TSG’s USA v. Turkey Preview: Turks & Chaos?

Fresh off the forgettable...

Fresh off the forgettable…

Fresh off a most forgettable 2-0 victory on Tuesday against Azerbaijan, the US xeroxes its second game of the 2010 Send-off Series in 2010 and steps into the ring against a young, unproven Turkey side in New Jersey Sunday afternoon. The absence of John Harkes on the broadcast means the over-under on “Kearny, NJ” references drops to single digits. Here, here.

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The Jose Francisco Torres game.

That was the moniker bestowed upon the 2010 US-Turkey World Cup warm-up match in Philadelphia. The US prevailed 2-1 in classic Bob Bradley rope-a-dope style.

It was an affair that saw some fundamental breakdowns in defense–primarily from Benny Feilhaber–including perhaps the most bewildering clearance attempt ever in a US shirt–and secondarily from Ricardo Clark which led to the lone US concession.

It also saw the love affair renew with the diminutive Torres whose efficient “three-touch” distribution display in the second half had fans drooling with possession potential for South Africa. (It was not to be though as Torres corkscrew pass attempts against an underrated Slovenia only led to turnovers and to his World Cup campaign being over after just 45 minutes. And those who say that Torres is the Mexican Xavi are probably okay when Spotify recommends Jesus Jones as a “you may be interested in” selection for U2.)

The 2010 match also saw Jonathan Spector exposed for speed on the right–and forever relegated to the bench by Bradley thereafter and the US deploy in a 4-2-3-1; a single forward set that fans were pining for at the time.

Ironically, the formation and deployment the States used on that day was a mirror image of what Jurgen Klinsmann would use through qualifying.

The US pushed high on the right side through Spector (in Stevie Cherundolo’s stead), Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore in the first half in a blueprint that mimicked the US pushing high and left through Beasley, Dempsey and Altidore throughout 2014. Graham Zusi plays the tucked-in shuttler role to protect the US rightback in 2014 and this was Landon Donovan’s role that day on the left to protect the less-than-nimble Carlos Bocanegra.

Of course, that formation gave way to Bradley’s battle-tested 4-2-2-2 when the US fell behind in the second half with Robbie Findley entering for the sacrificed Feilhaber. The US used Landon Donovan as the attacking conduit with Jose Torres the conductor as the US motored back to victory.

It’s a different tale nearly four years later. Bradley’s team had the Onyewu injury situation and a rather pedantic debate of wether to tab Maurice Edu or Ricardo Clark in midfield as its lone lightning rods.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.45.28 AM

LandonTail)gate.

(GRAPHIC DESIGN CREDIT: EDWARD GAUG)

The Yanks enter their 2014 match against the Crescent Moons with Landongate tailgating in their rearview mirror, a new diamond 4-4-2 formation and some second guessing over coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s tactics. That’s Chris Christie-approved drama right there.

And after much touting upon Klinsmann’s naming and being tried at five different positions including leftback (because anyone can play leftback), Jose Francisco Torres will not have a sequel Sunday–and will join the lift of misfit toys discarded by US fans that includes Charlie Davies, Edgar Castillo and more.

Much to prove and showcase as the Send-Off series really kicks off and Brazil is nigh.

Without further Freddy Adu, we get to our customary preview. As usual it goes:

⇒ About The Opponent: Turkey

⇒ TSG: What We’re Looking For

⇒ 11 At The Whistle

About The Opponent: Turkey

It was a tumultuous 2014 qualifying attempt for the once formidable side of Turkey–third place finishers at the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.

In a 2014 group that included the Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Estonia and Andorra, the Crescent Stars fell well short, like Garrincha short, of slipping themselves into a playoff for a potential UEFA World Cup spot.

If you’ve been following along with the previews here at TSG, then you’ve been exposed to the assessment that Turkey will ape Group G opponent Portugal in their style. However, the Turks appetite for the 4-3-3 isn’t as set as it once was.

The 4-3-3 was the formation the side used to run through the qualifying gauntlet under former manager Adbullah Avc1 who many identify as being the culprit behind Turkey’s failure to represent in Brazil.

Terim.

Terim.

New head man Fatih Terim–who has pinged back and forth between the national team job and skippering Galatasaray–is a long-time employer of the standard 4-4-2, however.

That said, with Turkey’s solid wide forward play and the developing skillset of rising moon Hakan Çalhanoğlu–whose name is buzzing around the transfer tabloids in association with Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and more–a 4-3-3 likely makes best use of the full complement of the Turkish roster. Indeed this is the formation that Terim’s side rolled out in Thursday night’s 2-0 win over World Cup-bound Honduras at RFK in DC.

Kim Kallstrom-esque!

As such, they’ll be–at minimum–the stand-in for Portugal in this preview.

The first such comparative here is Turkey’s UEFA record–the side did much better playing away in final qualifying than they did at home. No doubt this is due to the comfort level of playing on the counter where Turkey play their best soccer.

And like Paulo Bento’s static Portugal sides, the inverse is true as well; the squad has trouble when tasked with being the aggressor and facing other defend-deep-and-counter sides.

For Turkey, the attack will all–hopefully–start with Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan, the slick-handles left winger who blazed up the US left flank in 2010 for the only goal conceded by the States that day.

Turan is coming off a rigorous club season that saw him miss out on the Champions League Final and has now been ruled out for Sunday. His replacement could be Ahmet Özek.

Partnering Özek in the first line of three will likely be St. Etienne’s Mevlüt Erdinç–who missed a sitter, but also ripped the game-winner Thursday–at the point and Beşiktaş’s Olcay Şahan wide right. Normally the forward corps would include Galatasary’s Burak Yilmaz, but the veteran forward Donovan’d his way back to Turkey after being at odds with Terim around carrying an injury or not being nice or something.

Reinforcing the front line will be the inverted triangle midfield of Dortmund’s Nuri Şahin and Galatasary’s Selçuk İnan (who is called “Xelçuk” or the cliched “Turkish Xavi) who will function between the lines as Portugal’s shuttlers Joao Mountinho and Raul Meireles do. The aforementioned Çalhanoğlu sits at the base. (Çalhanoğlu and Inan may swap roles here.)

A possible Turkey 4-3-3 Sunday.

A possible Turkey 4-3-3 Sunday.

Turkey’s backline can be sharp; their centerbacks Hakan Balta and Ömer Toprak- – again like Portugal–older, but savvy. On their outside shoulders will be Gökhan Gönül–who entered in the second half and caused a ruckus upfield against Hondurasy–on the right and Caner Erkin.

After resting on Thursday, Onur Kıvrak who had a fine performance against Ireland likely protects the pipes.

Turkey will look to get play the ball in the typical zig-zag manner of a 4-3-3: Out to the fullbacks, in to a midfielder, out to the forwards and back in to the pivot man.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.13.51 PM

On defense, Turkey attempts to swarm the ball handlers wide, but they often leave plenty of “through holes” to exploit.

Turkey again is at the best on the counter when they can get their wing fowards out in possession with the opponent’s fullbacks in pursuit and the centerback has to make a decision whether to commit to the ball or not.

Turkey is particularly adept at managing the tempo and launching quick-kick crosses from the top of the attacking third–exactly the type of balls on which US centerbacks have recently fallen asleep on. The Turks will run a shuttler (Sahin or Inan) towards the near post drawing the near centerback and then launch the ball to a 1-v-1 opportunity with Erdinc or the weak side forward making a far post run.

Classic 4-3-3 from Turkey.

Key’s to the Game for the US (if the US cares)

⇒ Don’t let Çalhanoğlu and Sahin be playmakers–close them down rapidly in the attacking half, force the ball off their feet.

⇒ Take runs and try combinations through the top of Zone 14 where Turkey tends to be reactive, defend zonally and has difficulty tracking runners.

The Netherlands puts Turkey's World Cup to sleep with some Zone 14 action last October.

The Netherlands puts Turkey’s World Cup to sleep with some Zone 14 action last October.

⇒ Take your chances on the counter; Turkey is typically late to recover. (brringgg, brringggg, “Hello this is Michael, may I ask who is calling”)

50-C gets a Brazil kit, but Landon doesn't! I've now...seen...it... all.

50-C gets a Brazil kit, but Landon doesn’t! I’ve now…seen…it… all.

 —

TSG: What We’re Looking For

♦ Lines of Confrontation

Where does the US elect to defend against their first two Group G opponents and how aggressive are they managing possession or quick transition out of the back. Portugal is a more athletic and better defensive team than Turkey … and they’re much more lethal on the counter, but the Turks play the same way. How does the US defend? Do they defend well? And what’s their rate of play in transition or organizing defensively on a turnover?

♦ Technical ability: A factor of speed and space.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 6.17.08 AM

Geoff Cameron in possession on Tuesday. The lone opening is DaMarcus Beasley weak side. Spacing and movement were well off for a team that isn’t familiar with the diamond. Fullbacks way too high.

 

A player’s on-ball technical ability is a factor of their rate of play–their speed if you will–and the space their allotted in possession.

The US had an exceedingly difficult time breaking down a set of players who arguably play at a lower rate of play and at a lower level club-wise.

In the wake of frustrating first half attacking against Azerbaijan, I asked Graham Zusi about the difficulties finding the net in the first half.

“The ideas were there. The final pass was difficult. Everyone has to want the ball for this attack to work & improve ball circulation.”

I also asked Beckerman what were the one or two adjustments the US needed to make with the ball.

“I think the final pass didn’t come off because of the conditions. It will continue to get better … as soon … you keep playing it, keep at it, it just going to be come second nature … become more fluid. There’s a lot of promise in it.”

Far be it to extrapolate a few post-game quotes from a gusty, chilling night at the Stick, but Zusi quotes clasped together with Beckerman’s suggest one thing–an unfamiliarity with a system that shouldn’t be prevalent with less than two weeks to go until the US is going to the World Cup. The US should be honing an system that forces the other team to account for it, not trying to improve and learn a new system that seems difficult to learn, master, and most importantly, dictates the game to the opponent. This is troubling.

Yes, it certainly did not help that the States’ use of the 4-4-2 diamond was not ideal given the bunkering mentality and compactness of Azerbaijan, but the point it still bigger.

The good thing here is that the likelihood that the US faces a bunkered and listless side in Brazil either is a) zero or b) means that the team already rung the US’s bell and it doesn’t matter if the US can break them down anyway.

A possible deployment Sunday.

A possible deployment Sunday.

11 At The Whistle

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: A nice job by Howard in marshaling his defense against an uninterested Azerbaijan side.

Turkey may test Howard. The Everton vet has had difficulty in recent years on balls played into the box that ask the question of whether the keeper should come off his line or not. This would not be the first time TSG has published this scalding, indelible indictment…. oops….meant this one.

Additionally, the US–be it Stu Holden coming off his post against the Czech Republic in 2010 or DaMarcus Beasley failing to make a play on the first concession for the US on the road at Costa Rica in 2013–has some trouble with headers to the near post. Turkey has proven to be proficient at nailing the posts on aerial plays.

Just something to watch for.

DEF: Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley

The skinny: There should be no changes from the line-up put out by Klinsmann at the ‘Stick; however the fullback selection here is something to key on. While the mercury probably tops out no higher than 80° on Sunday, Turkey’s wingers be tasked similarly to Portugal’s. A look at Klinsmann’s fullback selection here may give you a glue in to whose getting tested by Ronaldo in Manaus a few weeks from now.

In American coaching circles, all readily concede Matt Besler’s talent and potential. But there is a counter dialogue that references Besler’s “nervousness.”

It’s probably what helps his efficiency in positioning and backlieg organization, but there were a few distribution blips against the Land of Fire Tuesday. In typical coachspeak, the directive is “clean it up.”

Geoff Cameron mans the other centerback spot. He was–for the most part–in sendoff game one, able to play within himself. His own positioning and aggressiveness will be challenged more here against the Crescent Moons.

CDM: Jermaine Jones

The skinny: I can only imagine that when Jones traces down the team sheet for his name come Sunday there will an audible “groan” after he finds his number.

Commented before the Azerbaijan game that deploying Jones at defensive mid was like asking a Rottweiler to heal while waving beef jerky in their face. Jones proved me–and most–wrong however.

That said, I feel Jones is still just one misplaced foot stomp away from going Hank on the pitch. Aren’t we really just tempting fate here Klinsy?

CM: Michael Bradley

The skinny: Petabytes.

That’s how the amount of message board fodder would’ve been measured had Michael Bradley had as poor a game if his pops was still the manager.

Bradley chasing down Turkey in 2010. Rinse, repeat.

Bradley chasing down Turkey in 2010. Rinse, repeat.

Bradley is often considered the metronome of the US midfield–one of the most overused, unoriginal soccer cliches–but for me, he’s more the control in an experiment. Regardless of formation, if Bradley is persistently misfiring on passes and seems generally off, I tend to think he’s fatigued from training or over-training. This is the same guy that logged 345 miles in four games at the World Cup.

The again, he’s now a father and moved to Canada so maybe it’s one of those factors.

RM: Graham Zusi

The skinny: The more I watch Zusi, the more I am impressed with him.

And the more I think his unwillingness to take on players 1v1 isn’t for any lack of ability but just a general play within himself, an in-control mentality.

I watched Zusi calmly pause on the ball late in the first half Tuesday as chaos was ensuing around him and defenders were buzzing* (*if you can use the word buzzing in that match) by him on the left flank. He calmly took a few dribbles inside and slotted a ball in to Jozy perfectly on Altidore’s right foot.

He’s like the Joe Dumars of the USA.

LM: Mix Diskerud

The skinny: Diskerud’s frenetic off-ball movement earns him the start… perhaps. If there is any side that the US is going to attack against Portugal it’s the Nani-Meireles-Pereira flank. Not God’s flank.

FWD/STR: Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore

The skinny: I got nothing for you. Go enjoy these two’s efforts and goals against Spain at the Confederation’s Cup nearly a half decade ago now. (The video below is always a good closer.)

 

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36 responses to this post.

  1. I’m excited that Boca is back in the team!!!!!

    (check your “11 at the whistle” graphic)

    This is fantastic, as always. I truly appreciate your commentary about the team having confusion over a new system with only two weeks to go to Brazil. New system + new personnel in spots is a true head-scratcher.

    Reply

  2. Posted by dth on 2014/05/30 at 11:12 AM

    Sahin is starting to rediscover the best-in-Bundesliga ability he had before his ill-fated trip to Real Madrid. And that’s scary (if this were a meaningful game). Otherwise, a nice preparation for Schweingster and/or Lahm and/or Kroos. (Though Kroos isn’t a great comp with Sahin…)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/30 at 11:58 AM

    After all the debate about the diamond I went back to the game against slovenia in November 2011. Unfortunately the interwebs have lost some of the details. But that games starting line up:

    ——-Altidore——–Buddle——–
    —————Dempsey—————
    —-Johnson————-Bradley—–
    —————Beckerman————-
    Chandler–Boca–Goodson—Dolo

    It was Bradley’s first game back after moving to Italy. The one in which he really showed well and got back into Klinsman’s graces. Also Johnson was really good on the day.

    I am not sure that the Diamond is really the default formation that Klinnsman wants or if he is trying to get the players used to it for a specific opponent. Also, I view the Diamond as specific to Dempsey’s skill as well as for Bradley. So without Dempsey I don’t think its as good.

    Anyway, I can see the game against portugal as a place to try to manage minutes, especially in the heat. We need Jones’ and Bedoya’s athleticism against Ghana and Germany, but necessarily against Portugal. Given Jones wanting to play his best game against Germany I can’t see him sitting there. I also foresee the 4-2-3-1 for the Germany game. In my mind, Beckerman vs Moutinho is a good matchup. Also, if I was bringing Davis for any game, it was the one in the amazon. Houston is brutal climate and it wouldn’t surprise me for Davis to have the best performance on the day.

    So my Portugal (Turkey) Starters:
    ——-Dempsey———–Altidore——-
    ——————Bradley ——————
    —Davis——-Beckerman——-Zusi—-
    Beasley–Beasler–Cameron–Johnson

    Bradley tracks/dominates Meireles and Dempsey and Altidore dropping on Carvalho. In attack, I see Zusi moving into the left back zone, exploiting the space behind Coentrao, and Johnson going past Ronaldo.

    I then can see Jones for Bradley, Bedoya/Johannsson for Davis, and Chandler/Yedlin for Zusi around 60-75 min depending on the game situation.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/30 at 12:02 PM

      Given Klinsmann’s history on the left, I doubt he’ll use two lefties there. I could see Chandler (or even Johnson)-Davis if you forecasted it, but both Beasley and Davis are really weak on their right foot.

      Small comment thought.

      Reply

      • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/30 at 1:36 PM

        I am not sure how much using two left feet has been a product of who was available. The left footed players in the pool are davis, beasley, castillo, shea, torres, and Morrow?

        I was looking at the US v Canada Friendly from Jan 2013. That games starters:

        ————-EJ—-Wondo————-
        —-Davis——Evans——–Zusi—-
        ————–Beckerman————–
        Morrow–Besler-Gonzalez–Beltran

        This then switched to Feilhabor into Evans’ role and Evans to RB.

        Also in the Belgum game the starters were:
        ————–Altidore————–
        ————–Dempsey————
        Davis——Jones—–Kljestan——–Zusi
        Beasley–Goodson–Gonzalez–Cameron

        but if you look at the average position map its definitely more of the Diamond with Kljestan ahead and Dempsey near Altidore. The main Sub was Holden for Kljestan.

        The game against Germany was then an actual 4-2-3-1 starting as:
        ——————Altidore——————
        —Johnson—–Dempsey———Zusi—
        ————-Jones—–Bradley————
        Beasley–Goodson–Gonzalez–Evans

        Davis came on for Johnson at the Half.

        Other 2013 Game Notes: Against Guatemala Gold cup warm up started Beasley and Castillo together, Against Jamaica in WCQ Beasley and Johnson started with Castillo on for Johnson, Against Panama in WCQ Beasley and Johnson Started with Davis on for Johnson.

        Reply

        • Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/05/30 at 1:42 PM

          If memory serves me, Bradley wasn’t available for that Belgum game because of the Coppa Italia.

          Reply

  4. Posted by Steve Davis on 2014/05/30 at 1:02 PM

    Great preview, Matt. Thanks for putting it together! I remember watching Rob Usry’s Jose Torres v Turkey “every touch” video about 25 times before the first match in South Africa. And then watching it all crash down hard in 10 minutes vs. Slovenia. (Forget about the other 35 in the first half!)

    And, on the topic of that last video in the preview, I forgot just how many good chances we had in the first half of that game against Spain in the Confed Cup. I need to go and watch that full match again sometime soon. Jozy was just an anticipatory hard far post run from tapping in that early glancing header from the cross too.

    Reply

  5. […] Previewing USA vs. Turkey. (The Shin Guardian) […]

    Reply

  6. Posted by kurtosis on 2014/05/30 at 7:21 PM

    It’s not clear that Bradley is going to thrive at the top of the diamond. He is better at winning balls in the middle of the field and making the pass before the assist. His offensive strength comes from when he joins the attack unexpectedly and the defense gets lost. Mix would be a better choice as the offensive creator imo.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2014/05/30 at 7:39 PM

      Winning balls is better the higher up the field you do it. But that requires at least some proactivity from the opponent, which obviously the Land of Fire wasn’t interested in. Ghana, Portugal, Germany? Now those are teams where Bradley disrupting, say, a Lahm, might prove helpful.

      Reply

    • Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2014/05/30 at 10:45 PM

      I like MB closer to the back line also. it scares the hell out of me that JK would trust JJ to collect the ball and make the proper distribution reads. His passing is so streaky, practically all or none…Golden through ball or turnover. If he was the 6, his passing that deep would be a stressor. I’d be surprised though if we started any of the games with MB high in the diamond. I think we only move to it later in the game…too risky early in the game. I’d move JJ out to Rmid against Portugal and play MB and Beckerman side by side in front of the back line to start off the game.

      Reply

  7. Posted by ry on 2014/05/30 at 8:59 PM

    Just watched the highlights of the 2010 Turkey game. Am I the only one who feels like we may have regressed a bit since then? I honestly feel like that team may have been a bit stronger, especially after witnessing that beautiful LD assist. Vintage Donovan. Sigh.

    Then again, that team featured Mr. Bornstein.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/30 at 10:09 PM

      It’s funny — because Bornstein was the second best US defender in South Africa. I’m amazed that Gonzalez doesn’t receive as much vitriol.

      But yes, that team was extremely well coached almost to a flaw. They knew they needed to rev the tempo at every junction and it led to turnovers often in the 1st half.

      Reply

    • Posted by Josh on 2014/06/01 at 7:53 AM

      It’s certainly possible. In whatever direction we’re certainly not much better or worse. Howard said the other day this team is “slightly better.” A lot of this WC will come down to how we defend & stay focused as a team, not just the back line.

      Reply

  8. Posted by DT on 2014/05/30 at 10:18 PM

    Loved your graphic of the USMNT setup. Looks more like a martini olive with a toothpick piercing from 1 o’clock to 7 o’clock. Could it be the “zero olive” formation?

    Reply

  9. I have watched that Spain video somewhere around 20 times today, so thanks for making my Friday totally unproductive at work, great find.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/30 at 11:18 PM

      We used to run a video competition before major competitions here at TSG and that was the winner by a large margin in 2010. Have held onto it since.

      Got a cease and desist from someone for the voiceover in it.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Josh on 2014/05/31 at 10:56 AM

    Just got back from open training session. Yedlin does look fast. Damn they all look good to me. Good sports they spent much time doing autographs so I got Jozy & Mix signing my jersey and selfies with Coach & Beas.

    Another fan made point we may have better chance beating Portugal than Ghana and I agreed.

    Reply

  11. Posted by CJ on 2014/05/31 at 1:31 PM

    Ghana. Is. Fast. Their #6 runs with jetpacks.

    Reply

    • Posted by Josh on 2014/06/01 at 7:25 AM

      Might we see Green & Yedlin vs. Ghana? I imagine we’ll see the former v Nigeria, perhaps today & Yedlin in both. Frankly I’m not against taking risks in the WC. I’d rather almost rather lose high-scoring affairs ‘going for the win’ vs. low-scoring depressors when you know 2 goals often beats us. How sad is that.

      Reply

  12. Posted by ry on 2014/05/31 at 6:24 PM

    Are we really going to see Beasley starting at LB in the WC? I love the guy, really do, but I simply cannot understand JK’s line of thinking here.

    Fabian at LB and Chandler at RB – why is this not happening?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2014/05/31 at 8:11 PM

      Fabian is a natural righty and can be an attacker on the right.

      Why do people malign Beasley? Because of his history? He stepped in versus Costa Rica and other than Tim Howard and Michael Bradley has been the most consistent US player since that time.

      He’s also unflappable. He makes a mistake and forgets it.

      Chandler on the other hand is not a natural LB and Fabian can be more of a weapon on the right.

      Reply

      • Posted by Josh on 2014/06/01 at 7:29 AM

        Hear hear. Well said. Beas has been solid at LB in huge games the past year. I took a pic with him yesterday at training session and asked him if he’s starting. He said he doesn’t know, as well as something like no one knows who’s starting – obviously in reference to the back line and other positions in doubt.

        Reply

      • Posted by Josh on 2014/06/01 at 7:38 AM

        I love Johnson as a winger, man, gettin’ forward. I feel like he’s not as dangerous coming out of the back; he doesn’t get to utilize his full array of impressive talents. I think it was the 2013 Bosnia friendly when he was so impressive in the midfield. But he may have been playing LB I could be misremembering. I wouldn’t mind a back four of Chandler, Beasley, Cameron & Besler.

        Reply

      • Posted by Usually Ranting on 2014/06/01 at 11:33 PM

        Matt, Chandler giveth and he taketh away. His cross resulted in the 2nd goal. It was a dangerous cross, whiff or no whiff by the Turkey defense. And then he was responsible for the Turkey goal. He made one mistake and it was a rookie mistake. Falling asleep in possession. But if it weren’t for that play, he’d be getting praise for his performance. Chandler over Beasley every day of the week. I’m ready to gamble with the more talented player. I love Beasley and his versatility. But if the US is playing a diamond against any of our group opponents, Beasley on the left will mean the US is going to get murdered on his side of the field. Its crazy that people are advocating for him to start given the winger’s that will be coming down that side of the field.

        Most consistent player since Costa Rica is a stretch, in my opinion. He’s reliable and was steady. But he wasn’t a difference maker. He was consistently average. Defended well, but 0 threat going forward. Again, all the credit in the world for a guy coming in and playing a new position for the national team and doing what he was asked to do. And all the credit in the world for him as a veteran with leadership and experience. But we need to take into consideration who he’s going to be playing against.

        Reply

  13. Posted by jon on 2014/05/31 at 7:51 PM

    despite the woeful display against the azeri fire, i am optimistic. ghana could not force a save out of the dutch keeper until minute 90 and only escaped a more severe loss bc robben missed a sitter and could not finish another when through on goal. further, the manaus heat should stifle portugal, so 5 points is not a completely unlikely outcome if jk is willing to park the bus v deutschland.

    turkey match should test defense to see if we can lock out portugal…though i hear cr7 can pick a lock or two.

    Reply

  14. […] Want some game previews?  The Shin Guardian and The Yanks Are Coming have you […]

    Reply

  15. […] Here is The ShinGuardians Preview: http://theshinguardian.com/2014/05/30/tsgs-usa-v-turkey-preview-turks-chaos/ […]

    Reply

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