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The United States Men’s soccer team defeated Turkey 2-1 Sunday in a game played at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The team has now won both of their games since Jurgen Klinsmann’s controversial decision to leave Landon Donavon off the 23-man World Cup roster.
This was the US’s second of three friendly matches that they will play in preparation for the World Cup. It has been noted by several soccer analysts that none of the three teams America has and will face in their series of friendlies will be competing in the World Cup themselves. The weak schedule - consisting of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria - has brought concerns that the team is not being properly prepared to face the likes of Germany and Portugal.
Turkey is still a formidable team however, and the US did show glimpses that they could be a dangerous team in Brazil. The first goal of the game was a gem, coming in the 26th minute. Fabian Johnson beautifully struck a volley off of a perfect pass from Michael Bradley, giving Johnson his first international goal.
Turkey battled throughout the game however, and it took a fortunate Clint Dempsey tap-in goal to secure the 2-1 for the home side. Despite winning, the US left much to be desired, playing sloppy defense at times. Several players did not play well, particularly the defense, and The New York Times gave a rating of each player’s performance.
The team will have one more chance to figure things out before heading to Brazil, when they play Nigeria on June 16. Klinsmann will have to find a way to stop the defensive breakdowns that nearly cost them against Turkey. Turkey did not have players with enough skill to make the US pay for some of their mistakes, but the teams the US will be facing in the World Cup certainly do.
Most people are not giving the US much of a chance in what has been deemed “the group of death,” with Germany and Portugal being ranked second and third in FIFA’s World Rankings.
However, the US does have a world class goalie in Tim Howard, who has shown the ability to bailout poor defenses throughout his career. Howard will almost certainly have to pull off a few spectacular saves if the US is going to have a chance of slowing down the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Thomas Muller.
In the meantime, the US just needs to worry about having a better performance against Nigeria than they did Turkey.