Good and bad of send-off victory

[USA-TURKEY] Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey scored in the second half to give the USA a 2-1 win Saturday in its friendly against Turkey in Philadelphia. Here's what we liked and didn't like along with video highlights ...

We liked ...

-- Halftime subs Robbie Findley and Jose Francisco Torres, who played very well. Findley had his best game for the USA and helped set up the first goal. Torres was excellent in midfield.

-- The finishing of Dempsey, who took a half-chance and scored the winning goal. It's same kind of efficiency Dempsey showed last summer at the Confederations Cup.

-- How the game gave the USA a chance to deal with two situations -- it came from behind to take the lead and held it.

We didn't like ...

-- The lack of spark the USA showed in the first half when it failed to take the game to the Turks. Surprising, given the pro-U.S. crowd of more than 55,000 encouraging the Americans on.

-- Its continued propensity to give away easy goals and its failure to shut the Turks down after it took the lead. Poor defending contributed to all five goals in the send-off series.

-- How after both sat out Tuesday's game against the Czech Republic, Ricardo Clark and Benny Feilhaber lacked bite in midfield. They both came off at the half.


0-1: The USA fell behind in the first half when Arda Turan scored on a counterattack. With right back Jonathan Spector having moved into the U.S. attack, Arda had acres of room to race into the penalty and beat Spector and Jay DeMerit before slotting the ball past Tim Howard.

1-1: Altidore equalized for the USA in the 58th minute when he scored into an open net after Findley had sprung Landon Donovan down the right side and the Galaxy star fed Altidore in the middle.

2-1:Off a throw-in, Donovan fed Dempsey on the left side, and the Fulham striker beat two Turkish defenders before slotting the ball home.

May 29 in Philadelphia
USA 1 Turkey 1. Goals: Altidore 58, Dempsey 75; Arda 27.
USA -- Howard, Spector (Cherundolo, 46), DeMerit, Goodson (Onyewu, 46), Bocanegra (Bornstein, 75), Donovan, Bradley, Clark (Torres, 46), Feilhaber (Findley, 46), Dempsey, Altidore (Holden, 81).
Turkey -- Volkan, Sabri, Servet, Caglar, Gokhan, Hamit (Semih, 73), Belozoglu, Arda (Ozan, 90), Selcuk (Mehmet, 53), Tuncay (Nihat, 77), Kazim-Richards (Sercan, 60).
Att.: 55,407.


19 comments about "Good and bad of send-off victory".
  1. Walt Pericciuoli, May 30, 2010 at 8:06 a.m.

    Torres a difference maker. Donovan needs to be involved in the game from first minute. Lack of cover for Spector's run was troubling. 1st half marking awful, Bradley must have covered that at break as 2nd half was much better. Findley did provide a spark.No more Bornstein please. Overall a poor team 1st half but a great 2nd and a great result.

  2. Fernando Paz, May 30, 2010 at 8:57 a.m.

    Torres was the only player that look comfortable and solid out there. Donovan look like he was not trying what so ever. The U.S. has speed they need to use it. Findly looked good. Like Walt said NO MORE BORNSTEIN PLEASE! Gooch still looks a little rusty but getting there hopefully 100% come game day.

  3. Kenneth Barr, May 30, 2010 at 9:18 a.m.

    A game of two halves. First 40 or so minutes saw USA looking tentative. Then, the switch must have flipped. Altidore's move towards half time woke everyone up. They figured Turkey out and began to take charge. Second half, the right adjustments were made, Donovan had two moments of absolute billiance, Altidore held his head for an easy tap in and Dempsey showed his strength in front of goal for the second. He could easily have made it 3-1 but failed to convert Bradley's clever cut back. Back four remains iffy but Gooch looks better, probaly needs another match or two to be fully ready. Bornstein needs to pick it up or Bradley needs to sit him down. Midfield showed improvement, needs to keep that up. I'm still confident, given this showing, that the XI will make my 3-1 victory prediction over England come good.

  4. Keith Wiseman, May 30, 2010 at 9:29 a.m.

    I've always been a little bewildered and upset that Torres hasn't been given more playing time by Bradley in the past. If this game didn't finally open his eyes to what Torres can mean to this team then I don't know what will. He was the best player on the field and brings a ball possession and tidyness to the midfield that no one else on the team can match. What was nice to see yesterday was that he also showed great intensity on the defensive side of the ball as well to round out a great game for him.

  5. John Roode, May 30, 2010 at 10:45 a.m.

    Dempsey as a withdrawn striker is like a duck out of water. He doesn't have the patience for it. Dempsey should be on the flank covered by Torres where Dempsey can attack with abandon. He's a front-runner whether in the middle of the field or on the flank... not a read and find the space guy. Although I'm not a fan of M Bradley, if he is going to be on the field then he needs to be in support of Donovan, who is more measured in his game than Dempsey is... and would allow Bradley to get forward like he wants to and needs to and not have to worry about holding all the time (if he were playing next to Dempsey for example)... and Bradley needs to be able to get forward since his prowess on defense is suspect at best. Otherwise there is no reason to have him on the field. So the alignment in the second half was the perfect compliment of attackers and defenders playing next to each other in midfield (except I would consider playing Holden over Bradley). Altidore has improved his game dramatically and will be a force for us... although I was a little surprised at how he was muscled off the ball a couple times. Findlay obviously caused the Turks some problems and as Dempsey mentioned post-game, he did stretch the field for us which created space. And the chip to Donovan was really very nice. Clark was not nearly as disciplined as Torres and was partly responsible for the Turkey goal, IMO... in addition to Goodson. Why the hell Goodson was nearly in the final third while Spector was making his run I have no idea. That more than anything was the problem on the goal. Demerit was essentially the Lone Ranger as there was no rotation in the back because Bocanegra was more forward than he should have been as well, probably. They'd better figure the back line out ASAP or we are in a heap of trouble. Bornstein should never see the field again. Cherundolo was and has been solid and should be the starter at RB. Spector should be coming off the bench. The fact that Spector can play the right or left side is a bonus. But he should not be starting. Cherundolo is a calming influence for that Back 4 and needs to be on the field from the outset. Who should start at CB is anybody's guess at this point. None of the 3 really look ready to play at World Cup level. Still, I expect that we struggle against England but move out of the group because of the level of the other two that we will play in Group. To go any further than that, the play of the Back 4 must improve markedly... and whether they can improve enough is in serious doubt at this point. Round of 16 and out.

  6. Scott Ludwig, May 30, 2010 at 11:14 a.m.

    In the first half Michael Bradley failed to connect on 90% of his passes and ran around defending like a chicken with his head cut off. Ricardo Clark is not ready for prime time. No poise on the ball. When Torres came on in the 2nd half it changed the game and benefited Bradley the most. Bradley seemed to calm himself with Torres in there and had a much better 2nd half. For me Torres is a revelation. At one point, when defending the 2-1 lead, Torres won the ball outside the U.S. box and deftly dribbled out of a tight situation and laid it off wide to an open teammate. It was like the messiah had arrived. I haven't seen a U.S. controlling midfielder play with such poise and finesse since Claudio Reyna. Hopefully Bob Bradley has seen the light. Findley was great, showing a tremendous burst of speed AND great skills and vision. The second half lineup gave me a glimmer of hope that we won't go 0-3, first round and out.

  7. Julio Vargas, May 30, 2010 at 12:25 p.m.

    What I did not like about yesterdays game:

    With the defense that we played the 1st half we are not only going to lose against England, but also, we are not going to pass the first round either. It was depressing to watch the performance of that back line.
    Spector looked lost in the field, Goodson is unpredictable, Bornstein made me pray each time that the ball was on his side. Feilhaber and Clark below World Cup level.
    At some point in the first half, I got the impression that there was no chemistry in the team; nobody knew who was who and where they were playing.

    What I like about the game:

    B. Bradley did a great job with the subs. Good job on that.
    Torres played very well and it seems to me that he transmitted some security and confidence in the midfield when he was there.
    Findley brought some speed to the attack. Sometimes he holds the ball too long, but he played very good.
    Onyewu and Cherundolo gave some stability to the defense line, along with DeMerit, who played better than his 1st half. DeMerit was more active, faster and ran more.
    Finally, with the combination of having Torres in the midfield, Donovan that started being himself, Dempsey and Altidore who always plays good with the US team, we gained the control of the ball and things got better.

  8. Karl Schreiber, May 30, 2010 at 1:08 p.m.

    I agree with much that was stated above. I am concerned about our defense not being prepared for quick attacks as was seen in the England - Mexico game. Torres is refreshing; hope he can show consistency.
    Our comments here won't change anything, really. When it counts, our team will try its very best.

    Here's something I'd like to have changed:

    HOW CAN WE MAKE JOHN HARKES SHUT UP AS "COLOR COMMENTATOR"??? What does the guy want to prove?! I'm afraid I will be hoping for the vuvuzuelas (sp?) to overpower his continuous blah blah blah. HELP!

  9. George Harrison (Jr.), May 30, 2010 at 1:24 p.m.

    I agree with you on Harkes, I think someone told him once there should never be ANY "dead air" on TV! The most effective commentators add to the game not detract as Harkes does... yikes... I'll add my HELP to yours!
    Torres and Findley should have worked their way onto the starting XI... excellent play from both.

  10. Rich V, May 30, 2010 at 4:55 p.m.

    I agree with most of the other comments, but 2 things I'd add: 1) Torres not only brought a lot of composure to the game, he was also the our best defender and won a ton of balls, and 2) John Harkes does need to learn to be quiet, but ESPN also needs to stop zooming in anytime a player is near the sidelines. They always would do that when a cross was about to come in, and you wanted to see who was in the box. And while I'm on it, I hate the crawl at the bottom of ESPN2 as well. In 90 mins you see the same stupid headline about 50 times.

  11. Cary Nelson, May 30, 2010 at 5:26 p.m.

    I agree the first half defense looked very weak at best, i think it was a problem with the roles/responsibilities. this type of thing often happens, when the players are not totally familiar with each other. My bigger concern is we have to put the best eleven players on the field. So, Torres and Edu have to be in the starting eleven. So, I think we have to change the formation. Here is my starting eleven: Timmy in goal, LB-DMB CB-Captain America CB Gooch RB Stevie LM Landy in the center, a triangle, Torres and Edu with Jr. slotted behind them out wide right demps. Up top, all alone, Jozy. At halftime, make the double switch, Jozy out Finley or Gomez and Holden in for which ever of the mids not performing up to the task. If Gooch is not on point then it's Demerit in his spot. This is our best chance against England.

  12. Linda Price, May 30, 2010 at 7:50 p.m.

    Ditto for me. Torres and Findley in starting 11 for sure. @Scott Ludwig: same reaction to Torres. I have liked his play for a while now. His confidence and composure on the ball is excellent. And yes, Harkes. Not only does he gab a lot, he gabs a lot about random stuff when players are getting close to goal... I have to mute the TV! Please ESPN, do something about it!

  13. Pat Berry, May 30, 2010 at 10:54 p.m.

    I'm curious...How many goals would England have scored in the first half of that game? I couldn't believe how many shots Turkey missed on what were essentially open goals...Our defensive line in the first half played about like a lot of U16 boys teams I saw this spring in AYSO. All Turkey had to do was to take the ball to the goal line, and every defender we had ran as a group towards the ball, leaving unmarked attackers coming into the 18 and planting themselves while waiting for a drop pass...Yes, we looked better in second half...but then again, we couldn't have looked much worse than we did the first half...I hope somebody said "Thank you." to the team from Turkey...They gave our fans a gift.

  14. Kenneth Elliott, May 30, 2010 at 11:40 p.m.

    I don't understand the animosity toward John Harkes. In the first half yesterday he was the only thing from the U.S. that was doing their job properly. I've listened to commentators for over 40 years in american football, basketball, and soccer, and rarely do the over priced talking heads provide even a modicum of serviceable output when they expound on the action on the field of play, or on their interpretation of what's going on. Rare is the color commentator who is really worth listening to. I don't care what they may have done as a player or a coach, it rarely, almost never, translates into ability to speak to the game correctly. The most surprising thing to me over the past several years has been the British commentators for Sky discussing what they think they see during games in the EPL. Quite frankly, none of them know their arse from their derriere. It drives me bonkers, knowing that they're getting paid, A LOT, to talk about the game they get to watch for free. John Harkes, on the other hand, knew what he was talking about. Everything he said was spot on. His interpretations of the game, of how the U.S. were playing, their tactics, their shortcomings were exactly right. I was mildly surprised to find myself actually agreeing with the color commentator for the first time in I don't know how long. I can't believe he's not going to be doing the job for us during the World Cup. The overpaid, overstuffed blokes who will be covering the games will be a waste of time, effort, and money. I already know I won't be listening to them much, more likely cussing at them for how incredibly stupid what they say will be. It's a given.

  15. Gene Jay, May 31, 2010 at 10:25 a.m.

    I agree with Kenneth; Harkes speaks well, albeit perhaps a little too much. But very insightful and not overly critical. He knows the players well on both sides, such as strengths/weaknesses, what club they play for etc. I learned a lot about the Turkey players as they game went on. Lalas on the other hand is quite the idiot. He throws up his hands and pouts at every 1/2 time since last WC. Other than a 1 liner about the obvious shortcomings of the back line, he has NOTHING!!!

  16. Tom G, May 31, 2010 at 12:08 p.m.

    I was at game then looked at tape and Harkes was quite accurate in his observation. Refreshing and nice to hear from a retired guy. I gather ESPN is pushing the chatter.

  17. Jim Hougan, May 31, 2010 at 1:07 p.m.

    Torres. If Bradley can't see it, he should try baseball or curling.

  18. Alex G. Sicre, May 31, 2010 at 2:57 p.m.

    Torres, great on the ball, steady, no panic, brilliant.

  19. Paul Sheirich, May 31, 2010 at 10:31 p.m.

    My 2 cents:
    Daddy Bradley's biggest problem is the D, and he's really done nothing to solve the problem for 4 years.

    Daddy Bradley's 2nd biggest problem is with how he uses everyone (& who is on the field) because he is trying to keep his son in at all times.

    The way to keep Donovan active & with the ball is in the center of the field as an attacking player rather than the wing. He certainly can be effective there but as a striker or attacking mid, he'll be more effective.

    I actually kind of like the idea of Dempsey up top, but NONE of them know how to move to create & fill space, or slant to create a slot for a through ball. Watch the game again. they either stand there, or run straight up & down the field. And then here comes Bradely running straight into already crowded space. Very uncreative, poor & boring soccer really. Every once in a while they get some great combinations & runs, and then suddenly look dangerous. They looked the best in the Confederations Cup last year (uh, when M. Bradley was NOT playing).

    Hope we get out of the 1st round!

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