Turkey down Northern Ireland
Goals in the 48th and 72nd minutes from Turkish substitutes Sercan Yildirim and Semih Senturk gave Guus Hiddink's side victory in early afternoon heat of 93 degrees at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Yet for a starting line-up featuring five debutants and only three players with cap totals in double figures, the Northern Ireland boss was delighted with his players' commitment.
"A great exercise," Worthington said. "I thought in the first half we were very solid on a very, very hot day for both teams. The players dealt with it very, very well. Second half, I just felt that we lost our discipline a little bit in our shape but overall it was a tremendous exercise and there's many players that have come through with credit."
Worthington said the heat had inevitably been a debilitating factor on the game. He added: "I think the temperature was recorded (at pitch level) at 103 and it's not something that we're used to on a game basis. The players have dealt with it magnificently and overall I'm very pleased."
Worthington's team had kept a lively Turkish side at bay for the first 45 minutes without launching an attack themselves. Hiddink, who had seen his side beat the Czech Republic 2-1 last Saturday in New Jersey, changed his midfield personnel at half-time, withdrew Bayern Munich's Hamit Altintop following his UEFA Champions League final exertions at the weekend in Madrid and brought in Sercan Yildirim of Bursaspor, while Mehmet Topal replaced Nuri Sahin.
The move immediately paid dividends as Turkey went in front with a goal three minutes after the break as Sercan slid the ball beyond Alan Blayney. Linfield goalkeeper Blayney had been one of four Irish League players handed a first cap - club-mates Robert Garrett and Jamie Mulgrew and Portadown's Kevin Braniff also figured, while the fifth new cap went to teenage winger Johnny Gorman of Wolves, aged 17 years 212 days.
Hiddink, with a much larger squad at his disposal, was able to swap like for like in terms of experience and Northern Ireland spent long periods without the ball. Their first attempt on goal did not come until the 54th minute when Rangers full-back Andrew Little hooked a shot onto the roof of the Turkey net.
Turkish dominance continued, however, with another sub, Semih, finding the net in 72nd minute, slotting home from just inside the area as Worthington's defence was unable to clear its lines.
Worthington introduced more new blood by bringing in Josh Magennis, Michael Bryan, James Lawrie, Rory McArdle and Colin Coates, all of whom were sent on in the last 20 minutes. The fresh legs allowed Northern Ireland to regroup and regain the shape they had kept so well in the first half.
The new-look side stood firm in the face of a series of further Turkish attacks while at the other end Watford winger Bryan quickly made a good impression, beating two Turkish defenders before turning towards the opposition goal, his shot saved comfortably by Onur Recep Kivrak. Northern Ireland were set to leave Connecticut immediately after the game for a 5,000-mile flight to Chile, whose FIFA World Cup™-bound side they will face in Chillan on Sunday night.
Turkey move on to Philadelphia where they will provide the opposition for the USA as they bid farewell to their fans at Lincoln Financial Field before heading to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.