Mix Diskerud (pictured) and the United States will face Turkey in a pre-World Cup friendly on June 1, 2014, at Red Bulll Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo: Mexsport)
NEW YORK -- With two high-level European foes in Portugal and Germany on the horizon, the United States is hoping for a test from Turkey in a World Cup warm-up match on Sunday.
Though the Turks failed to qualify for the FIFA event, they have won five consecutive games – including Thursday’s 2-0 victory over Honduras – and can challenge the Americans at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, in their fourth all-time meeting.
"With Turkey we have a team now on a very high level, a team that almost qualified as well with very good individual players," U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "Turkey is an unpredictable team. It's a team with a lot of individual skills in there. Good players that can make a difference in half a second and they will challenge us. We wanted to start off [pre-World Cup warm-ups] kind of on an easy foot and now with Turkey we really have a benchmark that will really give us some insight of things."
The U.S. defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 on Tuesday thanks to second-half goals from substitutes Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson. Though some observers wanted to see the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion take-on more difficult competition, especially with numerous World Cup participants in the country : for training camps, Klinsmann was realistic about the situation.
"Like every team has qualified for the World Cup, you try to find the best teams that suit you," he expressed. "But it's not that easy anymore. Some of the teams that we contacted right away that we wanted to play, I felt they backed off and said, 'No, not really the U.S. team.' It has to do a little bit with our results over the last two years. It's getting more and more difficult for us to play certain teams."
Wins against Italy, Mexico and Bosnia-Herzegovina over the past two years have made scheduling somewhat more difficult.
Against Turkey, the USA is expected to use a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield that will deploy Michael Bradley at the top and Jermaine Jones as the sole defensive midfielder. They generally have played side-by-side as defensive midfielders in the past.
Klinsmann did not want to dwell on systems and formations, preferring to downplay their significance.
“There is no such thing as a best system,” said the 49-year-old. “It doesn’t really matter really if you play a 4-4-2 diamond, or a flat four or a 4-3-2-1. It doesn't really matter because it’s the whole team, how it shapes up and how it works as an entire unit, how it attacks collectively and how it defends collectively.
"We want to be prepared in different ways on how we approach the teams. We have at least two or three systems. The system right now suits a lot of our players because it's also based on their strengths. It's good for us that we work on different ones and hopefully use different ones at different moments in Brazil.”