USA – Turkey Tactical Analysis

First half

1st Half

USA, lining up in a nominal 4-4-2, failed to contain Turkey’s midfield, particularly when Landon Donovan and Benny Feilhaber pinched inward. Their movement turned the formation into a 4-2-2-2 and left extra room on the wings, which, coupled with a lack of pressure, created time for Turkey’s attackers to find each other. Had Feilhaber, Donovan, Clark, and Bradley closed off space, the formation would have worked (as it has in the past). As it stood, the US fullbacks were vulnerable. Carlos Bocanegra acquitted himself well at left back but Jonathan Spector couldn’t handle the isolation and was fortunate that Turkey didn’t victimize him for multiple goals.

In attack, Feilhaber and Donovan seemed to have latitude to push forward or move wide, with Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey following their lead. However, their spacing was too tight and enabled Turkey to fend off most attacks. Donovan and Feilhaber switched wings for the final fifteen minutes and then remained out wide, stretching Turkey’s defense and leading to a number of decent chances.

2nd Half

Bob Bradley used the same tactics in the second half (perhaps the only change was the outside midfielders having a slightly wider starting position), but a few substitutes made for a more potent offense. Findley’s switch with Feilhaber pushed Dempsey to left midfield, Torres replaced the ineffectual Ricardo Clark, and Steve Cherundolo came on for the beleaguered Spector.

Second half

Both center midfielders continued to roam wherever necessary, but Torres’ intelligent play made both offense and defense that much sharper.

As in the first half, the left and right midfielders – in this case Dempsey and Donovan – had latitude to make runs into or up the field, but they combined with the strikers much better than in the first 45 minutes. Perhaps Bradley the Elder made this a point of emphasis in his halftime speech.Whichever area of the pitched the wingers decided to attack, Cherundolo and Bocanegra ably filled the spaces they vacated, with Cherundolo having a bit more freedom to go forward.

The strikers also functioned much as they did in the first half, but Findley’s arrival allowed Dempsey to play his preferred left midfield and gave the US an extra bit of pace.

A cameo by Stuart Holden (81st) did nothing to hold back the offense, and Cherundolo and Holden picked up where they left off on Tuesday, displaying an uncanny ability to find each other in space.

Health Concerns

Oguchi Onyewu, another second half substitute, looked fitter than he did in Tuesday’s loss to the Czech Republic, and Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra both showed no ill-effects from recent injuries, though Bocanegra was taken out deep into the second half.

Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at Robbie Findley’s performance, including his every touch.

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. bensten says:

    I liked Dempsey MUCH better in the second half playing (attacking) mid. Let’s hope Bradley got that experiment out of his system and will stick with Altidore plus X up top and Donovan/Dempsey in midfield.

    Holden continues to impress me, even in his meager 10 minutes today, but the great revelation for me was Torres. Wow, that little guy can hold and distribute. Throw in that creative flair and you’ve got the seed of what could be USA’s own Xavi/Iniesta.

    • Gringo_Prime says:

      Dempsey definitely looked good in the midfield, but, like you said, the question remains – who starts up top with Jozy?

      I wonder if we’ll see a different starting striker depending on the game. Perhaps the more experienced Gomez or Buddle will get the nod against England, while the quicker Findley is deployed against Algeria or Slovenia.

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