Turkey Suffers Embarrassing Collapse, 2-1 Loss to USA

National Team  •  Author: Nathan Redd   •   Saturday, May 29, 2010 Picture

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 YıldırımA 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)

Comments (40)

fb_fan • 23:11 • May 29, 2010
not cool...
polat10 • 23:40 • May 29, 2010
It's not embarrassing, we didn't even have a full squad. If this game actually mattered we would have destroyed the USA.
t3rky • 23:41 • May 29, 2010
agreed polat, this is a new regime for us, and for the turkish national team, we are barely getting adapted to a new system/new players. with time, this turkey team will be a force to be reckoned with.
AltayTascioglu • 00:05 • May 30, 2010
This game was disappointing, but NOT EMBARASSING.
Temirov123 • 00:07 • May 30, 2010
believe me guys this game WAS EMBARASSING! Even the spectator said that. They scored such an easy goals.

USA played 100 % better than us in the second half.
RisingSunOnEurope • 01:49 • May 30, 2010
i was there fellas.. turkey went up the crowd was silenced.. turkey was playing great.. then in the second half they jus collapsed... usa attacked and attacks and found they net on 2 easyyy goals .. volkans mistake on the first one .. awful play by volkan i cant believe we lost.. its usa the country where "soccer doesnt exsist" im overexxagerating im jus upset
ForzaFener • 02:33 • May 30, 2010
What did you expect? there's no good central defender in the team. Servet is alright but to slow, so is Zan. We need younger and faster players there.
GFBHollanda • 02:53 • May 30, 2010
Anybody has a good link for Rashad evens against Rampage jackson? I live in Holland and its very hard to find a payperview channel... Anyone that could help me...?
fener-pnw • 04:27 • May 30, 2010
I love watching the Turkish team play. They have great ball skills and create space when things are tight.
This was a tale of two halves. Looked like Turkiye tired in second half. US had speed.
Forza is correct.

Hey fener-eniste - what fish did you catch? - haven't done any fishing in a while.
efe10 • 04:40 • May 30, 2010
hows this not a full squad?
who is missing
just gokhan gonul and mevlut
bjkdeniz • 05:45 • May 30, 2010
I was really bummed leaving the stadium, but on the way home i realized it wasn't so bad.

We played amazing the first half, and i think Hiddink got what he wanted. He's been saying he wants to keep possession of the ball, and we possessed like some of the best teams in the world. We created chances and simply dominated.

This is our 3rd friendly in one week, and our players have been traveling around. Not to mention the US subbed in 4 players at half, while we subbed in zero. They were obviously much fresher. The US also had something to prove in front of their home crowd before the World Cup. What did we have to play for? And our Milli Takim has always been known to get lax after giving up a goal.

I think what we say in the first 30 minutes is what we can expect from the national team in the coming months.

And Ibrahim Toraman should be starting in place of Zan.
bjkdeniz • 06:07 • May 30, 2010
Also, does anyone have the video of Sercans "offsides" when he beat both the defender and Howard? From my position i could've sworn that he was onsides, and it was definitely suspicious that they didn't even show a replay of the event. They usually have a replay if it's offsides, and i haven't been able to find anything online.
fener-pnw • 06:25 • May 30, 2010
"Whether it was fatigue or underestimation, Turkey allowed their tremendously overmatched opponents back into the game quickly."

"For Turkey, Saturday's match was reminiscent of the Fatih Terim era, when the team often lost matches to less-talented opponents."

"Regardless, Saturday's second half saw the Turks collapse, going on to suffer an embarrassing defeat to a country where football is an afterthought."

"It was the first win over Turkey in United States history." (Yes, this heavily contested rivalry is now at a whopping 1-1-1.)

Dear Nathan - I love this blog, but I fear that your disdain for the U.S. will hurt your credibility. I know this was a friendly, but the fact is that the US made an adjustment at halftime - speed. They then dominated the game. So it may not have been fatigue or underestimation. What bit of luck was the passing from Hinkle to Donavon to Altidore. What bit of luck was Dempsey outrunning Sabri I think it was? As I said above, I love watching the Turkish team play. They have great ball skills and create space when things are tight. But that is not always enough to score nor prevent goals.

Less talented - maybe - but - the U.S beat Spain in the Confederations cup. Dempsey is a key component of Fulham and their path to the UEFA final this year.
Howard starts for Everton. Onyewu is signed with Inter Milan although was hurt all year.
Donovan had a good spell with Everton this year. Altidore for Hull although had limited time on the field. Hercules Gomez of Puebla led the Mexican Premier league in scoring this year....

The continued negativity to the U.S. soccer efforts is not a requirement to be pro-Turkiye. So, as long as you are on this path... I personally did not see any Turkish players in the European cups, except Hamit who was a backup this year for Bayern.
I saw Turkey lose twice to Spain. Turkey failed to qualify for the World Cup this year
not because of Spain but because of Bosnia. The "Big Three" were not stellar in their performances this year in Europe, but you would think that with most of the national team from them that they would be winning these tournaments, wouldn't you.

I continually read we should have done this, we should have done that from Turkish footballers; this is delusional and it gets in the way of Turkish team improvement. So while you patronize and ridicule the U.S. soccer efforts, there is continual improvement and unless Turkey gets its act together expect a lot more spankings from the U.S., oh,
and Estonia or Bosnia.

Today, because of my families' mixed background, I was not for either team. I wanted to
see high quality play and I found this game entertaining. I wish nothing but the best for each team.
jotun • 06:53 • May 30, 2010
+1 on the post above. I was at the game rooting for Turkiye, however this isnt because i blindly think turkish players are on an elite level compared to the americans(i think they have a great composure and a very opportunistic style of play), it is simply because i am much more in touch with the turkish squad on a weekly basis. Seeing them live after following them through TV and internet for years was more than enough for me, i didnt really care that they lost, we didnt have true hunger, while the american squad HAD to move into the group stages with momentum and confidence...
Fener_eniste • 07:00 • May 30, 2010
@ fener-pnw...I'm going today right after the Rampage/Rashad Evans fight.
Aydan • 09:50 • May 30, 2010
I was very disappointed that we lost the game today. fener-pnw you said Nathan had disdain for the US come on man you just don't like the fact that we are Americans who choose to support Turkey. But frankly I don't see how it is possible not to support Turkey if you support Fenerbahçe because by supporting the United States you are going against our own players. In my opinion to support the United States means I will be supporting MLS and United States soccer and I am not willing to do that under any circumstances.
Let me ask you this question it is clear that you choose to support US soccer and promote it and you want everybody to have this positive view of US soccer and the US national team and you have the freedom to believe that. You pointed out that having a negative view of the US team is not a requirement to be loyal to Turkey. Well I would like to take it one step further an American is not required to support the national team to be a loyal American either. Just as you have the freedom to promote US soccer Don't I as an American have the same right not to. After all the U.S. Constitution guarantees the pursuit of happiness so why as an American should I be forced to support the US soccer team and MLS against my will simply because I'm American? That doesn't seem like pursuit of happiness to me. It seems like you are saying that if you are American and you choose to support Turkey rather than the United States you are somehow betraying the United States itself. Just because I don't support US soccer does not mean that I am disloyal to my country it simply means that I am disloyal to US soccer.
serdar_tasci • 12:05 • May 30, 2010

griggsy • 13:48 • May 30, 2010
Well said fener-pnw,
aydin, what a wonderful rant about something he never even mentioned, sounds like you are arguing with yourself.
I am Australian and a Fenerbahçe fan. Because of my love for Fener I am interested in the Turkish national team however I would support the Australian team head to head anytime. In Australia too football is an 'afterthought' but that only makes me love them more. Considering these were the kids who were mocked at school for playing 'wogball' or constantly had their sexuality questioned because they weren't man enough to play rugby or Aussie rules, then after the years and effort these players put in to reach an elite level they receive little to no recognition at home.
All this aside I agree with fener-pnw's view on a less biased reporting, we should respect any opponent and be gracious in defeat.
GFBHollanda • 14:27 • May 30, 2010
Ramos... He won twice the uefa cup. But he failed outside spain very hard... So Im not so sure about him... I want Aykut Kocaman!
griggsy • 14:40 • May 30, 2010
another successful Spanish coach....great
nathan • 16:49 • May 30, 2010
Hey everyone, thanks for the comments and constructive criticism :) As most of you know, I am American and still live in the United States. America is a wonderful place, and I love it. I certainly don't have US "soccer" either. I don't always see eye-to-eye with their administration, but I wish them well.

I stand by my comments, however. There is no way to spin the fact that a loss to the Americans is embarrassing for Turkey, for a number of reasons. There is arguably no more football-passionate country than Turkey. In America, "soccer" is maybe the 5th or 6th sporting priority, at best. When England lost to the United States in the 1950 World Cup, it was embarrassment to England that is still talked about today. It's not a disrespect to America, but a sour moment for English football.

There are a number of factors that led to our loss yesterday. Playing their third match in seven days, underestimation, etc. But under Fatih Terim, we could beat any team in the world, and we could lose to any team in the world. It's important for the Milli Takim to put those days behind them. Had we lost to the Czech Republic, it could have been excused. A loss to either Northern Ireland or the United States is certainly different.

The USA deserved to win yesterday, and I take nothing away from their win. They played a good second half, saw us getting tired, and they attacked. We made two crucial mistakes in the second half, but they had to capitalize on them, and they did. The goal based on Volkan's mistake was a tremendous play by the Americans. They deserved the win, and they were the better side in the second half.

But Turkey losing to USA in "soccer" is like USA Basketball's "Dream Team" losing to Austria. It's an embarrassing blemish on an otherwise fantastic tour.

Good luck to the Americans, and they were better conditioned than we were on Saturday. We still have a lot of work to do to get to where we need to be. Hopefully the loss yesterday will stay in our minds and motivate us.
berkan8gulsen • 16:52 • May 30, 2010
yea i was there, at the game. i was really pissed off. usa fans are really assholes. i really wanted to punch them in the face. NOT KIDDING.
nathan • 17:24 • May 30, 2010
the booing by American fans during the Turkish National Anthem, as well as booing when our players were injured, will certainly not be forgotten.
Aydan • 18:57 • May 30, 2010
berkan8gulsen I totally agree with you I was so angry at the USA fans their conduct totally disgusted me. It gave me yet another reason not to support US soccer. I actually enjoyed booing the US team yesterday. There is no excuse for what the USA fans did during the Turkish national anthem or when our players were injured that is just plain unsportsmanlike. And it does not help the image of US soccer at all. Actually griggsy the subject was brought up in an earlier discussion when I said I hated US soccer. You have the freedom to support whoever you would like that's my whole point. It's not a rant either I am giving my opinion and telling how I feel as American who is supporting Turkey. I have every right to express my opinion and feelings just as you have.
fener-pnw • 20:05 • May 30, 2010
Thanks for you comments Nathan! Great job on the blog.
Aydan • 20:44 • May 30, 2010
fener-pnwI have to admit you're right about one thing I had no idea we had that many soccer fans in America! It's too bad some of them chose to show poor sportsmanship by booing the Turkish national anthem because at just makes the whole USA fan base look bad. I found it very upsetting the US soccer fans would do something like that. Is this a common occurrence when the US team plays?
WirSINDFenerbahce • 21:25 • May 30, 2010
Anytime another set of fans boo a National Anthem it is very disrespectful. As a Germany supporter I see it all the time done to us!
berkan8gulsen • 21:35 • May 30, 2010
yea, totally disrespectful. The U.S. fans don't no shit anyways. They just try to get in the picture with everyone else.
WirSINDFenerbahce • 21:47 • May 30, 2010
By the way I love the sound of your National Anthem! Turkish Warriors!
Aydan • 21:47 • May 30, 2010
yeah I couldn't believe the US fans I hope people don't think all Americans are like that. It was very cool being able to sing both national anthems yesterday it was a lot of fun.
Aydan • 21:54 • May 30, 2010
I love the Turkish national anthem too I have it as a ring tone on my cell phone! :-)
polat10 • 03:46 • May 31, 2010
The booing they did to the turkish national anthem and booing our players because of them getting injured made me lose all respect for the U.S. national team. I live in america and always supported the U.S.A in every major tournament they are in, but after what happened yesterday i just lost all respect for them.
fener-pnw • 05:49 • May 31, 2010
As far as I am concerned anyone can root for whoever they want. I love both Turkish and American soccer.
sageleader • 06:26 • May 31, 2010
I agree with a lot of the comments here.

1) I was at the game and yes the Turks deserved to win based on the first half. They worked hard and really made a lot of efforts on goal. Our defense was really great, and our mids were solid. Kazim really did nothing once again. Anyway I was disappointed in the game, but Volkan made a few mistakes and that's what happens. Oh well. I was really impressed with Hamit, Sabri, Emre, and Sercan.

2) I am an American and love the Milli Takim. I was sporting my Turkish jersey and scarf and was cheering hardcore. But you all are right - the American fans were assholes. They repeatedly shouted "Turkey sucks!" to anyone they saw in the stadium. Even little kids were yelling this at me and I'm an American that was supporting Turkey. I do have to say though that I think most of those people don't represent the US. The US isn't used to the FIFA Fair Play mentality. They are used to yelling at each other, city rivalries that end in drunken fights, and vulgarities that are ridiculous. While this happens a lot in other countries with soccer, I think in the US it's more of a mindless banter rather than spirited debate.

3) The stadium security were really rude to Turkish fans. Before the game a small (20 people) crowd was waiting in the first row by where the players came out. Security told them to leave and find their seats for no reason. Also, after the game they insisted that Turkish fans leave the stadium while I didn't see this for US fans. And a bunch of us were waiting at the gate by the bus to try to get autographs and they made us move down the block, even though we weren't doing anything and we were on public property.

4) Speaking of that - Arda came out, as well as Mehmet Topal and Servet. They took pics and signed things. Most players went straight to the bus. Sad really, because I missed them coming out in New Jersey :(

Overall though it was a fantastic atmosphere and we represented well. I'm excited for the possibilities once Guus Hiddink takes over
nathan • 06:31 • May 31, 2010
great comments, sage - thanks for sharing!
Aydan • 06:38 • May 31, 2010
polat I have to say I have to defend the US team on this it is not the fault of the US national team that a few of their fans decided to be disrespectful donkeys I don't tink you should judge the team by the actions of their fans that would be like blaming Fenerbahçe for the fires in the stadium at the end of the season. Can those of you that were there at the game tell me was it a lot of US fans booing or just a small group? I could not tell from TV. I hope it was a minority and not the majority.
sageleader • 08:41 • May 31, 2010
I would say it was maybe 50% of the US fans booing. It was easy to hear in the stadium, but there were 55,000 people so it's hard to say how many were actually booing. I was near the US section behind the goal and they were all definitely booing.

I agree with you, though, Aydan, that you can't blame the team for their stupid fans. Although I have seen that on this site many times from comments, except when it comes to Fener. Look at Diyarbakir, Bursa, etc.
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