(Sunday, May 30, 2010) -- The United States men recovered from a dismal first half to come from behind and defeat Turkey 2-1 in the Americans' final domestic friendly prior the World Cup before 55,405 yesterday at Philadelphia Lincoln Financial Field.
U.S. Player Ratings
Two weeks before it opens the World Cup against England, the U.S. was a mess in the first half. The defense was disorganized, the attack was largely absent and the midfield had problems with Turkey's pace. The result was a 1-0 lead for the Turkish.
Five second-half substitutes and some reorganization solved the problems, leading to a pair of goals and a tightened defense.
Reserve striker Robbie Findley started the comeback when he took a long bass from the back and ofted a pass to midfielder Landon Donovan running alone in the right-center of the Turkish penalty area. When goalkeeper Volkan Demirel came charging out, Donovan went around him and crossed to unmarked forward Jozy Altidore for a five-yard finish into an empty net for a 1-1 tie in the 58th minute.
Donovan seemed energized in the second half and he set up the winner, taking a right-side throw-in, carrying laterally and feeding attacker Clint Dempsey approaching the top left center of the box. Deempsey controlled, forced his way past defender Sabri Sarioglu and shot under Demirel for a 2-1 lead in the 75 th minute.
Defenders Oguchi Onyewu and Steve Churundolo came in after the break to present an all-veteran back-line that played well together and gave up almost nothing.
Findley and midfielder Jose Torres came off the bench to help set the offense right. Findley, with his pace on the front line, took the pressure off Altidore. It also allowed Dempsey to drop deeper into a more natural attacking midfield role.
Torres moved into the middle, allowing Donovan to push further out on the right where he seemed happier.
Even with the victory, some lingering questions seem to be answered. The Americans have a remaining friendly against Australia Saturday in South Africa before opening June 12 against England in the World Cup.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 5.5:. Had trouble marshaling his defense in the first half, but was not called on to do much.
Defender Jonathan Spector - 4.5: A poor 45 minutes. He had problems with the pace and seemed to be chasing the match at critical times.
Defender Jay DeMerit - 5.5: Went the full 90 and that was a big plus. Made few errors and had a solid outing, again a very positive development and one that points to a starting role against England in two weeks.
Defender Clarence Goodson - 5.5: A satisfactory half which cemented the idea he can start or fill in the middle of the defense, as needed.
Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 6: Solid on defense and able to push forward, making a solid bid to be the left-side starter in South Africa.
Midfielder Ricardo Clark - 5: Did not make much of an impression in his half of play. Did not add much to the offense and did not link up well with those in front of him..
Midfielder Michael Bradley - 5.5: Solid enough as a holding midfielder, had a better second half after the back-line solidified.
Midfielder Landon Donovan - 6: Largely absent over the first half, he came on strong after intermission when he pushed out to the right side to duplicate the role he filled at Everton in the English Premier League this past season. He needs someone strong in the middle because when he feels he must push into the center, he loses effectiveness.
Midfielder Benny Feilhaber - 5: He does not appear to be the answer as a holding midfielder. Was caught out of possession several times, including on the Turkish goal.
Forward Clint Dempsey - 6.5: Started as a withdrawn striker, but was much more effective over the final 45 when playing behind a pair of forwards, providing a determined game-winner.
Forward Jozy Altidore - 6: By himself in the first half, he was not able to create much. But with Findley over the final 45 minutes, he was able to get free and had a much more solid outing, including a tap-in goal.
Defender Oguchi Onyewu (46th minute for Goodson) - 6: Seemed more settled then his 90-minute return from a serious knee injury Tuesday against the Czech Republic . Was not called on to win aerial duels and ranged well from side to side. .
Defender Steve Churundolo (46th minute for Spector) - 6: Came on to solve one of the U.S.'s big first-half problems. Rarely out of position or in trouble.
Forward Robbie Findley (46th minute for Feilhaber) - 6: The saying is you can't teach pace and Findley, who is on the squad because he is very fast, showed what an advantage it can be.
Midfielder Jose Torres (46th minute for Clark) - 6: Over the final 45 minutes, he recorded his best appearance in the U.S. uniform. Truly ran the show from the middle and made a big statement that he should be on the field in South Africa.
Defender Jonathan Bornstein (75th minute for Bocanegra) - 4: In a short appearance, he made two glaring errors of a kind that can't happen at this level.
Midfielder Stuart Holden (81st minute for Altidore) - 5.5 A short appearance in which he helped kill off the match.
SoccerTimes Player of the Match: Clint Dempsey.