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Scouting Report: Mooch Breaks Down Turkey

U.S. Men's National Team Assistant Coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick breaks down Turkey, who the U.S. will face later today in their opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup:

Turkey is a country that has made great strides on the international scene, and now has players plying their trade at many of the biggest clubs in Europe.  Like many 2002 World Cup teams, Turkey are in a transitional period of looking at and introducing some young players, with a few older ones moving on. 

They have eight players who have yet to make their first international appearance.  Given the fact that teams have only one day off between games, the depth of your roster is important, and experience may be a factor.  In that regard, Turkey are missing several key personnel.  Tugay Kerimoglu, their center midfielder, has been a catalyst for their attack, and is not on the roster, and the person who may fill his shoes, Volkan Arslan, heads into tonight's match with only one international cap. 

Other key figures not in France are Nihat Kahveci, who is involved in a very dramatic finish to the Spanish season with his club Real Sociedad; Emre Belozoglu from Inter Milan, who left the Macedonia match on June 11 injured; Ilhan Mansiz, who had a very good World Cup, also suffered an injury against the Czech Republic in April, and Hakan Sukur, who scored the game-winner against Macedonia and is an experienced forward.

In terms of what you can expect to see on the field, they have traditionally played of late from a 4-4-2 formation, with wide players that are more inclined to come inside and get involved in combination play rather than patrol the flanks.  The most experienced part of their team clearly resides in defense, starting with goalkeeper Rustu Recber and a four-man backline that features veterans of the 2002 World Cup.

They are a group that stays at home, and are difficult to break down.  With the exception of the two central defenders and the goalkeepers they are team lacking in size.  One of our concerns is danger man Yildiray Basturk, who likes to play behind their two front-runners.  He is extremely quick, looking to play little combinations off the front players.  Without knowing their starting XI, we still expect a very difficult game with the 2002 third-place finishers in the World Cup.

We hope to unsettle the Turks from the opening whistle by beginning with an aggresive start on both sides of the ball, and we'll see what happens from there.  After three weeks of training, the is certainly ready to step on the field.