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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (May 29, 2010) – In its final match before leaving for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the U.S. Men’s National Team put together a marvelous 2-1 come-from-behind win against Turkey with second half goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, both of which were assisted by Landon Donovan.
A crowd of 55,407 red, white and blue-bathed fans turned out on gorgeous afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field and their energy helped propel the U.S. team to a an excellent second half performance.
Against the Czech Republic last Tuesday, U.S. head coach Bob Bradley gave time to numerous players as a last look before the World Cup team was selected the next day. Against Turkey, many of the players U.S. fans will surely see on the field during the World Cup were on display as goalkeeper Tim Howard, defenders Jonathan Spector, Jay Demerit and team captain Carlos Bocanegra, midfielders Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark and Benny Feilhaber and forwards Dempsey and Altidore – all of whom were rested against the Czechs – got the nod into the starting lineup.
Still, it was a choppy first half against Turkey who was the aggressor with Tuncay Sanli pushing a great chance from close range just a foot wide of the left post five minutes into the match while Arda Turan looked menacing coming down the left flank.
In the 15th minute, Turan cut hard into the middle from the left side and tried to stuff a shot inside the near post, but Howard had it covered and it skipped wide of the goal.
Turkey opened the scoring in the 27th minute after Spector made a nice attacking run on the dribble up the middle. He was dispossessed near the top of the penalty area and Turkey launched a lightning-quick counter-attack into the space he had just vacated on the right side of the U.S. defense. Colin Kazim-Richards released Turan down that wing with a perfectly-weighted pass and it became a footrace into the penalty box between Turan, center-back Jay Demerit and Spector, who had sprinted back at top speed to catch the streaking Turkish attacker. Just when it seemed that both Demerit and/or Spector had done the work to block the shot, converging on Turan with slide tackles, the Galatasaray star lifted his shot over the legs of both U.S. backs and into the left side of the net past Howard, who was also charging to the cut off the chance.
The USA struggled to create dangerous opportunities in the first half even though Dempsey got shots early in the game and several corner kicks did give the Turks some issues before they managed to clear.
In the 40th minute, Turan got around the U.S. defense again down the left wing, but there was no one in the middle to get on the end of his cross after he had powered to the near post before serving.
The U.S. foreshadowed what was to come in the second half with just two minutes left before the break as Altidore beat three defenders on a slashing dribble into the right side of the penalty area. He spun a cross on the ground through the middle of the six-yard box, but the sliding Dempsey couldn’t get a foot on it or he surely would have swept it into the open net.
Bradley made four changes to start the second half, sending on Steve Cherundolo for Spector, Oguchi Onyewu for Goodson, José Torres for Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley for Feilhaber.
The Americans found their spark after the break and immediately took the game to the Turks. Less than a minute into the half, Bocanegra sent a long cross from the left wing past the far post where Donovan expertly brought it down before laying a pass back to the cutting Bradley, but his shot from about nine yards was well-blocked by a sliding defender.
Torres did some fine work in midfield, winning balls and keeping possession while Findley looked dangerous down the flanks in stretching the Turkish defense. The Real Salt Lake striker was playing in just his fifth match for the USA, but he had a cross from the left that had to be collected on a dive by Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel in the 49th and tried to bend a shot into the left corner from 25 yards out in the 55th.
Findley then played a key role in the tying goal in the 58th minute as he took a pass out of the back from DeMerit before turning toward goal and sending a chip over the top of the Turkish defense to Donovan. The USA’s all-time leading scorer blazed into the penalty area, beat Demirel to the ball and with the sole of his left foot, pulled off a perfect touch to round the ‘keeper to the outside.
Altidore was on a powerful run straight up the middle and Donovan hit him in stride for the big striker to blast the ball into the open net. It was Altidore’s ninth international goal in 25 caps, with Donovan assisting on five of those.
As the second half progressed, it was the U.S. team which surely looked more likely to get a winning goal as the Americans pushed forward in the attack. In the 68th, Donovan burst through two defenders about 35 yards from the goal, but they cut him off before he could get clear for the breakaway and he fouled one of them.
The winning goal came with 15 minutes left and it originated off a throw-in seconds after the game had momentarily paused for Bornstein to replace Bocanegra. Cherundolo threw the ball into Donovan on the right wing and he spun towards goal before lifting a short pass to Dempsey inside the penalty area. Dempsey’s first touch pushed the ball forward and then he showed great balance in riding the tackle of Sabri Sarioglu before stuffing his shot under Demirel from five yards away.
It was Dempsey’s 18th career goal in his 61st cap for the USA.
The USA protected the lead well in the final quarter of an hour, although substitute Mehmet Topal got a good look at net while firing from distance in the 79th minute, but Howard gobbled up the shot with no sign of a rebound. Earlier, Onyewu had done well to give up his body, throwing himself into a dangerous shot from inside the box to block the ball away.
Turkey’s best chance to tie the game came when substitute Sercan Yildirim burst through into the right side of the U.S. penalty area, but his cross on the ground rolled all the way through the goal mouth without a Turkish player anywhere close enough to get a touch on the ball.
Turkey’s final chance of the game came in the 85th minute as Nihat Kahvechi bent a free-kick from near the sideline on the left wing and it sailed enough that Howard had to push it over the top of the goal for a corner kick. Kahvechi then blasted his volley off the ensuing corner kick high and wide and Turkey didn’t have another chance in the remaining five minutes plus stoppage.
The U.S. did, however, as Dempsey hit the outside of the right post in the 87th after running onto a great cut back pass from Bradley, who had darted into the box on the right side. Moments later, Torres came close to sneaking a free-kick from the right wing inside the near post, but it hit the side-netting.
The USA fired eight of its 10 shots in the second half and earned five of its seven corner kicks.
- U.S. Men's National Team Match Report -
Match: United States vs. Turkey
Date: May 29, 2010
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa.
Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET
Weather: Hot, humid – 77 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
TUR 1 0 1
TUR – Arda Turan (Colin Kazim-Richards) 27th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Landon Donovan) 58
USA – Clint Dempsey (Landon Donovan) 75
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector (6-Steve Cherundolo, 46), 15-Jay Demerit, 21-Clarence Goodson (5-Oguchi Onyewu, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.) (12-Jonathan Bornstein, 75); 10-Landon Donovan, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Ricardo Clark (26-José Torres, 46), 16-Benny Feilhaber (27-Robbie Findley, 46); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (22-Stuart Holden, 81)
Subs not used: 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 18-Brad Guzan, 19-Maurice Edu, 23-Marcus Hahnemann, 29-Edson Buddle, 30-Herculez Gomez
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
TUR: 1-Volkan Demirel; 2-Servet Cetin, 4-Gokhan Zan, 13-Caglar Birinci, 5-Emre Belozoglu (Capt.), 6-Hamit Altintop (9-Semih Senturk, 73), 14-Arda Turan (28-Ozan Ipek, 90), 17-Selcuk Inan (15-Mehmet Topal, 52) 25-Sabri Sarioglu, 10-Tuncay Sanli (8-Nihat Kahvechi, 77), 18-Colin Kazim-Richards (16-Sercan Yildirim, 59)
Subs not used: 12-Onur Recep Kivrak, 19-Ibrahim Toraman, 20-Nuri Sahin, 21-Halil Altintop, 24-Emre Gungor, 31-Ismail Koybasi
Head Coach: Guus Hiddink
Stats Summary: USA / TUR
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves: 3 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 5 / 13
Offside: 1 / 1
USA – Ricardo Clark (caution) 42nd minute
TUR – Mehmet Topal (caution) 56
TUR – Gokhan Zan (caution) 90+2
Referee: Silviu Petrescu (Canada)
Assistant Referee 1: Joe Fletcher (Canada)
Assistant Referee 2: David Belleau (Canada)
Fourth Official: Mark Geiger (USA)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey