Ghana 2 USA 1: …..And That’s All She Wrote

I was fairly confident but cautious about the USA’s chances against Ghana. Then I looked at the lineup and cause Ricardo Clark, Jonathan Bornstein, and Robbie Findley all in the starting XI. By the full-time whistle two of them were subbed off and Bornstein ended up being one of the better players in the match. After 120 minutes of tense, thrilling football, there would be no miracle for the Americans. Instead it’s Ghana who once again knock off the US and advance to the quarterfinals in just their 2nd ever trip, winning 2-1 in extra time on a 93rd minute volley from Asamoah Gyan.

Once again a Bob Bradley team got knocked down early. Kevin Prince-Boateng capitalized on a Ricardo Clark turnover and scored in the 5th minute of the match. In 3 out of 4 games the US has conceded in the opening 15 minutes. That is a serious coaching problem that never cost them in the group stage.

Landon Donovan equalized on a penalty kick (which probably makes up 65% of his goals for the national team) in the 2nd half but the US could not get the winning goal. Once extra time came Ghana pumped a long ball forward, and Gyan muscled past two central defenders (Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit) and smashed home a good volley past Tim Howard to give the African side a lead they would not relinquish.

I’m spent just watching the game so I don’t have much more in the tank to write. I will say that I’m not pleased with how the US performed in this World Cup. Rallying is nice but the USA made it too hard for themselves. Falling behind in the blink of an eye is inexcusable. We should be beating Ghana and Slovenia without difficulty but it looks like this is just not a good enough team.

Bob Bradley’s decision to start Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley (again) should be a firing offense. Why mess with the lineup by putting in two liabilities? Clark was so bad that he got subbed for the superior Maurice Edu in the 30th minute. Findley had a shot on goal go straight at the keeper but was ineffective the rest of the way. Benny Feilhaber came on and was much more effective than either one of these men. Sorry Bob, it’s time to go; he is a good coach but not one to lead us to better things.

Congratulations to Ghana for a great game. They outplayed the US for most of the 1st half and hung tough when nerves were unsettled at 1-1. I wish them the best of luck as they try and get to the semifinals. Uruguay is next after their 2-1 win against South Korea and they are a very good squad. An African team is just one win away from the semis.

And so ends another World Cup run for the USA. It was fun, heart-stopping, thrilling, and frustrating all at the same time. Improvements are needed to contend in 2014. I’m proud of the fightback but annoyed with the slow starts and mental lapses. Hopefully we will have a coach that will lead this nation upwards.

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4 thoughts on “Ghana 2 USA 1: …..And That’s All She Wrote

  1. kt1000

    I agree with most of your observations. Which, of course, means Sunil Gulati resigns Bradley.

    Reply
  2. JFein

    I agree mostly with what you say, but I do want to add that even though the U.S. bowed out against Ghana in the Round of 16, the importance of the Donovan goal against Algeria in terms of the history of U.S. soccer and it’s future cannot be understated. Even if they beat Ghana and heck, even if they got past Uruguay, something not out of the question, the U.S. was not winning this World Cup. They are nowhere near the likes of the top teams in the world. But in terms of building for the future, that Donovan goal was instrumental. The United States is in contention to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup. The media coverage of this team is beyond what I can ever recall for soccer. FIFA claim they don’t consider what happens on the field in determining the World Cup hosts, but I refuse to believe that they are turning a blind eye to this U.S. team, the Donovan goal, and how much this country embraced soccer. More kids are going to be joining their first youth soccer team now, wanting to be the next Landon Donovan. Soccer is going to continue to grow and grow in this country. Changes need to be made to the U.S. team in the immediate future, without a doubt, including a new coach, preferably a European one, but looking long-term, if the right moves are made now, is it really a stretch to suggest that should the U.S. win the hosting rights for the 2018 or the more likely 2022 World Cup, that they would be amongst the favorites to win that World Cup?

    Reply
    1. Mookie Post author

      No…..no the Donovan goal is pretty much where it stands, a goal that bailed the team out from an ultimate embarrassment by going out with 3 draws. I’ve seen this story before and we’ve beaten on this drum for almost 10 years. There was nothing special about the goal itself because Donovan had an empty net. Think of it as the Ryan Kesler goal (I think it was him) to tie the gold medal game at 2-2 against Canada in the Olympics. He got the rebound and was at the right place at the right time. Had both of them missed they would have been pasted, and rightly so because you would have to be the Nigerian National Team if you’re going to blow an open goal.

      I’d rather they would be the next Brian McBride, a true leader and a great player for the US. Donovan just totally disappeared in the Ghana game and the penalty kick does not excuse him from criticism.

      Soccer is just not going to rise with the big sports like basketball and football having the market cornered. And as far as I’m concerned the US has to hire a foreign coach. We just do not have the people to advance soccer further in this country and I think hiring Jurgen Klinsmann is our only option. We’re the richest country in the world and have all the facilities available but not enough interest. Muhsin Muhammad and Ryan Braun were both very good soccer players but got pressured to go to other sports because the money and attention is there.

      I guarantee you that by say….October the soccer talk will die down like it normally does and we’ll begin to shrug it off. We are just not a soccer society.

      Reply
      1. JFein

        What tops the Donovan goal? None of the goals against Mexico in 2002 had the drama attached to it as the Donovan goal did and while the 1950 Gaetjens goal was big, the United States ultimately came in last place in that group. Let’s face it, when you’re history as a national soccer team includes a World Cup drought extending from 1954-1990, a dramatic stoppage time goal to save a team from an embarrassing result after it fought it’s hard out for an entire game is the most important goal in U.S. soccer. It was memorable. It was certainly no Carlos Tevez strike, but none have been more dramatic than that, none have captivated the World Cup into American culture like that, and outside of 1994 when the United States hosted the World Cup, none have given the World Cup the ratings it has been getting. Only a pair of games in 1994 had a higher percentage of American television households watching than the U.S.-Ghana game. One can never say for sure, but I would be willing to bet that some of those first time viewers were encouraged to tune in thanks to the Donovan goal and the overall performance against Algeria. FIFA no doubt took note of this it is the baby steps like this that clinches a hosting spot for the United States, which when combined with making the right personnel decisions on the field, is one step closer to being looked at as one of the teams to actually be looked at as a serious title contender, and not just another Mexico, a team who always has a good squad but can never take it to the next level.

        If the United States hires Jurgen Klinsmann, I will scream with glee and joy. I’ve never shared this online yet, but I have been thinking for a while now that Klinsmann would be an excellent hire for the USMNT coach. I may have the Donovan goal on a special platform, but it is like I said, the correct on the field decisions need to be made as well in order to advance U.S. soccer. Bob Bradley constantly out thought himself with his starting line-up, panicked when it did not work out, wasted his substitutions early because of his panic (and the absolute urgent need to get Ricardo Clark as far away from the pitch as humanly possible), and seemed to have no ability to motivate his team to play the 1st 15 minutes. I do agree with you that he absolutely needs to be fired or step down himself as soon as possible, as he has no place in the potentially bright future of U.S. soccer I painted above.

        Soccer talk in the media will absolutely die down, and MLS may not get much of a ratings boost (if any), but I still feel that more kids will be wanting to join youth soccer leagues. They may be inspired by Donovan, but hopefully you are right and they actually turn out to be like McBride.

        Reply

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