Besler and Zusi start as U.S. claims another friendly win

Zusi vs. Turkey

Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi earned two more starts as the United States beat Turkey 2-1 on Sunday in Harrison, New Jersey.

Fabian Johnson and Clint Dempsey scored goals in either half as the Americans won their second of three friendlies before the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The United States broke through after 26 minutes when Johnson played to Michael Bradley in a central position 25 yards from goal. Bradley then returned a perfectly weighted chip pass to Johnson who had continued his run into the box, and the full back smashed a half volley low into the corner.

Dempsey doubled the advantage in the 52nd minute with a simple tap-in after Turkey failed to clear a low cross into the six-yard area.

Selcuk Inan converted a 90th minute penalty for Turkey, but the United States held on to the final whistle.

Besler was involved in the United States’ first big chance of the match, glancing a header across the face of goal following a corner kick. Jozy Altidore bundled home from close range but was called for a foul on goalkeeper Onur Kivrak just seconds earlier.

Turkey threatened multiple times in the first half, with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin hitting the post in the 12th minute, yet the United States reached halftime with a shutout in tact. Besler, who earned his 16th cap Sunday afternoon, was subbed out during the break as 21-year-old German-American John Anthony Brooks partnered Geoff Cameron in central defense. The United States is now 11-1-3 when Besler starts.

Zusi received his 22nd cap and started on the right side of a midfield diamond. He played 69 minutes before making way for Mix Diskerud. His energetic performance was highlighted by a brilliant cross to Julian Green in the 64th minute, however the 18-year-old forward’s heavy first touch prevented him from testing the keeper.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard passed Kasey Keller to set the U.S. record with 54 career victories. Sunday also marked Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30th victory as manager, tied for third on the all-time U.S. win list.

The United States concludes its three-game Send-Off Series against Nigeria on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida (5 p.m. CT, ESPN). The Americans then head to Brazil on June 9 for their seventh straight FIFA World Cup appearance.