(Philadelphia, PA) - Despite a slow first half the U.S. National Soccer Team defeated Turkey 2-1 in their final international friendly on Saturday afternoon. This was the final match before the squad heads to South Africa for this summer's World Cup and the first since the final 23-man roster was set on Wednesday.
A crowd of just under 68,000 filled Lincoln Financial Field with the raucous intensity the team expects to see in South Africa. Coming into the match the U.S. was 4-1 in their final friendly before a World Cup.
Turkey struck first in the 27th minute as midfielder Arda Turan broke off a mis-directed run by American Jonathan Spector a connected on a shot that evaded the charging U.S. goalie Tim Howard.
Despite failing to qualify for this summer's World Cup the Turks did start most of their international squad and pressured the U.S. National Team for most of the first half. Howard faced many rushes and lucked out on a missed shot by Tuncay Sanli just before the 45th minute to keep the lead at one going into half.
After some roster shuffling by U.S. head coach Bob Bradley the team responded. In the 46th minute. Bradley subbed in Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, José Francisco Torres and Robbie Findley to help the team spread the field.
The move worked as the newly inserted Findley connected with Landon Donovan at around the 15-meter line to set up the first goal. Donovan triggered a strike into Turkeys defense crossing up Turkish goaltender Volkan Demirel and sent a soft pass to U.S's Jozy Altidore for the equalizer.
Both teams pressured and had opportunities but incredible showings by both goaltenders kept the match close. It wasn't until the 75th that the U.S. took the edge as midfielder Clint Dempsey connected on a cross from Donovan to give the team the 2-1 lead.
Donovan was the all-star for the U.S. squad way beyond his two assists. Donovan connected on several set positions and corner kicks that could have seen the back of the net.
The U.S has one more tune-up match before the start of the World Cup on June 11th. They will face Australia on June 5th in Roodepoort, South Africa.
The first official match for the U.S. squad will take place on June 12th as they take on heavily favored England at Royal Bafokeng Stadium. The match can be seen live on ABC at 2:30 ET.
- Jozy Altidore (59)
- Clint Dempsey (75)
-Arda Turan (27)
United States- Ricardo Clark (41)
Turkey- Mehmet Topal (57), Gokhan Zon (90)