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United States-Turkey Preview: Yanks Looking to Avoid Another Slow Start

The USA got off to a slow start against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, but can a healthy Clint Dempsey be the missing piece to a quick start against a very solid Turkey team?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There's really not much to preview here, because I expect Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States to use more or less the same lineup against Turkey as they did against Azerbaijan.

The biggest difference is that captain Clint Dempsey will be starting after being held out for precautionary reasons on Tuesday. Chris Wondolowski made the start against Azerbaijan and had two early headers on goal but both were saved.

I don't expect to see any changes in the starting defense as the starting backline of DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson need all the minutes they can get to build chemistry and cohesion in the next two weeks before Brazil.

If there were lineup changes to had by Klinsmann, count me in the group that wants to see Kyle Beckerman start ahead of Jermaine Jones. Having Beckerman as the true holding midfielder allows Michael Bradley to get up field more and would better suit Klinsmann's new diamond midfield formation in my opinion. Klinsmann could also opt for a New England Revolution style 4-1-4-1 and put both Bradley and Dempsey in the center of the midfield with Beckerman behind them and Jozy Altidore up top.

Graham Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya were solid against Azerbaijan and Bedoya arguably had one of his best games in the US shirt. Brad Davis came in off the bench to the left wing position and delivered two assists from set pieces, proving that even as a potential role player he can have a tremendous impact on a game.

As far as other substitutions go, reserve fullbacks Timmy Chandler and DeAndre Yedlin have to get acclimated to their positions quickly. Chandler wasn't bad at left back but it's not his normal position and Yedlin is still learning his position in general. With the US gameplan involving the fullbacks getting forward, and both Yedlin and Chandler are capable of doing so, both players could feature off the bench again.

As far as Turkey goes, they beat Honduras 2-0 earlier in the week with a lineup of mostly reserves as Joshua Nadel noted on Twitter, so any scouting report I had from watching that game is kind of pointless. But what Turkey did do against Honduras was sit back and counter on the wings, and the did this very well in the second half after Honduras started substituting. The US fullbacks, in particular Chandler and Yedlin (especially Yedlin) need to be aware of this and venture forward with caution.

The only real goals for the USA in this game should be avoiding such a dreadful start like they had against Azerbaijan. Sure things might have been different if Wondo had headed home in the early stages but after the first 15 minutes the US was beyond flat. The conditioning and hard practices at the Stanford training camp might have had some effect with tired, heavy legs, but a better opponent would have punished a few of the early US mistakes. Turkey I think is a better opponent and just beat a fellow CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Honduras so if the US starts off slow again, the breakthrough will not come as easily as it did against Azerbaijan. And fans had to wait for Mix Diskerud to pounce on a 75th minute rebound on Tuesday.

Kickoff from Red Bull Arena is at 2PM EST and the game can be seen on ESPN2.