PHILADELPHIA, PA - In front of 55.407 predominantly American supporters, the United States Men's National Team defeated Turkey 2-1 in their last match before traveling to South Africa for the World Cup. The Stars and Stripes struggled during the first half but a slate of substitutions breathed new life into their attack. Goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey carried the day. The Americans depart for the World Cup on Sunday and play Australia on June 5.
The U.S. began the match better, but it was the Crescent Stars with the first true opportunity. Tuncay Sanli nearly opened the scoring the sixth minute, but the Stoke City striker missed just to Tim Howard's right on a near perfect set-up.
The visiting side had another chance in the 14th minute. Sunil sent a lovely ball down the wing that eluded Jonathan Spector and found a streaking Arda Turan who cut in on his right foot. His shot from 18 years was poorly hit and missed the American net.
Turkey struck first, with Turan finishing nicely on a breakaway in the 27th minute. After Spector went on a long run, only to lose the ball just outside the opponent's 18-yard box, Colin Kazim-Richards gained possession before springing the Galatasaray midfielder. Jay DeMerit and Spector raced back but couldn't catch the attacker who beat Howard.
Turan once again had a golden opportunity in the 40th minute. A long ball floated over the head of the U.S. right back and dropped on the attacker's foot. He charged toward the net but made a mess of his chance from a narrow angle.
Ricardo Clark picked up a yellow card in the 42nd for a challenge in midfield.
The U.S. had their best opportunity seconds later as Jozy Altidore made a brilliant move past Caglar Birinci before beating Servet Cetin to gain entrée into the box. His cross came across on the ground but Clint Dempsey arrived a fraction of a second late.
U.S. coach Bradley made four changes at half: Onyewu for Goodson, Steve Cherundolo for Spector, Jose Torres for Clark, and Robbie Findley for Benny Feilhaber. The squad responded by looking much more dangerous.
After a nice bit of early possession, Carlos Bocanegra lofted a cross to Donovan. The Los Angeles Galaxy star trapped and laid off for Michael Bradley, but a sliding Turkish defender blocked his attempt.
Mehmet Topal replaced Selcuk Inan in the 53rd minute.
Topal made his presence known almost immediately, earning a yellow card for a hard foul on Dempsey.
The U.S. scored to even the match in the 58th minute. DeMerit hit Findley in stride who in turn chipped wonderfully to Donovan. The American all-time leading scorer deftly brought the ball down while beating Turkish goalkeeper Volkan Demirel. Donovan found himself with a narrow angle into an empty net and chose to cross instead to Altidore who didn't miss from point-blank range.
In the 73rd minute, Semih Senturk came on for Hamit Altintop.
Bocanegra handed the captain's armband to Cherundolo when Jonathan Bornstein replaced the Rennes left back.
The Americans finished the scoring in the 75th minute. After a Cherundolo throw-in, Donovan cut into the middle and hit a left-footed pass to Dempsey. The ball bounced fortuitously off the Fulham star's hip, and he fought off Sabri Sarioglu before finding the back of the net.
Stuart Holden ended Jozy Altidore's day in the 81st minute when the Bolton midfielder replaced him.
The U.S. could have finished the match in the 87th, but Dempsey couldn't finish Michael Bradley's pass in the box. The central midfielder looked like he had an opportunity to shoot, choosing to dish instead.
Gokhan Zan picked up a yellow card in the 92nd minute.
See the goals scored in USA-Turkey on this video.
Noah Davis (@noahedavis) covers the United States Men's National Team for Goal.com and will be reporting from the World Cup in South Africa.