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USA-Turkey rewind

Sorry for the delay. The Cracker Barrel at the Delaware-Maryland border beckoned.

What we learned from the United States' 2-1 victory over Turkey in front of more than 55,000 at Lincoln Financial Field:

*The backline against England should be Carlos Bocanegra on the left, Jay DeMerit and, assuming he is fully fit, Oguchi Onyewu in the middle, with Steve Cherundolo on the right. Yes, Cherundolo. Jonathan Spector was chasing the game -- and chasing Turks -- the entire first half. He wasn't solely responsible for Turkey's goal; after making a run to the penalty area, no one (Ricardo Clark?) covered for him when the Turks countered. Cherundolo, consistent and reliable, had a good game Tuesday against the Czechs and was solid in the second half in place of Spector on Saturday.

*Jose Torres' complete performance in the second half -- his best display in 19 months of national team service -- thrust him into contention for a starting role against England. Although I still believe that Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu will end up in central midfield on June 12, Torres exhibited the confidence, touch and bite that Bob Bradley and U.S. supporters have been longing to see. Any doubts about Torres' understanding of international soccer's demands were put to rest. Said Landon Donovan: "He is a calming influence. We were too hectic on the ball in the first half and he settled us a little bit." [To see video of all of Torres' touches, click here.]

*Face it: Bradley made the right decision to include Robbie Findley on the 23-man roster. Is the RSL forward going to start against England? No. He might only play 25 minutes in the entire group stage, but that could be enough time to change a match with pace and pressure. The chip he lifted to Donovan that led to the equalizer was sublime.

*Donovan seemed to grow impatient during the first half, and instead of staying wide to broaden the attack, he drifted inside and left the Americans with essentially a 50-yard-wide field to navigate. It exposed them to Arda Turan's left-side raids. In the second half, Donovan stayed wide and became more involved. Said Bradley: "Landon is experienced and smart, so he is not going to use up all his energy in the first half. He is going to read the game and then see how things develop and know then at what times to push. That speaks to his intelligence as a player."

So if Donovan is most effective on the right -- the position he played for Everton -- does Stuart Holden become a second-half option? And where does Clint Dempsey belong: on the left, up front, or withdrawn?

Read my match report here. Watch the highlights:


By Steve Goff  |  May 30, 2010; 1:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Landon Donovan, United States men's national soccer team, World Cup  
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Comments

Surely the jury is still out on Findley. He played well today, it was a warm-up. A sublime pass it was and huge it may be with regards to this game giving the team proper momentum heading to South Africa. But Ching-- and his service for the team-- deserves better than us just accepting the Findley decision this soon. History will decide best, as it always does.

Posted by: Adam_S_ | May 30, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

"The Cracker Barrel at the Delaware-Maryland border beckoned."

Who can resist?

Re: Findley. Once he realizes he's faster than most other players, he'll calm down. Once he calms down he'll hopefully realize that sometimes a few feet of space is all you need to send a cross in or bring the ball back. to Landycakes.

Time will tell, but I like what I saw.

Posted by: delantero | May 30, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

I actually am of the mind that Findley must and probably will start for the US to be effective. Bradley learned a lot from having a guy like Davies to play off Altidore, which opened up a lot of space for Donovan and Dempsey, our two most important players going forward. Now, is Findley as good/somewhat as polished as Davies was? No...but I think it was obvious today that Robbie's runs and speed going at Turkey's defenders opened things up quite a bit for us. We were static and predictable going forward in the first without that mobility - I don't see the point of waiting 45-60 minutes to bring on Findley, possibly being down a goal, for the US to put themselves in the position where they can dictate the game.

Posted by: ZidVicious | May 30, 2010 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Adam S makes a good point, but even I'll concede that Findley was a lot better than I expected. A year ago, I would have expected something like that from Findley, but his play for the USMNT before today's game was terrible. He's got a lot of talent and even more potential, and a good showing might get some nibbles from Europe. Torres was also a revelation for me. His best outing in a USA kit. Best part of it is it probably means we don't see Feilhaber, who has been really disappointing over the last year. BEating Turkey -- even in a friendly -- is big. The're probably better team than either Algeria or Slovenia.

Posted by: fischy | May 30, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

1. I like Landy on the right with Dempsey on the left, able to cut in and launch from distance if necessary
2. I agree with Zid--looking back over the past year, one thing that has become obvious is that the US needs a striker with speed (not converted midfielder) to open things up. And as little as Findley has really shown, he might be the best (only) option.
3. If Spector still gets the nod over 'Dolo, I quit.

Posted by: JayW4 | May 30, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I find the idea that B. Ching "deserves better" than us "just accepting" the decision to include Finley utterly bizarre. There was no betrayal. We haven't dumped one girl to date another, or executed some other change of social alliance. Would it really make Ching feel better if we all pouted re Finley? Is our loyalty to the national team of the previous World Cup, to the one that was at the Confed Cup, or is it simply to the National Team? The whole tenor of the comment just seems odd to me.

The national team coach chose a different player than we expected, and on his first time on the pitch after the decision he showed you why the decision was made. Seems like end of story. Heck, it was end of story even before Finley's performance.

Posted by: glfrazier | May 30, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I thought Clark was very poor yesterday. If Bradley insists on going more defensive, he needs to play Edu.

Man of the match yesterday was Torres. I'm just not sure how his size would hold up in a game vs England.

Posted by: Hoost | May 30, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Could have been down 3-0 in the first 15 minutes if Turkey's finishing was better. Unacceptable lapses in the back throughout the game that can not happen at a World Cup. Our good defenders are slow and old by international standards and the youth are always caught out of position. I have serious concerns about our d losing games for us.

Posted by: csd1 | May 30, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I really liked Findley, even though he has a tendency to run out of space and off the field with the ball sometimes. A little coaching, more practices, more exposure against strong opponents, and we could have a really good player.

Posted by: InMaryland | May 30, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I have serious concerns about our d losing games for us.

If your feeling too bad about our back line, just remember that Agoos played about 240 minutes in a tough group stage for us in 2002, and we still made it out of the group.

OT: Did anyone else see the news that Pachuca picked up Marco Vidal on a loan. Can their acquisition of Castillo be far behind?

Posted by: BooThisMan | May 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Some things I took away from this match:

Dolo did better than Spector and should start.

Gooch is getting fitter and should start

Dempsey did better when he was on the wing, but it looked a lot like rust coming off in the first half.

Torres deserves to start. He played tough, smart and with skill. Sit whoever. I think Bradley, if it were up to me. Thus Dempsey, Torres, Edu and Donovan (left to right) would be my midfield. I don't see why Clark rates over Edu.

We were much better in the second half but Turkey really carved us up with our midfield constantly caught too far away from the defense and leaving a lot of space.

Findley was OK, his pass was beautiful.

Beating Turkey coming from behind is huge morale boost and will give confidence going forward. Look out England!

Posted by: RRP1 | May 30, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

To continue:

Feilhaber doesn't belong, especially compared with Torres

Bornstein was again torched routinely, why is he on the squad? Priority #1 for US Soccer, develop left backs

Posted by: RRP1 | May 30, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I think we learned that Dempsey is most definitely starting on the left and Donovan on the right, they were beast in those positions, especially with Boca to stay at home for Deuce and Cherundolo to overlap for Donovan.

I agree that it should be Bradley and Edu to start, because Torres makes teams gasp when he is substituted on. Bob made some comment, however, that he wanted to "not give anything away," as in he thinks Clark and Bradley make it impossible for the other team to score. It could have been 3-0 at half, Bob, and the only chances for Turkey in the second were Bornstein made.

As for Findley, don't know where your skill came from, don't care. Keep it up.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 30, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

England 2 Japan 1

Japan scored all three goals.

Posted by: BooThisMan | May 30, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Demerit, Spector (Spectator), and Bornstein have no business being on the USMNT. None!

Posted by: boda-united | May 30, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The jury is still out on the center mid battle. Though, it is Torres v Edu. Clark does the same thing as Bradley -only worse. Our midfield is way to flat when Bradley and Clark pair together. Torres put on a clinic last night. The question we need to ask: Is he ready for the pace and physicality England will bring?

Even though Torres could be worked in to the 11 by switching to a 4-5-1 I would recommend against it. This formation would isolate Altidore and force our midfield to sit way to deep, inviting pressure. We have to play with a second striker.

I think we should start Dempsey and Donovan on the wings. Holden is good enough to be in the starting 11 but he can be a great impact sub. We need to have someone truly productive able to come off the bench and change the dynamics of the game. I think Holden is our man. I think Torres will be a great sub in the England game and a possible starter against Slovenia and Algeria.

Posted by: grubbsbl | May 30, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

What's up with Matt Brooks saying this:

""After a lucky lottery draw that landed a pair of my adopted team's games -- still Italy --""

Adopted team? You don't adopt a National Team. You have ONE, and it should be Red, White and Blue. Adopted? Please.

Posted by: delantero | May 30, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

What glfrazier said - every, single, word.

BB made the call - Findley in, Ching out. BB has a plan and the team showed glimpses of it and it was for the good. Decision's made, we move on. Thank you for coming. Good night and good luck.

Now they do their job and we do ours - we support our team. The 2010 USMNT.

Posted by: Kosh2 | May 30, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

A key reason for the second half turnaround was Torres. He brought a two-way spark to a USA midfield that has been lacking it. Why sit this guy? His size? It doesn't matter in central midfield as much as skill and talent.

Has Bradley told his troops that when one of their fullbacks goes on the attack to the oppenent's penalty area, somebody must fall back to cover that fullback's position? Normally, this is the duty of the wide midfielder on the fullback's side of the field. But with Dempsey and Donovan on the flanks -- neither has ever seen an attack they wouldn't join -- the duty falls to a central midfielder. Whoever was closer, Clark or Bradley, should have filled the hole left by Spector's one-dribble-too-far run. The failure to fill created Turkey's goal.

Let's hope Findley's form continues. His chip to Donovan was sublime. His wide, deep runs took defenders out of position.

Posted by: runningcloud | May 30, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I go for the country fried steak at Cracker Barrel. If it's breakfast, I get it with eggs and a side of grits. Yes, grits.

Findley did well, but just ran out of room on two of his runs. If he adjusts, he will be very dangerous.

If we get into a situation where we're on top of group C going into game 3, and we don't want to face D2 in the next stage, then we should start Bornstein.

Brooks is an Italian name, right?

RE: Matt Brooks. I don't want to complain about the Post's soccer coverage, but if I wanted to read about an Italy fan's experience, I'd web-translate some Italian website. I want coverage of the US of A.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 30, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

You guys have said just about everything I could about this game, so I'll leave it be.


Did anyone see Preston Burpo's injury last night? I skipped the next 30 seconds in the highlight package on the MLS website for fear they might show replays... Thoughts and prayers with him.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | May 30, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

This might explain Brad Friedel and Madonna.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

England had goals from Tanaka and Nakazawa, while Germany had goals from Gomes and Cacau. Good to know the English can't score on their own, while it's interesting to note that this German Mannschaft ain't your Dadd's Mannschaft.

Posted by: fischy | May 30, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Findley is that he just puts his head down and dashes to the end line. Then he's stuck. He made one great pass and did keep their defenders occupied. But he needs to work better with his teammates.

I agree Torres needs to be out there. Will BB be willing to sit MB down? Why not Edu and Torres in central midfield?

Posted by: fedssocr | May 30, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Will BB be willing to sit MB down?"

NO

Posted by: csd1 | May 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I guess I watched a different game. Besides the goal, Dempsey seemed lost. The second half was much better for the team. Lets win this cup!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | May 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

""RE: Matt Brooks. but if I wanted to read about an Italy fan's experience, I'd web-translate some Italian website. I want coverage of the US of A.""

I don't even mind a US fan's experience in general, but to so openly flaunt your allegiance . . with an Italy jersey no less! It is Memorial Day Weekend, after all.

Posted by: delantero | May 30, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Findley's asset comes in handy as a change of pace, and is more effective against tired legs.

I'd rather not have him start.

I would like to see Buddle/Altidore for 45 against the Aussies.

Posted by: delantero | May 30, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Torres must play. Go back and watch the last CR game in the Hex. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfzYIRYdrOA&feature=related He's the one who dug it off the CR player deep in our corner, carried it 50 yards, made a 30 yard cross to Bradley, which led to the famous tying goal. That play was a singularly amazing effort.

Torres is a blend of Reyna and Armas. Tenacious defender like Armas, but with the skill of Reyna to be the defense's outlet pass, settle, look, and get the attack started well. He does that better than any U.S. player right now, and it's why Feilheber or Edu has to sit to get him on the field.

Torres liberates Bradley to be a roving center-mid where he can do what he does best: be at the right place at the right time. Bradley scores and assists, when he's liberated from having to defend; when his tireless pace and intelligence starts to dominate the space behind the forwards.

The Torres and Bradley pairing will turn heads in SA.

Posted by: Alsatian1 | May 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Onyewu, Goff? Please. He's not ready. I wish he was, but he is not. Wayne Rooney will destroy a 80% Gooch.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | May 30, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Onyewu, Goff? Please. He's not ready. I wish he was, but he is not. Wayne Rooney will destroy a 80% Gooch.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | May 30, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

-------------

Oh yeah, just like he destroyed the own goal scoring Japanese centre backs today. People can we just let these guys play? Yes, Rooney plays for Man U and Gooch has been out for a while, but the game is not played on paper. So let's let them play and see how it pans out.

If the game was decided on paper, or by who plays for what big club side, then the US should have been the seventh placed team in last year's Confed Cup.

Posted by: Kosh2 | May 30, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Ha! I spotted myself in that photo gallery! You can also clearly see troy6 singing his heart out of the National Anthem in that photo of the crowd. :)

Posted by: DadRyan | May 30, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

super!fantastic!awesome! result against a strong turkish team. a pedestrian first-half blossomed into a world-class second half. sticking out in my mind most:
1) i am feeling significantly better about bob bradley, as he appears to be adapting. his substitutions were good other than bornstein (also, that might be a plus if it shocks him to realization), but unfortauntely we will not have 6 in world cup, so line-up choice is key. also, i like how we showed some sophistication in killing off the game at the end. we were not egregiously offensive, but we did slow things down to positive effect. also, during the run of play we forced a few throw-ins and corners when cornered, and previously we would have just been dispossessed. all that is all good coaching, and i hope to see more.
2) torres should start. clearly, he can defend/not lacking in bite, and he is so tidy and controlled on the ball. everyone benefits from his calm in possession, and it is contagious. we need that from the first minute. i think he and bradley would make a fine pair against anyone.
3) findley was quite amazing. i want to see buddle with altidore and torres against the aussies, but if doesn't bring it, findley and altidore should start. in addition to his great vision with the pass to donovan, his touch to setlle it was awesome, and he generally showed good touch and control his whole time on the field. his dribbling out of bounds looked extremely dangerous (he appeared to just outrun himself, and will figure out his new international-boosted speed very quickly), not pointless and aimless.
4) cherundolo is our best all-around defender. his calm dribbling in tight spaces, good passing, decent crossing, clever throw-ins, and solid defending make him an invaluable asset. he is money...our philipp lahm.

as of now, this is the starting lineup/formation i am hoping for against england:
-------------howard---------------
cherundolo-gooch-demerit-bocanegra
--------------bradley-------------
dempsey-------tores--------donovan
---findley (withdrawn)-altidore---

i think we can beat england, and many others with this team. looking forward to the australia game!

Posted by: dfunkt | May 30, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

um...swap donovan and dempsey. :-/

Posted by: dfunkt | May 30, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

With regard to the Delaware-Maryland border: People do know how to detour around the toll booth on the Delaware side, don't they? The Post published detailed directions some time back. It only adds a couple of miles and 3-4 minutes to the trip, and saves five bucks, IIRC.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 30, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: universityandpark | May 30, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the I-95 corridor in Delaware:

http://www.theatren.org/Films/2010/June/Looking-for-Eric

Posted by: universityandpark | May 30, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mason08 | May 30, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Before you all write off Clark, go re-watch the Spain game. He didn't get a lot of credit, but I thought (other than DeMerit) he was our most impressive player in that game--he made about 10 huge tackles in our zone where he managed to control the ball as well. I'm frankly at least as comfortable with him than Edu.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | May 30, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The other match report from yesterday:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/29/AR2010052904074.html

I wonder whether Brooks is disappointed that he didn't get the assignment to cover AC Milan on Wednesday.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 30, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Comcast will be re-broadcasting the DCU/CUSA match at 7.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 30, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Freedom are recognizing Memorial Day with their battle dress uniforms. Nice touch.

And let's all remember why we have Monday off.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 30, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Sweet goal by Moros to slot it in side the far post, especially so because the through ball was a little weak and she had to break stride.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 30, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Home no one here was waiting on the US team at Dulles, Here's the AP article on it - they went in through the out door. They have a quote from some guy who was there waiting for 4 hours!

http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ap-wcup-usdeparts

Posted by: nairbsod | May 30, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Freedom are recognizing Memorial Day with their battle dress uniforms. Nice touch.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 30, 2010 6:16 PM
__________________________________________

But would blue camouflage be of much use in the real world?

Posted by: universityandpark | May 30, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

A few odds and ends from today's Freedom match at the 'Plex:

It appeared that Whitehill was playing LB, with Marshall and Sauerbrunn in the middle. Did anyone who watched the game on FSC get an explanation for that? Speaking of which, CSN will reprise the FSC telecast Tuesday at noon:

http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/tv_listings?showdate=1275364800

There will also be a couple of rebroadcasts on FSC over the course of the week.

This being my first visit to the 'Plex this year, I noticed solid food for sale inside the beer garden for the first time. (Maybe it was there last year, but I just didn't notice it.) The large screen atop the scoreboard is useful for beer garden patrons in terms of following action near the opposite end of the pitch.

Speaking of which, they plan to show the USA-England match for free, apparently intending to attract people who are planning to stay for the Freedom game that evening. However, there will be a three-hour layover between the two games, so I'm not sure how successful that will be. Besides, as someone pointed out on this blog some time ago, the screen isn't that large. (Does anyone know how it compares to the screens that are being proposed for Dupoint Circle?)

They had a postgame party at the Rustic Oven, which I guess is the successor to Glory Days, which was the scene of similar events last year, but which closed just before the season started.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 30, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

But would blue camouflage be of much use in the real world?
Posted by: universityandpark
================

When you're trying to hide in the sky. I wore blue camo once, when I was hiding in a Picasso. Unfortunately it was Guernica and I was spotted immediately. FSC didn't explain the line-up switch, at least not when I tuned in a few minutes late.

Trifecta weekend: USA, United, and Freedom all win.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 31, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I remain skeptical of Findley as a game-changer at the 2010 WC and while that pass was very nice, it's the type of pass that almost all of our attacking options (midfielders included) should be able to make all day (the fact that they won't/don't/can't is a more frightening prospect than Findley having never scored a goal for the US). That goal was more a product of Donovan beating the defenders to the ball, his great first touch, the keeper not trusting either his defense to defend the cross forthcoming cross, or his own ability to defend his own near post (and hence his running out, leaving the goal wide open for Altidore to touch that ball home).

Still, hopefully if Bradley taps Findley as either a starter or a sub for us in any of our matches in the WC, I'm wrong and he does well for us.

Still (still), I agree with many on here that if Altidore gets injured or ejected for whatever reason, our team is going to miss Ching more than having a really fast guy as an option off the bench.

Still (still still), we probably shouldn't be picking players based on fears of hypothetical injuries or red card ejections. So I'll support Findley and hope for the best.

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | June 1, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

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