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.