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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 29, 2010

Soccer: Altidore, Dempsey gave US 2-1 win over Turkey


RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey scored second-half goals, giving the United States a 2-1 exhibition win over Turkey on Saturday in the Americans' last game before leaving for the World Cup.

Arda Turan put the Turks ahead in the 27th minute on a counterattack after right back Jonathan Spector was dispossessed upfield.

Altidore tied the score in the 58th minute and Dempsey put the U.S. ahead in the 75th, exciting a red-white-and-blue clad crowd of 55,407 at Lincoln Financial Field. The U.S. team took its time leaving the pitch, acknowledging fans at both ends of the stadium.

The Americans leave Sunday for South Africa and meet Australia in a final exhibition on June 5, one week before their World Cup opener against England.

"I think we accomplished everything that we would have wanted here," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "The type of game we were in today pushed them very hard."

Dempsey was paired at forward with Altidore in the first half, then dropped back to midfield when Robbie Findley replaced midfielder Benny Feilhaber at the start of the second. Findley's speed helped give life to an American attack that lagged, and Landon Donovan played with far more assertiveness in the second 45 minutes to help create both goals.

Bradley said the U.S. responded well to being a goal down, and he wasn't concerned about Donovan. "Landon's experienced and he's smart," the coach said. "So he's not going to use up all his energy. He's going to read the game."

When it was time to push, Donovan knew it, he said.

Dempsey nearly got another goal in the 87th, putting an open shot off a post after Michael Bradley cut the ball back.

Steve Cherundolo replaced Spector at the start of the second half, one of four substitutions the Americans then.

After using primarily backups in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic and finalizing his 23-man roster a day later, coach Bradley tried something approaching a first-choice lineup against the Turks, a 2002 World Cup semifinalist who failed to qualify for this year's tournament.

Turan scored after Spector made a run deep upfield from his right back position only to lose the ball. Colin Kazim-Richards' long through ball found Turan open as Spector couldn't catch up. Goalkeeper Tim Howard came out, and Turan slotted the ball in from near the top of the penalty area.

"It's about a team reaction when the ball turns over," Bradley said.

While Spector has played right back for the U.S., he was a left back for West Ham in the latter part of this season after Herita Ilunga's calf injury, and he struggled.

The U.S. tied the score on a play that began when defender Jay DeMerit sent a long ball to Findley, who entered at the start of the second half. He sent the ball to Donovan, who sprinted down the right side and rounded goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, pulling him off his line. Donovan crossed to Altidore, who banged the ball into the open net from 5 yards for his ninth goal in 25 international appearances.

Cherundolo started the move toward the second goal with a throw-in. Donovan crossed to Dempsey who fought off Sabri Sarioglu with an arm and scored from about 10 yards.

Dempsey and Altidore didn't combine well until the 43rd minute, when Altidore broke free on the right with a nice move to get free, but his cross led the open Dempsey a little too much and rolled by.

Altidore was playing his first match since April 24, when he received a red card playing for Hull after giving Sunderland's Alan Hutton a head butt because the defender threw the ball at him.

DeMerit started in central defense, his first appearance following an abdominal strain that had sidelined him since April 17. Captain Carlos Bocanegra was shifted to left back from center, the spot he occupied at the Confederations Cup last summer. It was his first match since sports hernia surgery on May 5.

Clarence Goodson played the first half at central defender and Oguchi Onyewu the second. On Tuesday, Onyewu was slow to react against the Czechs but he looked better Saturday. They were his first two games since tearing his left patellar tendon on Oct. 14 in the final World Cup qualifier.

While regulars Bradley and Ricardo Clark started in the central midfield, Donovan started on the right with Benny Feilhaber on the left before they switched midway through the first half. When Dempsey dropped back, Donovan moved back to the right.