make runs towards the box (and caught out once) I’m not sure. “Dolo proved, being one of the most experienced defenders on the pitch, that he deserves the right back spot.

    I do not thing Dempsey should be thrown up top, as shown in the Europa Cup, when put there, he is must less effective than on the wing.He is not the best crosser, BUT he and Donovan frequently switch side AND he is better making runs into the box.

    I’m still not totally convince that Altidore should be the default starting forward. True he is a handful, but he gave the ball away an awful lot. It may be just the cobwebs. His score was a gift (Donovan makes everyone look good)

    I almost PUKED when Bradly put Boo-Boo Bornstein in. WHY-OH_WHY does he torment us so. He is given that guy way more time than others more deserving. Look at the ratings from everybody and BBB is at the bottom…again. We are in serious trouble if Bradley has to use him against a good team.

    Turkey is a good team and Guus Hiddick is a great coach, so it’s a well taken win.

  12. Edu and Clark are no longer MB partners, they’re this backup.

    Torres owns the other CM spot; Holden and Feilhaber can be his back-up.

  13. Exactly re needing Torres ball handling vs England, without him on the field I don’ know when we will ever touch the ball against that line-up.

    no more redundant tackle-making but limited distribution skills. Pick 1 of MB, Edu, or Clark.

    Holden honsetly is probably best used as a second half sub for Torres or Dempsey’s wide mid spot, when he gets pushed up top late in the game if we need goal.

  14. Hey give him a break on the oil spill, BB and BP can be mixed up easily ; )

    But yeah BB (or BP?) better do a better job solving global warming then he did handling Torres through qualifying, or I won;t be impressed.

  15. Torres I expect draws interest from Italian Spanish, and French clubs after the cup.

    I’m not sure we USMNT fans want Torres absorbing clumsy leg-breaking EPL tackles.

  16. You don’t get it, it’s no longer a question of who is in CM with MB.

    The question now is who is in CM with El Gringo.

    We know who Daddy likes; for me I’m fine with Edu, MB or Rico alongside Torres.

    So I’d like the MB-Torres and Edu-Torres combos to get try-outs against Australia, though odds are it is MB & Torres at the Cup, with Edu as 1st CM sub off ht bench.

    I guess Torre subs are Holden and Feilhaber.

  17. ridiculous.

    your 2 best field players are Dempsey and Donovan, then there’s everybody else.

    Beasley is along for the ride as a tourist/senior citizen for this Cup, get used to it.

  18. Yeah he has, all season long for Pachuca where he often goes 90.

    The only question is why BB didm’t integrate Torres into the 1st 11 much sooner.

    It’s over re Torres or someone else, it’s only Torres now.

    Edu (and Rico) are back-ups to MB. Edu should come in at 45 minutes against Australia so Dempsey – Torres- Edu – Donovan can be tested.

    Feilhaber just became Torres’ backup, and doesn;t get on the field in SA unless Torres is hurting.

  19. Totally agree re Dempsey left and Donovan right, why BB had them reversed for much of the past year was always a mystery to me.

  20. wrong, Torres should start every game.

    Question to be answered is whether MB comes off for Edu at the half.

    And Clark stays on the bench in case either MB or Edu is hurt/gets cards.

  21. +1 for Edu and Torres for the start, MB as second half sub for Edu, Torres the full 90 to see if he can keep up that quality of play for a full game against a WC-caliber oppponent.

  22. Agree IF the Australia match bears that out. Still need to look at who comes if Bradley/Dempsey/Donavon/Altidore is out due to injury or cards.

  23. Okay, both of you guys are wrong just because Jozy did not score a lot at Hull does not mean he should sit on the bench and be a sub. In my opinion Jozy was like by himself at Hull up top. Did you see when Jozy did those simple step overs to throw the defenders off and flew by them. That was good. Jozy adds skill, technique, drawing fouls, athleticism, and he ADDS GOALS AT THIS TIME. That is what he adds at this time and what the U.S.A. need.

  24. Nerves were obvious factor in the first half. Torres help calm down things with short passes. Clark was looking for that long pass and we don’t have the strikers that can fight off defenders and win those long passes. Other then Bornstein’s play, I liked how skilled we were the second half.

  25. I would have liked to see Gomez start this match. Josy played the first half like he did early with Hull unlike toward the end of his EPL season he started using his body to sheild the ball and was a lot more dangerous. Bornstein has not had a good match for over a year. Only BB hasn’t noticed. The backline were ball watching when Spector attacked forward and we paid the price. Defensive mistakes like that cannot happen at that level.

  26. Yeah right, we need to play Beasley instead of Dempsey.

    1 sits on the bench in Scotland for whatever reason, one stars in England. In midfield.

    Great idea, I’m sure BB will take your advice.


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