Turkey Suffers Embarrassing Collapse, 2-1 Loss to USANational Team • Author: Nathan Redd • Saturday, May 29, 2010
A fatigued Turkey squad, playing their third match in seven days, dominated through the first 45 minutes on Saturday. However, the Turks fell apart in the second half, suffering a difficult 2-1 loss to the United States in Philadelphia. Arda Turan opened the scoring in the final match of the Turks' American tour, but the Americans used two crucial mistakes by the Turks to come from behind and take the lead. They hung on for a 2-1 win as the Turks now return to Istanbul to prepare for Euro 2012 qualifying.
Turkey went into Saturday's match with a 2-0 record on their American tour, and the first half of the match against the United States looked like they would easily make it a third straight win. The Turks dominated most of the first half, but they took just a 1-0 lead into the break. That's when the wheels apparently fell off of the Turks' wagon.
Maybe it was the fatigue of a third match in seven days. Maybe it was the fact that the United States was desperately needing a win before leaving for South Africa tomorrow. Maybe the Turks saw how easy the first half was, and they simply took their feet off the gas pedal. Regardless, Saturday's second half saw the Turks collapse, going on to suffer an embarrassing defeat to a country where football is an afterthought.
The action opened just a minute in, and it appeared that the United States would be the aggressor after a Clint Dempsey shot went just wide left. It would one of few opportunities for the Americans, however. A crowd of 55,000, many of whom were dressed in the red and white of Turkey, saw a nice cross set up a corner for the Turks three minutes in. Two minutes later, a Tuncay Şanlı shot went wide left after the Stoke star was wide open in front of goal.
Bayern Munich star Hamit Altıntop, who played in the UEFA Champions League final just a week ago, would fire off a shot that went wide right ten minutes. The Turks were easily dictating the pace early on, limiting the United States to few opportunities to set up their offense. The Turkish pressure made everything difficult for the Americans, with Clint Dempsey rattling off a shot that went sideways 13 minutes in. His effort would be followed up by Arda Turan in the 14th minute sailing a nice effort slightly too high and wide.
The United States were unable to get much going, even struggling to get the ball past midfield nearly 20 minutes in. They did have a few opportunities, however, with Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan having chances before the half-hour mark. Donovan's free kick and resulting corner gave the Americans more confidence, enabling them to get into Turkish territory with more ease.
Just as the Americans were gaining some momentum, the Turks silenced the American supporters in the crowd. A nice pass ahead from the midfield found Arda Turan on the run on the left side. The Galatasaray star slid between two defenders and put the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard for a 1-0 lead just before the half-hour point.
Sabri Sarıoğlu would head out a nice cross from the United States in the 32nd minute, and teammate Colin Kazım-Richards would use some nice work on the left wing to attempt to set up a shot, but Colin would be unable to find anyone to deliver his cross to.
Tuncay Şanlı, running up the right side, would have an impressive effort deflected out for a corner in the 40th minute, and it was indicative of the tempo in the first half. The Turks were easily getting past the American defense and creating opportunities for themselves.
With two minutes remaining in the first half, the Americans would find their best shot thus far. Jozy Altidore was able to get past defender Servet Çetin and deliver a nice cross to Clint Dempsey, but the American star couldn't catch up to the pass, which could have been a goal for the home side. After Tim Howard saved a nice effort from Arda Turan, the two sides went into the break with Turkey leading 1-0.
Despite just a 1-0 lead, Turkey easily controlled their opponents in the first half, having few issues with the American attack. The Turks had five shots in the first 45 minutes, with two on goal. The Americans had only three shots, none of which were on target. The relative ease for Turkey in the first half may have led them to underestimate their opponents, especially considering the Turks dominated despite not firing on all cylinders in the first half. But the second half would be a different story.
The United States, coming off a 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic and desperately looking for a win against a high-profile opponent, came out firing in the second half. Coach Bob Bradley made four substitutions at the break, setting a different pace for the home side. The Americans looked organized in the second half, while the Turks slipped into lethargic periods of football. Whether it was fatigue or underestimation, Turkey allowed their tremendously overmatched opponents back into the game quickly.
Just two minutes in, Servet Çetin may have saved an equalizer with a deflection on a Michael Bradley attempt. Landon Donovan would earn a free kick in the 51st minute after the Americans opened the second half attacking.
The Americans would get a break in the 52nd minute when Robbie Findley pulled down Tuncay Şanlı in what should have been a yellow card, but the referee let it slip. They would get a corner moments later, headed out by Colin Kazım-Richards only to set up another corner.
Oğuz Çetin would go to his bench in the 52nd minute, bringing on Mehmet Topal for Selçuk İnan. Topal would pick up a yellow card just four minutes in on a questionable call from the referees. With the Americans pressuring, they would give the red, white, and blue-clad fans something to cheer about.
In the 58th minute, the Americans were attacking as Volkan Demirel came too far out of goal to defend. The United States capitalized on his mistake, with Landon Donovan sending a cross to Jozy Altidore with an open goal. He easily put it in, making it a 1-1 game.
Oğuz Çetin would look to his bench again in the 61st minute, replacing Colin Kazım-Richards with Bursaspor star Sercan Yıldırım. A minute later, Turkey would set up a great attack with an Emre Belözoğlu shot just blocked by defender Oguchi Onyewu. The Turks got several great looks before the attack was eventually killed.
Turkey nearly took the lead again in the 67th minute, as it appeared that Sercan Yıldırım was onside with a nice look at the goal, but the linesman's flag went up, ending his chance. Moments later, the Americans would try their hand on a Landon Donovan shot that went just wide.
Playing their third match in seven days, the Turks were looking tired by the 70th minute, and the Americans found their second wind. The United States had already taken five shots in the second half, with Turkey getting only two - a stark contrast from the Turkey-dominated first half.
The Americans would get another break in the 72nd minute, when Hamit Altıntop was knocked down by Michael Bradley near the box. It appeared that a yellow card and free kick would result for the Turks, but the officials saw otherwise, making no call. Altıntop would check out a minute later as Oğuz Çetin brought on Fenerbahçe striker Semih Şentürk.
With the second half wearing on, the Americans would come all the way back to take the lead. On a 75th minute throw-in near the Turkey goal, the Turkish defense fell asleep, allowing Clint Dempsey to easily race in and put the ball past Volkan Demirel, making it a 2-1 match.
The Turks were wearing down on the final day of their tour, although they would get a few more chances late in the game. Mehmet Topal would have a low-rolling shot saved in the 78th minute. Sercan Yıldırım would use some beautiful footwork on the right side to send in a cross moments later, but no one was there to finish his effort.
Semih Şentürk would be knocked down in the 84th minute, setting up a Nihat Kahveci free kick from the left that would be punched over the top by goalkeeper Tim Howard. The Americans would nearly score again in the 86th minute, as Michael Bradley found himself wide open with no defenders near him, but his pass back to Clint Dempsey would set up a shot that went wide.
José Torres would earn a free kick from the right side in the 88th minute, but his left-footed attempt would sail off the mark. With three minutes of stoppage time added on, the Turks would earn one last opportunity. Sercan Yıldırım would make a nice move on the right side toward goal, but he held on to the ball a bit too long, leaving Semih Şentürk in the middle with a better look. Instead, the Turks couldn't make anything of it.
The final whistle blew, giving the Americans a huge win over a high-profile European opponent. It was the first win over Turkey in United States history. For Turkey, Saturday's match was reminiscent of the Fatih Terim era, when the team often lost matches to less-talented opponents.
Turkey wrap up their American tour with a 2-1 record. They return to Istanbul on Sunday, and the team will disperse until later this summer. They will reassemble in August to begin preparing for Euro 2012 qualifying, which begins in September.
Stadium: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
USA: Tim Howard, Jonathan Spector (Steve Cherundolo, 46th), Jay Demerit, Clarence Goodson (Oguchi Onyewu, 46th), Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, 75th); Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark (José Torres, 46th), Benny Feilhaber (Robbie Findley, 46th); Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore (Stuart Holden, 81st)
Turkey: Volkan, Sabri, Servet, Gökhan Zan, Çağlar, Emre Belözoğlu, Selçuk İnan (53rd - Mehmet Topal), Hamit Altıntop (73rd - Semih), Tuncay (78th - Nihat), Arda, Kazım (62nd - Sercan)
Goals: 27th - Arda (Türkiye), 58th - Altidore, 75th - Dempsey (USA)
Yellow Cards: 42nd - Clark (USA), 56th - Mehmet Topal, 90th - Gökhan Zan (Turkey)