Fabian Johnson scored his first international goal and gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in their World Cup warm-up match against Turkey with the type of play they're praying to have in Brazil. Johnson laid the ball off to Michael Bradley, who lobbed a perfectly weighted pass into the box just as Johnson got there, allowing the German born fullback to slot the ball into the bottom corner.
Turkey just barely missed a few golden chances early on that could have easily put the U.S. 3-0 down before the 20th minute. Ranked 39th in the world — one spot behind the U.S.'s first World Cup group-stage opponent Ghana — Turkey are a solid team that give the U.S. a taste of what they'll face in less than two weeks, but it should be noted that they were without several of their best attacking players.
The U.S. started the match with a reshuffled back line of Timmy Chandler, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Johnson and their inexperience and disorganized quickly showed. Up top, both Clint Dempsey dazzled with flashes of skill (see his brilliant spinning nutmeg here) and Jozy Altidore, who hasn't scored for club or country since last December, looked more dangerous in the first half than he has in a while. But Jurgen Klinsmann's proactive, more free flowing attack left the team more exposed at the back, which might have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo feeling even more confident than usual.
Anyway, the other highlight of the first half was when a bemused Dempsey suggested to Turkey's Ozan Tufan that the referee might be smoking something after a couple of questionable calls went against the U.S.
Dempsey made it 2-0 early in the second half by tapping in Turkey's failed clearance attempt right in front of goal. Turkey got one back from the penalty spot in the 89th minute after Geoff Cameron was called for a handball on the goal line amidst more suspect defending from the U.S. The match ended 2-1, giving the U.S. a confidence boosting win, but one that exposed their defensive frailties and Altidore's inhibiting lack of confidence with just one match against Nigeria left before they fly to Brazil.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Geoff Cameron