U.S. raise World Cup hopes with win over Turkey
HARRISON, New Jersey - The United States continued their solid build-up to the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Turkey on Sunday, raising expectations of a good showing in Brazil.
Defender Fabian Johnson combined with Michael Bradley to score a superbly executed goal in the first half before Clint Dempsey added a second after the re-start.
Turkey, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, got a consolation goal in the last minute of normal time when Selcuk Inan converted a penalty after Geoff Cameron was ruled to have handled the ball in the box.
"Overall, I thought it was good, open game," said U.S. head coach Juergen Klinsmann.
"I think, defensively, especially in the first half, we needed to make some corrections at halftime, we need to close the gaps a bit better and we still have some work ahead of us.
"But overall, it was a good game to watch ... and you can tell that everybody is getting more and more excited about the World Cup."
Turkey were unlucky not to score earlier when their captain Nuri Sahin hit the post in the first half but had difficulty containing the Americans as the match went on.
Playing in front of a full house at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, the U.S. had anxious moments in defence, allowing the European side to breach their last line on a handful of occasions, but held firm and looked sharp in attack despite having just finished a gruelling training period.
"This is all normal, it's all part of the process," Klinsmann said.
"We are comfortable with every position, that we have top quality players to get the job done.
"The fine-tuning element is coming along, it's getting better, it's not there where we want it, but we're working on it."
U.S. forward Jozy Altidore had an early goal disallowed for making contact with the Turkish goalkeeper Onur Recep Kivrak before Johnson gave the home team the lead with a spectacular goal in the 26th minute.
Bradley, the heartbeat of the American team, deftly flicked the ball over the Turkish defence into the path of Johnson who hit a perfect left-foot volley into the net for his first international goal.
Dempsey gave the Americans a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute with a typical poacher's goal, poking the ball in after Kivrak fumbled Timmy Chandler's cross from the left.
Turkey got on the scoreboard in the dying moments after a mix-up in the American defence. Cameron lost the ball to Mustafa Pektemek and failed to get his arm out of the way when the Turkish substitute rifled his shot at the goal to concede a penalty.
The U.S. beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in San Francisco last week and have one more warm-up, against Nigeria in Florida on Saturday, before heading to Brazil.
The Americans are drawn in Group G with Germany, Portugal and Ghana for the World Cup, starting in just over a week.
"I believe they (the U.S.) can do a very good job at the World Cup," Turkey coach Fatih Terim said, speaking through a translator.
"They are a solid team with good players and I have a lot of confidence in Juergen Klinsmann." (Editing by Ed Osmond)