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Johnson, Dempsey goals give U.S. 2-1 win over Turkey

Jun 1, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

fabian_johnson Getty Images

If Tuesday’s performance was the warm up, Sunday’s at Red Bull Arena saw the U.S. ease its 2014 World Cup preparation out of neutral. Overcoming a slow start with Fabian Johnson’s first half opener, a U.S. team that waited until late to defeat Azerbaijan earlier this week avoided similar problems against Turkey. Adding a second half goal from Clint Dempsey, Jurgen Klinsmann’s side produced a 2-1 win over the world’s 39th-ranked team, taking another step in its buildup for Brazil.

Turkey produced the match’s first good chance in the 13th minute when Nuri Sahin went off Tim Howard‘s left post. Twelve minutes later, however, a ranging give-and-go between Johnson and Michael Bradley saw the U.S. defender burst past the Turkey back line for the game’s first goal. Just after halftime, a failed Turkey clearance on a ball from Timothy Chandler allowed captain Clint Dempsey to double the lead from two yards out.

A giveaway from 90th minute by Chandler led to a Geoff Cameron hand ball after Mustafa Pektemek was allowed to go in alone on goal. Selcuk Inan’s conversion into the left side netting heightened the stoppage time tension, but the Turks only goal proved consolation for their 2-1 loss.

(MORE: Three things that could matter for the U.S., come Brazil)

The United States concludes its send-off series Saturday, June 7, against World Cup-qualified Nigeria in Jacksonville. Nine days later, the team begins the 2014 World Cup in Natal against Ghana.

Twelve minutes of relatively even play at the beginning of the match gave way to a Turkey chance after Geoff Cameron conceded a foul deep on the U.S.’s right. After the restart was cleared, play moving from Turkey’s left to the middle of the box found Nuri Sahin near the penalty spot. With the U.S. defense slow to respond, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder put his shot off the outside of the right post, giving the hosts an early reprieve.

In the 21st minute, after a spell of play left the U.S. on the verge of conceding, a turnover created by Michael Bradley nearly produced the opener. Winning a ball just inside Turkey’s half, Bradley created a 3-on-2 in transition against the visitors’ defense. A pass played wide to Altidore and back to Bradley saw the U.S. barely miss goal when a defender’s lunge caught a ball headed toward Kivrak’s far post.

Four minutes later, after gaining their first hold on the match, the U.S. was in front. Starting his team’s movement from 40 yards out, right back Fabian Johnson found Bradley just above the arc and continued his run into the penalty area. A lob over the defense allowed the new Borussia Moechengladbach player to one-time his shot into the left side of goal, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

With its play higher up the field proving more effective, the U.S. played out the rest of the half with few of the defensive worries that speckled the match’s first 20 minutes. Even after the goal, the half’s best chance fell to the U.S., with Clint Dempsey sent on a breakaway toward Kivrak’s goal. Tackled at the edge of the penalty area by Ozan Tufan, the U.S. captain was left appealing for a penalty as play went back the other way.

In the 52nd minute, however, Turkey gave Dempsey his goal. On a ball sent in from the left from Timothy Chandler, a failed clearance from Hakan Balta left the ball just outside goal for the U.S. captain. Getting his right foot to it before Kivrak could get down for the ball, Dempsey unwrapped his gift to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.

After securing its lead, the U.S. settled into a substitute routine that started at halftime, with Brad Guzan, John Brooks, and Kyle Beckerman brought on for the game’s final 45 minutes. Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin would come on just after the hour-mark, with Jurgen Klinsmann selecting Mix Diskerud for this final sb in the 69th minute.

Along the way, Turkey nearly pulled a goal back in the 61st minute only to see Brad Guzan shut down a 1-on-1. Other half chances through the problematic left side of the U.S.’s defense were thwarted, with the visitors never adopting the intensity of a team pursuing a meaningful result. Even after a Chandler was caught on the ball 30 yards out, a giveaway that produced the game’s final goal, Turkey fail to summon the desperation needed to find its equalizing goal

The reason for that is obvious enough. For Turkey, the game didn’t mean much. For the U.S., however the performance was all about progress, and while the team may not be ready for June 16 right now, it still showed improvement from Tuesday night. Against a much more talented team, the U.S. produced a slightly more convincing result.

The attack did little after being handed a second goal, but in terms to the U.S. trajectory toward Brazil, Sunday represented a move in the right direction. Particularly at the back, a number of questions went unanswered, but seven days from now against Nigeria, the team gets its next chance to offer a response.


United States: Howard (Guzan 46′); Johnson (Yedlin 64′), Cameron, Besler (Brooks 46′), Chandler; Zusi (Diskerud 69′), Jones (Beckerman 46′), Bradley, Davis (Green 64′); Altidore, Dempsey

Goals: Johnson 26′, Dempsey 52′

Turkey: Kivrak, Balta (Demirok 83′), Dogan (Ozek 46′), Gonul, Inan, Erdinç (Kisa 80′), Sahin (Çalhanoğlu 70′), Ozyakup (Adin 66′), Tufan, Erkin, Camdal (Pektemek 64′)

Goal: Inan 90′

  1. lanzurrah - Jun 1, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Chandler looked awful. This defense….eeeesh.

    • jdfsquared - Jun 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Man, except for that giveaway that was an obvious flub from the get go, the back line looked pretty solid to me after the first few minutes. I thought they came together nicely and repelled pretty much every chance. It was the miscommunications in the central midfield that kept putting the lid on buildups. Little anticipatory touches that just went the wrong way. But Cameron, Besler and Johnson (and Chandler for the most part) took care of business.

      • braxtonrob - Jun 1, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        @jdfsquared, I agree with you, except I thought Chandler, overall, was horrible.

        Chandler plays fantastic when he’s around the ball, but I can’t even think of the last time I saw a US player play their positioning this badly. If he doesn’t want to play on the back line, he shouldn’t even be on the roster.
        Brooks (and Yedlin), however, looked very good to me, as well as every other defender.
        It’s going to take at least another week for this back line to mesh, but it won’t happen at all with Chandler out there; time to bring back Beasley to the starting 11.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jun 1, 2014 at 6:40 PM

        Chandler had another giveaway on a slack back pass and got torched on a diagonal ball where he was nowhere near wide enough and was very slow to read what was happening. That’s all in the second half alone, wouldn’t call that taking care of business.

        The defense was not solid at any point of this match, they were bailed out repeatedly by Guzan and/or bad finishing.

  2. lanzurrah - Jun 1, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Brooks looked really good. After Yedlin settled down he had a pretty good game. If this is Portugal or Germany…we may have conceded 4 goals today with how bad the left side of the back line played today.

  3. el timo - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Chandler’s poor positioning as a backline defender is scary, and has definitely left our WC opponents licking their chops. We’ll have to start Beasley, and probably Bedoya, to shore up that side, and hope that Dempsey and Bradley can force some offense around the left side. That’s what you lose without Chandler and Davis. If Beasley went down, we might even be better off with Johnson on the left and Yedlin on the right..

  4. patriotsdefense - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    The defense didn’t do a good job, but still I thought the Full Backs played pretty well all things considered.

    Johnson played pretty solid. Chandler had an up and down game. When he got tired his played deteriorated. His positioning broke down. Then the 88th minute mistake ruined his performance. Obviously, the problem today was the all too frequent chances given up, mostly up the middle. The Center Back pairing is going to doom this squad. I think they should try a third combo on Saturday. Maybe Cameron and Brooks to start.

  5. mknow406a - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    I seem to sense a TON of left over Chandler resentment. Don’t forget, he is a RB. In fact, the LAST time he played LB was against Honduras. His recovery speed was fantastic today… that he needed it so often, that’s a different story. Chandler is an ‘in demand’ Bundesliga RB… There is a reason that JK is not making Yedlin compete with Chandler for RB depth. Yedlin is the RB of the future, but he is not Bundesliga quality YET.

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