The USMNT beat Turkey, 2-1, on Sunday in New Jersey in the 2nd of the Yanks' Send-Off Series. This game saw the return of Clint Dempsey who's presence was surely felt as he scored a goal for the US in the 52nd minute. The other goal for the US was in the 26th minute as Michael Bradley lobbed a beautiful ball to Fabian Johson in the box who then promptly scored. This match was a much better performance than the Azerbaijan game, but several question marks still remain. Here's a few positive and negative takeaways from this game.
Dempsey & Bradley Are Co-MVPs
With Landon Donovan not getting to go to the World Cup this year, a few veteran leaders have to step up and take control in this young and inexperienced squad. Clint Dempsey has cemented himself as one. He is Captain America after all. Dempsey is not only known for his ability to put balls in the back of the net but for his leadership as well. His absence because of groin soreness from the Azerbaijan match was clearly evident as the US offense looked stagnant for much of the game. No one knew for sure if this would effect Dempsey's play on Sunday, but he answered with a resounding "no" with his strike from a few feet away to put the US up by two.
Michael Bradley was playing well overseas but decided to come to the MLS to help bolster the league. Michael Bradley is a talented player both on defense and on offense. He can set up chances for his teammates as shown in his beautiful chip asist to Fabian Johnson. Bradley is recognized as one of the best US players who could thrive worldwide. He'll have to play up to his abilities if the USMNT is to have a chance in Brazil. He's another guy the US will count on as one of their most critical players.
Altidore Will Be Fine, but Could Use a Confidence Boost
Let's face it. The referees were attrocious during this game. It was evident in Jozy Altidore's goal in the early going that was disallowed for "shoving." It was clearly not enough to call, but Jozy was robbed of a goal that would have really given him confidence after his goal-drought and abysmal season at Sunderland. One could see Altidore was not himself mentally passing the ball near the box to a teamate when he should have attacked. Overall, Jozy will be fine for this World Cup, but he needs to have his name on the score sheet just to improve his psyche.
Many including myself have raved about this youngster from Germany. Julian Green has the ability and potential to be a star for the US in the future, but most likely not in this World Cup. I could be wrong; he could turn it around, but so far he has looked like a deer in the headlights and has not impressed. I'm looking forward to see Green play against Nigeria, but I don't see him doing all that much this summer. I hope I am wrong.
Youngsters Prove Worth
Young defenders John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin both performed well on Sunday afternoon. Klinsmann has been critisized for bringing such young players such as Brooks and Yedlin to the World Cup. They both had solid games of their own. Brooks really impressed me as he seemed a lot better than his mediocre showing in the past. Yedlin continues to showoff his speed and ability in the back.
Overall, the US victory over Turkey was encouraging but still some questions remain. The US fans hope those questions are answered in the last game before Brazil - the Nigeria friendly on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida.