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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. Holden doesn’t “deserve” to start. he’s better suited to coming off the bench at this point in his career.

    Torres, who should be in match shape, deserves a start. but if he can’t go 90, who will be in for the sub? Feilhaber? all other central mids are defensive. well, truth be told, I don’t know where Edu fits into that. sort of a midway between Clark and Torres.

  2. To those that still want to put Dempsey up top to start – yes, we know how that will work out. It won’t. Dempsey doesn’t want to be up there and therefore will be ineffectual. put him on the wing where there is less clutter and allows him to make diagonal runs against the d.


  3. You have to wonder why the outside backs have a challenging time? Perhaps jumping into an already fast pace game is hard enough, or that the fastest players are coming at you with two or three others pushing on your side when you are down a goal? I am sure the coaching staff is smart enough to have taken something away and make an adjustment when they put in a sub.

  4. It is difficult for anyone to jump into a race and pick up the pace in an instant. The coach needs to prepare all subs to be better prepared. JB was exposed more than anyone, and I am sure that he, and the coaching staff will make the appropriate adjustments (for all). This exposed a team weakness, and this should be helpful on June 12.

  5. Good points. However, entering a game like the way Turkey was playing was difficult for anyone, espeically at defense. It is a sign for the coach to prepare all players when entering to be prepared at that face pace. Turkey was moving well. Do you not agree?

  6. Yes, but Bornstein will review his actions, and make a change. As someone noted above, jumping in to a quick game is tough enough. Having to defend the fastest players warm, as Bornstein did is a note to the coach, and how he needs to prepare the team in these situations.

  7. Mr. Genius,

    You’re wrong.

    Pachuca also brought Torres along slowly. It’s only recently that Torres has really blossomed there and it’s still a cultural change for him every time he plays for the US. You forget how overwhelmed he was during his recent 45 minutes against Holland and they are much more like England than Turkey was. BB picked the right pace for Torres. Maybe you noticed he is going to South Africa as confident as he has ever been? Maybe you forgot who brought Torres to the USMNT in the first place, took him to South Africa and didn’t throw him to the wolves before he was ready? But maybe you think that is all a coincidence, eh compadre? If so, I’ve got some great houses in Miami to sell you.

  8. I love your post.

    Almost every other sentence contradicts what was said just before it.

    Childish and innocently stupid. God love you! Thanks for the entertainment! Keep it up!

  9. I saw the thread too, but you have to understand that the first half was absolutely dreadful, of course the blame is going to fall on Bob Bradley. Also, this win doesn’t mean that Bob is a great coach or whatever. It means the USA pulled together this game and got the win. But make no mistake, we come out with a half like that against England, and they will eat us alive, and then you’ll really see some Bradley head hunters. Also, I was one of these people who was livid at the sight of Findley on the roster. And just because he played well saturday, doesn’t mean that everyone like me was wrong. The pick of Findley was unjustified, seeing as he’d shown nothing this calendar year that would indicate he’s ready for the international level. In fact there were signs that he wasn’t ready even during his “good game” of saturday, evident by the times in which he simply ran out of bounds, showing that he still has yet to harness his speed. All in all, im so pleased with the match, but just as the first half doesn’t give the license for people to say that Bob Bradley is a terrible coach, the second half doesn’t give fans license to say he’s been vindicated either, as there are still glaring issues with the team. Good win

  10. Findley did play well, but I think you’re giving him to much of a cop out for the Netherlands game. Simply put, he’s been awful for the USA before this game. Glad he showed that he actually belonged.

  11. right here… Findley looked awful against the Dutch. He has played terrible, save his last game this season. Why would anybody who just watches games think anything better.

    But… We’re going to the WC now… We’ve got our team. I will root for whoever’s on the field but will crucify them if they screw up. Hey that’s the beauty of being a fan 🙂

  12. I agree, but partially. I say bring in Edu once we are up 2-0. Then park the bus. Why start a game with a defensive mentality when we have the players capable of an early goal?

    The only way I’d start Edu (or Clark) with MB is if we no we are out classed and are playing for a tie. If we try that against England, though, we will get beaten.

    Torres gives us possession and composure in the middle that have been lacking for years (i.e. since Reyna)

  13. btw… Dempsey regularly subbed in as a FORWARD for Fulham… Especially in the Europa league (Think the goal against Juve). That being said he is a great passer and has a level head on the ball. Either way Dempsey seems to have a knack for getting in there and getting shots on frame. He’s the game changer.

  14. he he… “surprisingly decent” … well put. Glad to see he was playing in form. That’s forwards for you. They’re all streaky. (unless named McBride)

  15. I feel vindicated by all these comments. I have been screaming for Torres inclusion into the team for the past year.

    The US will benefit from his experience this past year with Pachuca. We should be asking, who is going to partner Torres in the midfield? He is the midfield quarterback we have been longing.

  16. more like dave from outer space because this lineup is way way out there man.

    Goodson isn’t ready for center back in the world cup, he has no experience there and showed that against turkey.

    You will never see Altidore and Buddle start next to each other because they are both target forwards. You can’t play with two target forwards because you have no one who can move off the ball to receive it and you can’t stretch the defense.

    The back line minus Goodson and add Demerrit looks solid, and I couldn’t agree with you more on the midfield although i would like to see what Edu can do in place of bradley if anything maybe his head won’t cast a glare and blind me while i’m watching the game like Bradley’s ugly bald head does.

  17. Are you kidding me? Do you know anyting about soccer? Why would you put your holding midfielder(bradley) in an attacking postion and you attacking and better possesing midfielder(Torres) in a defensive mid role? You have them playing in essense a 4-5-1. This is the same formation Bruce Arena played in the 06 world cup and scored 1 goal. You must not know much about formations or positions. European teams use the 4-5-1 on away games in por conditions to try and eek out a tie.

  18. I’m curious why you think that Bradley is better than Edu? I would summize that the mere fact that one plays for the Rangers and the other a low level german squad, Edu is the more talented back. You can always tell the caliber of a player by where they play their club ball. It is like that even in youth soccer.

    Bradley is the typical american soccer player: lots of heart and hustle, but doesn’t understand the “whole” game. Just replay that match and watch him chase the ball from player to player like a dog chasing cars on a two way street. He passes to the first open player he sees and doesn’t think two passes ahead. Remember this is a guy that wasn’t good enough to make the world cup squad 4 years ago but when his dad took over he became a starter?

    Edu is more physical, more athletic and has better vision. He is a true defensive midfielder.

    Also curious why you think cherrundolo is too small for right back. Have you heard of Philip Lahm for Germany. Their stud right fulback? He’s 5’7 and crosses the heck out of the ball. Dolo is 5’6. Dude he’s not too small. He’s what you call a wing back.

  19. Couldn’t agree with you more. Dempsey does most of his damage at outside mid. He is very comfortable there and moves well off the ball from that position.

    He and Altidore are just not fast enough and do not work well with each other up top.

    Altidore did not have the greatest game. Except for the move he had in the box that sent a cross just past a sliding Dempsey he was reletively quiet all the while showing some poor touch on the ball.

    I would be interested in seeing Buddle up top with Findley. Buddle has the advantage of a good repore with Donovan and therefore and advantage in my book. Findley is a MUST start for me. His speed is far to valuable to bring him off the bench.

    I really liked the 2nd half team minus of course Bornstein and would like to see what Beasley can do with his speed. 2 speedy outside mids cause a lot of trouble for defenses, couple that with a speedy forward and you can wear a defense out in a half.

    I am very encouraged by the 2nd half team, and if Bob Bradley is worth anything, the starting squad against england will mirror that of the 2nd half turkey game rather than the first.

    Send ricardo clark home, Torres is the real deal that is why he is successful in the mexican first divisions best team Pachuca.(by the way they qualified for the fifa club world cup).

  20. This lineup does not utilize the strength of certain players.

    I like Altidore up top, but not with Dempsey. You have basically two target guys here and no speed to stretch the defense as we saw in the first half of the turkey game. Move Dempsey to his normal spot at left mid and put donovan at right. Then start findley up top with altidore. Now you have a target man and speed guy. This is a combination you see time and time again with success all throughout the world. Dempsey playes much better in the normal role he plays at Fulham.

    I do like the back line though.

  21. Any decent coach can see playing two defensive midfielders at the same time doesn’t work. It may have worked in confederations cup for some mystical reason( mind you it didn’t pay off in the end), but the key to a strong defense is a strong offense than can possess the ball. Torres brings a level of possesion and creativity that Clark and Bradley lack. In fact, Bradley and Clark arn’t even the 2 best defensive midfielders. Edu is a very strong defensive mid and has proven he can score as well. But you will never see Edu and Torres on the field at the same time during the world cup and that is a crime. Bradley should care more about the team and who they represent than his bald headed freak of a son what he thinks he brings to this team.

    Findley was solid and i’m glad to see him take his game to the level i think he can play at. His speed was a huge factor in the second half.

    Two observations: Why is ricardo clark on the squad again when he brings nothing to the table and the U.S. 2nd half team remined me of how they played when the speed of Davies was present.

  22. ok, my bad. please accept my apologies.

    But for me I’m still not convinced, Holden over DMB these days I’d say.

  23. that’s not a big question, Dolo’s won the rb job back.

    And Spector’s won a seat on the bench to get his head straight – hopefully before he gets called into action.

  24. I agree MB and Rico conceded the central midfield to Turkey in the 1st half, were way off the ball and chasing the play much of the time.

  25. I’m not a hater, I just get frustrated with the slow learning.

    Great, he’s learned Torres is a difference-maker, and bravo to him on Findley’s good half.

    Only took a year to get Torres on the field – maybe it’s Paco growing up, and maybe he should have had more opportunities to get used to USMNT play.

    Was same story last summer with Charlie Davies, who only got on the field when Ching was injured; while it was obvious even a year ago that Ching wasn’t up to the challenge of facing Brazil, Italy and Spain.

    Anyway, better late than never; and if BB is learning new tricks for in-game adjustments great.

    Now if BB’d only learn there’s never a place for Bornstein on the field we’d all be happy.

  26. Right, gringo wasn’t good enough to get off the bench for usmnt even though he clearly has better technical skills than anyone else in the pool.

    Learning to play with MB was key, so good for us they were on same page in 2nd half.


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