May 29, 2010
By Michael Lewis
NIGHT AND DAY
2nd-half comeback lifts U.S. over Turkey, 2-1
PHILADELPHIA -- It was, quite simply, a game of two halves, just about night and day for the Americans.
|Clint Dempsey scored the game-winner or the U.S. in the 75th minute.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
After playing a shaky game -- that might be considered mild -- in the opening half against Turkey Saturday afternoon, the United States rebounded with a an inspired effort in the second half to record a 2-1 victory in the final Send-Off game before the World Cup.
Forward Jozy Altidore equalized in the 58th minute before a crowd of 55,407 and Clint Dempsey tallied the game-winner in the 75th minute for the Americans, who leave Sunday for South Africa.
The Americans equalized in the 58th minute on a pretty, boom-boom play. Central defender Jay DeMerit started the scoring sequence with a long pass to Robbie Findley, who chested the ball down. The Real Salt Lake forward then chipped the ball to a speeding Landon Donovan on the right side. Donovan penetrated into the penalty area and slipped a low pass to Altidore, who beat goalkeeper Volkan Demirel from five yards.
The U.S. wasn't finished, taking the lead in the 75th minute. This time Steve Cherundolo sent a throw-in to Donovan, who fed Dempsey. Dempsey took a couple of steps, fought off midfielder Sabri Sarigogulu in the penalty area and slotted the ball of his right foot past Demirel into the lower left corner.
If the Americans play the same way defensively against England in their WC opener two weeks from Saturday, they will be in a load of trouble.
There were holes in the midfield and the starting backline, which included man coverage, giveaways and other errors.
Fortunately for coach Bob Bradley, he has two weeks to fix the problems and holes, if not find other answers because the backline of Carlos Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson, Jay DeMerit and Jonathan Spector was not up to the task, especially on the right side.
The Turks took advantage of the U.S. holes in the 27th minute, when Spector, on a long overlap from the right flank, lost the ball at the edge of the Turkey penalty area. Colin-Kazim Richards sent a diagnol pass to the left side to an onrushing Arda Turan, who beat defender DeMerit before depositing the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard into the net.
The U.S.'s best chance came in the 43rd minute when Jozy Altidore ran down the right side and sent a low pass to a sliding Clint Dempsey, which got to the spot a split-second before Dempsey did.
Bradley made four substitutions at halftime, pulling Goodson for Oguchi Onyewu, Spector for Steve Cherundolo, Clark for Jose Torres and Feilhaber for Robbie Findley.
The strategy worked.