I made my knee-jerk Starting XI for the US World Cup team once the final roster was announced. Now, it seems only fitting to provide an updated Starting XI after seeing the team play Turkey.
Cherundolo DeMerit Onyewu Bocanegra
Donovan Edu Bradley Dempsey
top subs, Torres, Holden, Goodson
Cherundolo in for Spector: Spector did not have a good day. He was burned a couple times but most noticeably was responsible for the Turkey goal as he took way too many touches before losing the ball at the edge of the 18, starting the counter-attack where Turkey scores. I am all for Spector getting involved in the offense but he needs to be smart about it. Cherundolo was very involved in the US attack during the 2nd half but was cautious enough to not get stuck in the offensive third.
Dempsey for Beasley: I've never been a big fan of Dempsey up top. He has always seemed to be more effective at midfield and making overlapping runs instead of starting up top. Today helps prove that point as he was largely ineffective in the first half yet had 3 or 4 quality chances on goal in the second half.
Findley for Dempsey: This is a tough decision and realistically, Dempsey will be up top to start and Findley (or Buddle) will come in off the bench as a 2nd half sub. I'm willing to throw Findley in the starting XI for now as he was the catalyst on much of the effective play and really was able to link up the midfield and forwards. His speed was even able to rundown and break up a Turkey counterattack. I don't like starting Findley but with Dempsey at outside mid, its hard to find another forward that could step in here.
What about Torres? Torres was magnificent the entire 2nd half. He really showed what he brings to the team and outside of his late freekick going in the goal, I'm not sure what else he could have done to prove his worth. That said, I'm not convinced that he would be as effective over 90 minutes as he is over 30 or 40 minutes. To me, Torres is the ultimate 2nd half sub as he plays with a ton of pace, has a quick strike, and can really change the dynamic of a game in a hurry. So, no starting nod (yet) but he will definitely see the field every game.
I thought that the halftime subs made the difference in the game, especially Torres, Findley, and Cherundolo. I am a firm believer that both Donovan and Dempsey are most effective attacking inside from the wing midfield position with dangerous overlapping runs and that proved true in the 2nd half. Bornstein should never see the field in the world cup. Ever.