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USA 2, Turkey 1: Match Highlights


  1. The worst part about Chandler’s giveaway is that, on top of being stripped of possession, he then leaves his man in the box to cover the middle (where there is plenty of help), which left Guzan completely out to dry. If he stays with his man, Guzan stands him up and Chandler has a better than even chance to strip him of the ball in the box – preventing the goal. The giveaway was bad but the attempt at recovery was probably worse. I saw Brooks do something similar earlier in the half.

  2. It really doesnt matter what the back four is, if we don’t fix the holes in the midfield. We attacked well but we gave up too many chances.

  3. The Ghana game is getting it’s due attention, but the buildup/the hype seems to be heading to the logical conclusion. The US will sadly not grab 3 points from that match.

    Re-watching the previous instances that these two teams have played they games have been mostly even, if not for a few fortuitous bounces and calls here and there (but you can say that about most games at the international level). I would LOVE for the US to win this game, and think they can/should (yes I do believe LD would be a nice guy to have for this if nothing for the fact that after two WC knockouts, he’d love to add some retribution to Ghana of his own. Alas that is not meant to be).

    In all likelyhood, we should expect a score line of 1-1. Our Defense does not appear sound enough to allow for Tim to keep a clean sheet in this group. We as fans need to go into every game with the mindset that the USMNT will need at least 2 Goals to have a chance at any victory. Against all of these opponents, the longer these matches continue with any of our group G foes having only 1 goal against team USA, the better.

    Mark my words, if team USA is to advance we will need at least one game with 2 goals scored. If our boys can give us two such games our odds increase tenfold.
    That’s the honest truth when it comes to our group.

    Do you think that USA can/will get 2 goals against Ghana, or Portugal, or Germany? Use that as your litmus when making prognostications for group G.

    • The U.S. are getting out of the group, bonehead!!!!!!! You got it!!!!! 3-1 US over Ghana and a 2-1 over (overrated) Portugal and fruitcake Ronaldo.

  4. Play Bessler at LB and use Brooks and Cameron as CB. Play Bradley as holding mid with J.Jones tight on right(can mark as well) and Davis(not a fan but understand need for set pieces) looser on left. Demsey as AM and Johansen and Altidore up top. We are not far, just need tiny adjustments

    • If you are going to tinker with the back 4 it absolutely has to be Fabian-Besler-Omar-Cameron. The weakest link is Chandler and he has to go. Cam hasn’t shown himself to be that much of an upgrade over Omar (if Omar is healthy) but he would be a huge upgrade over Chandler. Fabian can play either back position.

      • Here’s the thing on Omar vs Chandler: They both seem to be good for a brainfart or two a game. Where do you want that brainfart to occur on the pitch?

      • seems like a bit of hyperbole. Chandler had two bad plays in the second half but the guy did well the rest of the game. most interceptions of any player and essentially had the assist on Dempsey’s goal. showed great recovery speed too. no one is a huge upgrade over Chandler, period. given the importance of our CBs, i’d stick with Cam/Besler without question.

      • To answer my own question, I’d rather have the brainfarts be farther from the goal. If a CB brainfarts, it’s pretty much an OGSO, whereas if a FB does the same, there might be cover.

      • Mason–
        I don’t see anything wrong with your logic. But it also wouldn’t shock me if you reversed your thinking by breakfast 🙂 It’s ok. Only an insane person would think we stand a chance with the unproven talent we have cobbled together.

        So be insane–because it would hardly be the first time this worked out somehow for our guys at the back. They just have to do what the other guys in the past have done and play like ‘roided up warrior poets. Simple.

        In my head, I think our ultimate back four would be some combination of Eddie Pope, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay Demerit, and Ric Flair. Just trust me—it would work.

  5. Maybe i am the only one, but all the “better teams will not waste those chances” comments dont ring true. Good teams/players miss chances all the time. The best take advantage more than the rest, but plenty of great teams have and will lose games because they miss chances. They are called chances for a reason. Not certainties.

    You could just have easily said, the US’s goal wont be called back, dempsey wont normally fail to convert a breakaway, etc…….

    I am not blind to the reality, but i am not a slave to the rankings either. The US will play well in Brazil. Good enough to move on? Dont know. But, it wont be bunker ball, and we are closer now to competing for semifinals etc, than we were 12 years ago, than 8 years ago, and than 4 years ago. So i am going to enjoy the games.

    • Some teams are better at finding the right killer pass in the final third or being clinical with their chances in the 18.

      I think it’s fair to say that good defensive pressure plays a role too. We were constantly in great positions to block shots on goal.

  6. Donovan was unbelievable in last summer’s Gold Cup and, prior to that in the LA’s last MLS Cup run playing alongside Beckham and Keane. But I haven’t seen that player since (and I’m a Landon fan). This is the World Cup! It comes along every four years and instead of backing our team and our coach, we’re disparaging both the coach and individual players before they’ve even boarded the plane!! We’re facing arguably the toughest road through to the 2nd round of any team in the competition so the naysayers will have plenty of opportunities to play armchair quarterback in a few weeks time but, until then just as in politics, I would argue that disagreements end at the water’s edge and we back the entire squad 100%.

    • Landon Donovan may not be the player he was a a few years ago, but he’s pretty damn good (three goals in last 2 games) and better I would argue than most of the players on the US team – which is who he should be competing with not Landon of the past.
      Jurgen Klinnsman has treated him poorly and has been extremely dishonest and disingenuous in the process — and it’s not just Donovan he has treated this way. He has played mind games with Bradley (leaving him off the team at the beginning of his tenure) and other stalwart US players such as Goodson and Parkhurst. He clearly prefers German-born players to American players, even bringing in Chandler at the last minute who abandoned US in qualifiers, and had a bad game defensively against Turkey. If these players were all clearly the most talented I would understand. I have no problem with Fabian Johnson who has been dedicated to the team and played in all the qualifiers. But Green, really?
      So I am not going to forget and move on because Klinnsman is a liar and has disrespected US soccer and many US soccer fans. I will root for the players, but I will never root for this coach, who’s ego gets in the way of everything. So I find myself wanting to root for the team, but then wondering if they get out of the group does that mean we’re stuck with Klinnsman for four more years? The guy has basically tainted the world cup for me and a lot of other loyal US fans. I support the players. Not the coach.

      • You certainly have a right to an opinion, but you also need to look at the facts when forming one. JK left off Bradley when he wasn’t playing on loan for Villa. He left him off one team, I believe, and that’s it. Parkhurst has never been a “stalwart” for the US. Remember, he just came off a year with Augsburg where he played exactly twice. With a straight face, you can’t say that Chandler isn’t better than Parkhurst – he’s faster, younger, and stronger (but you can say that about Yedlin). Donovan scored 3 goals in 2 games – two agains the Union, the most pitiful defense in the league. Finally, you can’t lambast Chandler for not abandoning the US during qualifiers (which he didn’t do, of course – he was hurt) without mentioning that Donovan actually DID abandon the team.

      • So you “want to root for the team, BUT…” Seriously?? I’m sure whichever subset of American players, er stalwarts, that you feel deserving to be there truly appreciate your luke warm and oh so nuanced support. As conflicted as I was about Landon’s exclusion from the 23 man roster, I’m beginning to think it was the best move Jurgen could have made for a player who, at best would have been coming off the bench (unless, of course he was in your starting 11). No complaints about Aron Johannsson? It’s likely that either he or Wondo took the spot the LD would have slotted into…

    • He should have looked better in the Gold Cup considering he was playing B and C squads of teams that were already weak.

      Landon can’t attack a world class team. Our WC opponents are world class. Donovan has no place there.

    • he needs to knock that crap out because that’s a red card in the WC. not cool and awful decision making on his part. i thought that was very shady from Davis and it was right in front of JK, so i’m sure he’ll have something to say to Davis about it.

      • Really? No way is that a red card in anything other than a rigged competition. Straight red on intentional handball must be reserved for situations around goal.

        However, it would have been a yellow, and put Davis on warning moving forward and potentially knocked him out of a game if he had accrued one in a professional manner earlier or later. I’m not entirely sure JK will drop the hammer on him, he was looking for an edge, something Americans are too polite to do, but others have no qualms.

        If nobody saw it handled, how would it be a red anyway?

      • come on dude, something that blatant which results in a break away (Zusi’s poor finishing is the only reason that didn’t result in a goal) could easily draw a red.

        agree with you about the yellow, the situation still would not be great. based on Davis’ poor showing and that poor decision, i absolutely could see JK starting Bedoya over Davis from here on out. handling a ball is not the “edge” he was referring to. he was talking physicality. being a guy other players do NOT want to go up against.

        also, it’s not about it being missed by the ref. the fact is he STILL did it and next time someone might see it. whether it’s the ref, the assistant ref, or the 4th official. it’s the risk that’s the problem, IMO.

      • come on dude, something that blatant which results in a break away (Zusi’s poor finishing is the only reason that didn’t result in a goal) could easily draw a red.

        No… It couldn’t. It’s not a TUR OGSO.

      • dude, i already said i was wrong for saying it was a red and corrected what i was trying to say. which was the misapplication of a rule by a ref could easily lead to a red. in other words, i’m referring to the human error aspect.

      • No it’s not. The ball was going out of bounds. That’s a foul and nothing more.

        It’s not even a yellow, because you can pretty much only get a yellow for handling for USB (tactical foul, preventing an opponent from gaining possession or developing an attack, or attempting to score with it). That was really none of those. You could maybe argue that it’s the second, because TUR would have had a throw, but you’d be pushing the guidelines.

      • what? he prevented the ball from going out of bounds (giving Turkey the ball) by literally using his hand to prevent it from going out. 100% deliberate handball that leaves the US with possession on a break away leading to what should have been a goal. a deliberate handball according to Law 12 is a booking and a foul. so yes, maybe saying it’s a red is not 100% accurate.

        but guess what? the US has awful luck with refs in the World Cup. something like that, so deliberate leading to a goal scoring opportunity, doesn’t make me comfortable at all. it’s bad decision making.

      • No… It’s not. That’s not how the guidance on law 12 is worded. It’s pretty clearly referring to a ball in play that’s going to go to an opponent. A ball that’s going to go out of play isn’t going to anyone: it’s just going out of play.

        Like I said: it’s an edge case, so you might be able to convince me, but almost every item of training material I’ve seen makes it pretty clear that that bullet point is referring to the ball staying in play. I think it’s just a foul.

      • That is the same guidance as on 123. (Unsporting behavior)

        Page 115 is specific to handling; 123 is all USB.

      • i’m referring to handling of the ball so i don’t see how 115 is not applicable. especially when it deals with handling to prevent the other team for obtaining possession.

      • It is applicable, but it is incomplete and repeated on 123.

        Again: A ball rolling into touch is just a ball rolling into touch. It’s not rolling TO anyone. I get what you’re saying, but I’m telling you that’s not how I’ve been told to call it.

      • Mason:

        “It is applicable, but it is incomplete and repeated on 123.”

        Seems complete to me. straight up says a caution should be issued for unsporting behavior if a player deliberately handled the ball to prevent an opponent from gaining possession. that’s about as complete as you can get.

        “Again: A ball rolling into touch is just a ball rolling into touch. It’s not rolling TO anyone. I get what you’re saying, but I’m telling you that’s not how I’ve been told to call it.”

        I get that, but that still puts us back at leaving it up to the ref to misapply that particular section of the LOTG.

        to me, it makes more sense to not take that risk. that would have been the better decision by Davis going into the WC.

      • It’s complete on the subject of handling. It’s incomplete on the subject of what is and isn’t USB.

        As I said below: Any referee who values his career would not make such an egregious error as to send off Brad Davis for that handling offense. Doing so would end him. Basically, you’re worrying about something on par with mistaken identity or a third cautioning.

      • Mason:

        “It’s incomplete on the subject of what is and isn’t USB”

        I have to disagree on that. it is clearly saying that the act of handling the ball to prevent the opponent gaining possession is the act of USB and that in that situation, that type of USB results in a caution.

      • “Any referee who values his career would not make such an egregious error as to send off Brad Davis for that handling offense. Doing so would end him. Basically, you’re worrying about something on par with mistaken identity or a third cautioning.”

        maybe that’s so, but i think it’s certainly much more likely to happen then those scenarios.

      • Sure, it’s more likely, but it’s still not likely. That’s why I brought up Graham Poll and misidentification. These are things that just shouldn’t – and almost all the time don’t – happen, and when they do, they’re so bad that they’re often grounds for a replay.

      • well, Mason, i personally think you are downplaying the likelihood that deliberately handling the ball like Davis did will go unpunished/unnoticed. but i understand where you are coming from at this point. good discussion.

      • I’m fairly certain that a referee that gave two craps would punish that foul, but that would be the end of it. I’m even more certain that this referee basically didn’t care what happened. See Cameron’s handling…

      • it says in plain English:

        “There are circumstances when a caution for unsporting behaviour is required when a player deliberately handles the ball, e.g. when a player:
        • deliberately handles the ball to prevent an opponent gaining possession”

        that is EXACTLY what happened. he handled the ball, preventing it from going out of bounds which would have given Turkey the possession.

        also, maybe i’m not getting what you mean by “edge”. are you referring to when JK said he wanted players with more edge/grit/bite or something completely different?

      • A ball rolling into touch isn’t rolling into anyone possession. It’s just rolling into touch. It doesn’t matter that it’s going to be a TUR throw. That particular guidance is about players gaining possession IN PLAY.

        The phrase is “edge case”, and it has to do with things that are normal, and things that are rare.

      • ok, this is pointless. think about what happened. he prevented the ball from going under their possession by deliberately handling the ball to keep it in bounds. the rule does not specify anything about throw ins not counting. a throw in is a part of possession.

        we can agree to disagree here because i don’t think this is going to go anywhere. maybe others will chime in.

      • Look… I’ve asked instructors about exactly this situation – because I like torturing them with edge cases – and they’ve said “No opponent to gain possession means no misconduct.”

        Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you.

      • can’t say that definitely which was my point. it was also 100% inaccurate to call Edu’s goal back in 2010. but it happened.

      • Edu was a bad judgement. A red in this situation would be a misapplication of the LOTG. It’s not an OGSO, so the highest you can go is a caution. Any referee who wrote that play up as a TUR OGSO would have his card pulled.

      • bad judgement leads to misapplication.

        like not giving Germany a red for handling on the line in 2002. or incorrectly calling a PK on Gooch in 2006.

      • “like not giving Germany a red for handling on the line in 2002. or incorrectly calling a PK on Gooch in 2006.”

        No. Those are missed calls, not misapplication. Misapplication would be calling the German handling and then ignoring the misconduct. In that case, the Referee simply saw no foul. Bad judgement, but given that judgement, he properly applied the laws.

      • mason – so think about what i said then.

        the ref sees Davis prevent the ball from going under Turkish possession because he handled the ball and prevented it from going out of bounds.

        the ref sees that and then misapplies the rule and gives Davis a red instead of a yellow. this was my original point! that is COULD mean a red, right or wrong, because it’s opening yourself up to an error from the ref.

      • Well sure… The ref could mistake Bradley for Davis and send off the wrong man, but it’s a waste of time to worry about it.

      • Mason – exactly! so my original point was i don’t like Davis doing that because it could easily lead to a harsh call against us. when i said it could result in a red, i’m referring to the fact we always get screwed and you are leaving it to the ref to make a decision; right or wrong. to me, not using y our hand to keep a ball in bounds is the smarter decision. that’s it.

      • And my point is this: Worrying about a FIFA-listed referee not knowing the LOTG, pulling the wrong card, or carding the wrong player is a total WOMBAT. Does it happen? Heck yeah it does… Graham Poll will tell you all about it. It’s just not worth worrying about as a spectator, or even really as a player. If the F-up is coming, there’s little anyone can do about it.

      • Mason – if you don’t think deliberately handling a ball like Davis did is comparable to a ref incorrectly carding someone, idk what to tell you either.

        i really don’;t understand why you fighting this so hard. i don’;t like the fact that Davis used his hand so Fing blatantly to maintain possession on a break away. that SIGNIFICANTLY increases your chances of getting a call against you and your team!

      • That’s not what I think. Misidentifying a player or issuing three cautions is a far worse offense, in my book.

        I have no problem with what BD did. Players do all kinds of things to gain even the slightest advantage. It’s up to a referee to call the fouls and address the misconducts. When referees don’t do that, or worse, do it incorrectly, I have an issue. Players play. Referees ref.

        Should it have been called? Yes, but would any competent referee caution a player for that? I should think not.

      • Mason

        “is a far worse offense, in my book.”

        i didn’t say anything comparing the severity of either. i said deliberately handling the ball significantly increases the chance the ref makes a harsh call.

        alright, that’s fair enough. basically, you are saying you are 100% ok with Davis taking on the risk of giving the ref an opportunity to card him, yellow or red, wrong or right, while i’m not comfortable with that additional risk.

      • Everything players do on the field carries with it some risk of being called for a foul or issued a card. All I’m saying is don’t get too worked up ahead of time about incompetent officiating. it might actually be OK this time. Maybe…

        Let the three blind mice screw up and THEN grab the pitchforks and torches.

      • Mason, you’re 100% correct.. except during the WC when we’re playing. Seems refs occasionally interpret the rules how they see fit.. I’m half joking of course but just one “Jordan rule” foul on that Portuguese winger guy could change the outcome of surviving the group..

      • Considering how many bong loads Slim Jedidi had obviously taken before the game, I think he would’ve been more likely to reach for his pocket and show Brad Davis a takeout menu.

        I don’t like to see that stuff, and I don’t expect we will again. Having said that, I did have a bit of a snicker at how brash it was. Twellman seemed so blown away that he didn’t know how to react.

      • can’t argue with that, dude guy was pretty much awful. it even seemed Dempsey and one of the Turkish players were going back and forth about how awful the ref was.

        i guess that’s my thing with it. here you have a guy who just proved everyone wrong in a solid performance against AZE who is now starting the next game to show himself. instead, he has a pretty bad game and then does that. it just didn’t sit well with me. you’re probably right that Davis wouldn’t do it again, it’s not like he’s known for this type of thing, but i still have to wonder.

      • Yeah from Davis’s perspective I’m not sure it was great judgment but I don’t know his relationship with Klinsmann either. I hope JK calls him out, but doesn’t make too much of it… just a reminder that he wears the shirt and has to behave like it when it matters.

  7. I missed the game. From the highlights, it looked like the US was playing well. More fire, grit, attitude and guts.

    Can anyone out there comment on just the game itself and the quality of play for me please? I would like to avoid the Donovan/Green/JK talk just for a bit to get a feel of how things went.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Very exciting first half. Play was end-to-end with the US looking loose at the back, and the Turks missing a couple of chances better teams would have cashed. US was looking to attack and was a bit uncareful with possession. The Turks dispossessed our midfielders several times and were off to the races.

      Though the Turks had more shots, the US looked to me pacier and more dangerous. Every time up the US entered the final third field they looked like they had it in them to score. Bradley was uncharacteristically off early on (poor passing, missed opportunity to score on nice pass from Jozy) but then played that brilliant ball to FJ. Altidore was a complete handful up front, and deserved the goal that was disallowed. Jones was very good in the destroyer role with a minimal amount of turnovers. It surprised me how often Besler came well up the pitch to break up an outlet pass. Seemed risky but I liked it.

      Second half was more disjointed. Problems in the back were somewhat alleviated by Klinsmann flattening the diamond, having Bradley play a more defensive role. Alleviated at least until Chandler’s late disaster. The US still created chances several times, but much less flow to the game.

      I thought the US was clearly the better side, but hardly dominated. The US was in control.

    • Our offense played well. Dempsey was burning it up for the First half. Jozy had a rather good game until about minute 80.(Stupid disallowed goal.)

      Defense is shaky but had really really good recovery play. Even Chandler’s goal mostly came because it was like minute 89 and he was thinking they weren’t gunna try anymore. Chandler has a weird game. He defended well but seemed to stay inside to much but… in the first half they were wrecking us down the middle so maybe he was told to pull inside.
      Brooks was solid. Yedlin had a good 1v1 game. Speed is life it seems.

      • This thing with Chandler…is he good or bad?

        I really don’t know what to think.

        Also, why is he on the left?????

      • i think the past two games have shown us Chandler is a good player but maybe not ready to start and play 90. he did seem to kind of switch off towards the end. but he showed that he can get forward well and has great recovery speed. also showed he may need to work on his positioning as he got caught pinched inside a bit too much. i think some of that has to do with him and Davis still working each other out.

        he’s on the left because he’s fine there and because FJ loves playing on the right. since FJ is a beast, you let him play where he feel most comfortable. right now that is RB.

        i’d like to see Chandler and Beasley each get another half against Nigeria. i can’t decide who, overall, has really been better. although the coaches obviously will have a better idea since they are at training. but based on the past two games, it’s tough to say who i would prefer for each game at the WC.

    • I thought the we played well, but the Diamond formation was problematic in that Turkey was able to create a lot of chances in front of goal and we were fortunate they did not score early. I am fearful that if we are running out of time, with one friendly left, to get time in with a 4-2-3-1 or another formation. Most of our guys looked good, but with the margin of error being small there is a lot to be concerned about.

      • I saw that from the highlights. It looked like Turkey had too much space to work with, esp. around the box.

        So, is the 4-4-2 diamond bad or good?

      • I believe what we are learning is not quite so simple– more like a trade-off — one that clearly affords new and dynamic attacking options that are well suited to the personnel, but also increases the risk and exposure to our defensive function, which remains disorganized and cannot perhaps be relied upon “bail us out” as regularly of our previous, veteran groups had been known to do. It is also heavily predicated on the performance of Bradley This is not necessarily a bad thing at all, as leveraging the skills of your most talented player is something you should always seek to do. But in the event of an injury or suspension to MB, I would think we’d want to move away from it to something more conservative.

        There are a few things that can be done to address the shortcomings, with the goal of reducing the defensive risk/exposure without compromising the attacking fucntion:

        1) Modify the diamond. Klinsmann has already said this is the plan, based on the flatter formation employed in the second half.

        2) Improve the communication of the back four. Duh. I know. But this will be giving Klinsmann the most unrest, as I think it’s becoming clear that the next two weeks need to be spent cultivating a core group here. It can be done — and the performance of Brooks has surely planted some thoughts about having him come in — but the time is now and this is “mission critical” (or wait for the “mission impossible” joke to follow most certainly)

        3) Consider shoring up the midfield personnel: Because of the uncertainty surrounding (2) above, it may be worth having a look at swapping out one of the wingers (Bedoya/Davis or Zusi) for a more defensive minded player, and having Dempsey/Altidore cover the wide positions in attack (which they did anyway, to a large extent, against Turkey).

        Many have derided the performances of the wingers (rightfully in the sense that they have struggled to get involved), but it’s becoming apparent that it may not be so much of an issue of their quality as a function of the formation…. it just hasn’t been conducive to getting wide players involved in the attack, and when they do, it’s usually because they have drifted into the inside channels.

        I don’t necesarily know what this would look like in JK’s mind, but we have a few players with experience in midfield and defense, so it doesn’t necessarily mean just dumping Beckerman on next to Jones.

        Anyway… that’s a long-winded answer to your good/bad question, but I hope it helps.

      • Thanks man! I enjoyed reading that. Good perspective.

        I still don’t really understand how this diamond midfield isn’t really just an inverted (or is that upside-down?) 4-3-3, which was the plan all along.

  8. Looking at the stats of this match tells me a much different story than the upbeat, let’s be super positive attitude of the flameboyz, fanbois and media.

    All I need to know about what to expect from FC USA is in the match stats. Turkey, 25 shots at goal, 8 on goal vs FC USA, 8 shots at goal, 4 on goal. Turkey had 9 corners vs 2 for FC USA. The defense for FC USA was literally shredded from the opening whistle. Honestly, it seemed like Turkey had double that amount of shots at goal, maybe the statbois didn’t count all the shots Turkey had blocked or otherwise deflected?

    • you’re absolutely correct: the amount of shots taken is waaayyyy more important than goals scored. everybody else doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    • to me, seeing 25 shots and only 8 on goal, says the US made it difficult for them to get quality shots off. that stat tells me Turkey was impatient. it’s not ideal, i certainly don’t want 25 shots to be a regular occurrence, but if only 8 of them are on target, i’m not too worried about it. of course, some of those were poor finishing that should have been on target. so while that stat isn’t awful, it’s not ideal either.

  9. I do not believe Green was promised a spot in the world cup to make the transfer but only a chance. Green decided he had a good enough chance so he took it. He came in as a 60th min. sub against Mexico (and got a separated shoulder within 10 minutes), didn’t see the field against Azerbaijan, and came in at the 64th minute against Turkey. Although he didn’t show much, it is clear that he has not been given enough playing time to make a firm judgment either way.

    Based on his pedigree so far, not what we’ve seen but what his coaches at Bayern, Klinsmann and his scouts have seen, and what I think he has shown in training with the U.S. Nats, there must be something there. What I would like to see is having him start against Nigeria, if he screws up sub him out, if he doesn’t, let him play into the second half.

      • Does it strike you as odd that the only people suffering because of you are fellow USMNT fans?

        JK isn’t in here, and he isn’t coming. Nobody wants to be your surrogate Klinsi. Plenty of us like LD too. We’re just not about to let it rain on our parade.

      • I agree. It is so much fun to bring up LD, almost as much fun as bring up Freddy – where is he now – Adu.

        Adu was the “American Pele” of his time. Now Green is. I hope they don’t mess Green up like they did Adu.

  10. My thoughts… Fabian Johnson’s finish was pure quality, but so was Bradley’s ball! I watch Fabian play at Hoffenheim, where he has played at the LB position. In my opinion he’s good enough that either fullback position should be his. Saw a lot of long ball play that made me cringe a few times and the Turkish defense never dealt with it, Ghana, Portugal, and Germany will. The referee was pretty bad, I think he was letting a lot of play go though, this was a friendly. At times I think the US has to have that cheeky streak every now and then, Clint on the break away, that’s dive territory in a competitive game. You get the red and the penalty, don’t try to play through it! Play smart and a dive right there is the smart option. Also the B. Davis handball was intentional but again, if the ref doesn’t call it, that’s his fault not yours.

    • Hoffenheim is wonderful to watch. I’ll miss him playing there. I’m not really surprised he could score that. Since you watch Hoffenheim you probably weren’t too much either.

      • Oh yeah! The great thing about watching Hoffenheim… goals. Either they score a bunch or they get scored on a bunch lol. It was nice being able to watch Fabian this season being only 30 minutes away from Sinsheim. Now that he’s moving to Moenchengladbach, it will be tough to watch him play regularly. Of all the German-American players on the WC team, I rate him the best.

    • Is it possible that they were playing the long balls BECAUSE the Turkish defense couldn’t deal with it? These guys are professionals after all. Isn’t it possible they’re making in game adjustments to exploit weaknesses that they’re seeing?

      • That was my read. Jozy was absolutely all over those center backs. They got bailed out by calls on 50-50s more than once, and were often forced to simply play the ball into touch. I would’ve kept at it whenever possible, even if it wasn’t the initial gameplan.

      • Definitely a possibility to expose their weakness like that and I agree if it works, make them stop you. However, there were a few times where the simple pass was available and players just huffed it down field instead. If these games are intended to get ready for teams who will shut down the long ball, my strategy would be to play to feet whenever possible.

  11. Anyone who thinks LD doesn’t deserve to be on this squad has swallowed whole Jurgen’s BS. LD is still our best player (or top 3), has more experience and composure in his knuckle than Julian Green has in his whole Korper, and should be sharing his profound wisdom and leadership with this very, uh, green group. Anyone who disagrees is either self-deluded or under Jurgen’s spell.

    • “Anyone who disagrees is either self-deluded or under Jurgen’s spell.”

      Guess it’s pointless to disagree with you…

      I was surprised, but not shocked, to see LD left off the squad. He still brings some attributes that the team could use, but are redundant to what Bedoya and Zusi can provide. He also has been “in and out of the squad” for the last 18 months (Bradley’s words), and there is probably something personal between he and Klinsmann/someone else. Sounds like a potential headache to me…

      Yes, this team is relatively inexperienced, but most of the inexperienced players are veterans in their late 20’s/early 30’s. I’m not sure Brad Davis, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Graham Zusi, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, etc. need Donovan’s wisdom and leadership. The true youngsters: Green, Yedlin, Brooks, and Mixx have other strong role models to look to (Bradley, Jones, Howard, Dempsey, “the spine”).

      Can we all move on and stop hijacking every thread with Donovan commentary?

      I for one and way more concerned about how easily Turkey turned late runs out of the midfield into dangerous chances. Not sure LD would have much to do about that…

      • LD is still our best player (or top 3

        Laughable. Absolutely baldly laughable. Bradley is miles ahead of every single other player, and towers over Donovan in current ability. Dempsey is far better. So is Fabian Johnson. So is Zusi. So is Altidore.

        Jermaine Jones is clearly more important. Geoff Cameron is certainly more importantl. If I had a choice between Beasley and Donovan, it would be Beasley.

        The only player in the 11 I would even consider swapping him for is Bedoya (who may not be in the 11).

      • really? Based on the last few games i would say Bradley is in the middle of the pack, and Jones is better.

      • Guess what, the majority of posters on here agree that in the last few games Bradley has not been performing well and jones has been better

      • Posters who believe that haven’t watched the US play for the last three years. Against top competition the following has held true:
        1) When Bradley plays well, the US usually wins,
        2) When he is absent or plays poorly, the US usually loses.

        That’s pretty much as important as it gets. As for his form lately: it has slipped from its peak – mostly regarding work rate. Work rate shows up mostly on the defensive end. His passing and attacking positioning has still been excellent. He’s had two shots blocked off the line in the last two games, plus an assist on a world class lobbed through ball. I believe he is pacing himself in order to be busy for the big show.

        Make no mistake: MB 90 will be ready.

      • When was the last time you saw a US player make that kind of perfect pass that setup FJ’s goal? That was a much tougher pass than most, it had to clear the defense, be held just long enough that FJ could reach it without being offside and get down so FJ could actually strike the ball.

        If you actually watched the last game, Bradley was the player others on the US used to relieve pressure and the one they looked to most often to get the ball to. His pass completion might not have been as high as usual, but he was getting the ball in a lot of tough positions.

      • When it comes to composure in the final third and ability to play a final ball, I would say Donovan is is our best if not second best after Bradley.

        Dempsey has never been one with a great eye for a pass, his job and preference is to shoot. Donovan makes better decisions IMO, but Dempsey does bring a scoring X factor.

      • and last night our passing accuracy in the final 3rd was bad. 57%!!! Turkey’s was 76%. in the attacking half? 62% compared to 73%. our overall accuracy was 82% compared to Turkey’s 83%. that’s a total drop off in accuracy as we moved forward. which, to some extent, is to be expected as passing becomes harder and harder the more you move forward. but a -20% change in accuracy just moving into the attacking half is a concerning drop off. and of course 57% accuracy in the final 3rd is not nearly as lethal as it needs to be.

        and for all the talk about Beckerman vs. Jones, neither of them are the problem when it comes to our passing issues. Jones was the most accurate US passer against AZE and was the most accurate US passer in the 1st half against Turkey (which is the only half he played in). yesterday he hit 29 out of 34 while Beckerman hit 24 out of 25 (best US passer in the 2nd half). in other words, those two are doing what they need to be doing.

        i’d like to see the passing from our offense become a lot sharper against Nigeria. it has to be.

      • An opinion that both Jones and Beckerman may have played well??
        Cats and Dogs living together??
        Oh the humanity….

      • I agree with most of what you are saying here (really good analysis btw… would like to see more of this type of thing on SBI).

        I really tend not to read too much into the attacking 3rd passing statistics, for the reason you stated, but also because I saw the U.S. doing something (with considerable success) that I would really love to see more of, and that is trying to use our most skilled players (Bradley, Dempsey, Altidore) to work chances through the center channel.

        Playing this way has rarely even been an option for us… it involves inticate movement, high technical proficiency in close quarters, and supreme understanding among the players involved, usually built on experience. We did misfire quite a bit, but we were trying things and building good moves, with mistakes usuallly coming at the last pass.

        I’m ok with these kinds of misfires for the moment because I think we are close enough that they could be sharpened in the short term. And it would really open things up for us to have this dimension. This U.S. team has been so dangerous from corners and wide positions– this could really make us a very difficult proposition, particularly as it facilitates the higher press we saw against Turkey.

    • I would if the rest of the team around him had a poor offensive line, young wide receivers and no running game.

    • How do you feel people that follow the NFL would feel if Peyton took pre-season off because he was burned out (not injured) and then when he did come back wasn’t anywhere near what he had been and then talked about how he just doesn’t have it in him any longer to compete at a high level…and just to throw this out there, Landon is 32, Peyton is 38 and still kicking ass (minus the Super Bowl)
      Last thing…how many soccer players are playing in much tougher leagues than the MLS and are older than 32?

      • Actually top players REGULARLY take pre seasons off. its an EXTREMELY common practice in other leagues

      • Here is one thing 32 year old people do not do:

        New boss comes in: “Hello. We would like you take part in a team activity.”

        32 Year Old: “Hmmm…. No thanks. Thing is, I’m very tired and as you can see I’ve done a lot for previous managers. I’m going to take a break. Hit me up later”

        Newsflash. No new manager of anything anywhere at any point in history will respond positively to an entrenched performer who displays entitlement in a way that can only become public. Welcome to reality.

    • Sure I would sit Peyton for Manziel if I am running an spread option and I know that Peyton isn’t fit to QB that offense. The same thing is true here. We haven’t seen LD play in the midfield effectively since the sabbatical, so he was definitely vying for a forward spot (the only spot he plays in at club level and only spot he was effective at for the nats). the real issue is whether they needed an extra defender or if LD is better than any forward brought on

  12. Maybe it was a personal decision, but then after all he is the coach, and is entitled, justified and paid to make decisions based on what he perceives to be in the best interest of the team as a whole.
    Landon has had a great run, but by his own admission he sees the end of his career in sight and perhaps he is best planning and preparing for that. I think he definitely qualified to make the team from a player performance level, perhaps and just perhaps he did not have the confidence of the coach. Additionally JK as coach is definitely looking to put his stamp on US Soccer, and as someone who has been playing and watching the game in the US since the days of Pele playing for the NY Cosmos, Klinsman is doing a pretty good job in elevating the level of play both technically and psychologically. Its a much better game to watch, and the US team is at least competitive with the best teams. Just my two cents as a first time poster.

    • It was a good game and Turkey has just as many players in the Champs League as Ghana. The negativity in a win is mind-blowing.

    • Landon has been mentioning retirement for like the past five years. The guy doesn’t shy away from introspection.

      Maybe instead of evaluating his “hunger” and “heart” and “interview responses” we should evaluate his “performance” and “ability to play an attacking role better than the current alternatives.”

  13. I’m sorry, I need to call out Ives and all of his American contemporaries covering the USMNT. Having gone through 2 of the preliminary games now, and having seen the product on the field, as a journalist you must challenge Juergen now. “How can you justify Julian Green over Landon Donovan based on the performance of today’s game? Green looked over matched, out muscled by a worthy, but slightly inferior Turkey squad. How can you continue to justify Landon’s omission for anything other than personal reasons?”. If JK Dances around the question then there should be an all out assault of follow ups to press him on this matter. As much as I hated Jim Grey over the years, the guy had those gorilla balls that a journalist needs. Would you guys (journalists) look out for us, your readers and grill him about this? Landon SHOULD be on this team. That is something that can still happen, unlike Giuseppe’s fateful choice, so many years ago.

    • Have you not been paying attention? They already asked why LD was left off in place of “Midfielder X”. It hasn’t just been Green. A question of that form has come up in almost every single interview since the cutdown. FWIW: JK’s answer is consistent. It pretty much boils down to, “I don’t seen LD as a winger at the international level, so he wasn’t up against Midfielder X.” He might be wrong about that, but once the answer is given and doesn’t change, there’s no point belaboring it for the jorno. The coach will just say the same thing over and over again, and you end up with nothing useful for the story you actually want to write.

      • I too am disappointed in Landon’s omission, but there’s nothing we or the journalists can do about it now.

        If JK did say, “I left Donovan off for personal reasons,” what then? What would change?

    • Which journalists who get press access to JK have not asked him about Green? Obviously he got asked about it again today, the write up has been on almost every site.


      • If it wasn’t such an outrageously bad coaching decision I would agree that blah blah blah pretty much sums up the Donovan conversation. This team has the ingredients to surprise and make a good run with some luck; its hard not to believe Donovan would have only made us stronger and more versatile.

    • There is no question whatsoever now that Julian Green is a wasted roster spot, for THIS World Cup, in 2 weeks. Anyone who thinks his selection was anything else other than trying to steal him away from Germany, by promising him a chance to play in this World Cup, is foolish. Which means it was totally about the future, and not about what he can provide now. Because he can’t provide anything now. Using him at all would be disastrous. You don’t do that at a World Cup. You don’t gamble on unproven rookies, with mere minutes played at a senior level. You put your strongest squad out there, every time. You can develop talent in the 4 years between cups. Juan Aguedelo is light years better than Julian Green. And so is Landon Donovan.

    • These are friendlies to prepare the team for the actual WC games lets at least wait till after the WC to bring up the LD over _____ player argument. So far we are 2-0 without him. The LD band camp is acting like we lost both games. And based on these 2 games it really looks like LD lost his spot to Davis because he’s gotten the most playing time in LD’s traditional position with the NT and Green has only gotten about 20+ minutes in 2 games.

      • Everyone is acting like we lost those 2 games… What’s amazing is that the problem is the defense(better than they were) but all LD is an offensive player. But you aren’t allowed to say anything good about the offense because LD isn’t on it.

        No one is enjoying the US team right now and it has nothing to do with the actual game being played. Last night was a great game and the US played well.

      • great game in what universe? The team looked horrible in both halves. We wont survive a half like either one vs Ghana, Germany or Portugal. Period

      • Watching the highlights (and I watched the game as well), it looked like Turkey is the team that was lucky to survive. If not for some absolutely terrible finishing on plays that should’ve been goals, it easily could’ve and probably should’ve been 4-1.

      • Have you watched Ghana, Germany, and some of the other teams in their send off games?.

        These games are dress rehearsals, practice.

        I’ve seen teams have a bunch of terrible send off games and then do well in the Cup.

    • JK has specific roles he wants filled and he picked the players he thinks best fills them. He has repeatedly talked about the speed and dribbling ability of Green. He regularly brought on Shea for the same reasons in qualifying. Judging solely on those criteria either beats Donovan for that specific role. You may disagree with the roles he decided he wanted on the team and that is fine but he was brought in to change our style of play. An older Donovan no longer fit.

      • Brek & Green better than Landon at LM? Nope. Plus, JK’s going with the Empty Bucket. He is not changing our style of play.

    • Dude, get over it. Donovan is not the only one left behind – Nasri, Tevez, Falcao, Navas, Negredo, Coutinho, Clichi, Lucas Moura, Kaka, Rossi, Montolivo, Llorente and many others won’t be at the WC. And most importantly, Zlatan has already said that the WC without Zlatan is not worth watching. But seriously, Green is not the one taking Landon’s spot – he is going to be groomed to lead the team at the next WC- it is an investment in the future. Each position goes several players deep and Donovan can play several positions, why single out one player?

    • Ok, so I agree that LD should be on this roster. period. The biggest whole in it so far is the lack of a creative two way player to man the LM spot, and with Ronaldo looming F Johnson can’t play there. The blame I place 40% on JK and 60% on LD. If landon had gone all out in the training for the Mexico game JK wouldn’t have decided that he wasn’t a midfielder, and he wouldn’t have had to compete with AJ for second off-striker role. He came in tentative because of he knee, and JK decided right then that Landon didn’t have the fitness to play mid at the national level. Short-sited decision by JK, but LD shouldn’t have given him the excuse. Now we’re stuck with a specialist (davis), a limit player (bedoya), or a player who is too green to make an impact.

      And for those who wish the Donovan question would go away… it’s THE BIGGEST storyline for a reason. Get over it.


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