CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Saturday, June 26, 2010
United States vs Ghana
World Cup - Saturday June 26, 2010
Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Two ghastly defensive errors ended the US' World Cup hopes, as their spirited run came to a screeching halt, eliminated for the second successive time by well-organized Ghana.

Continuing a trend in this appearance in the tournament, the US found themselves down early after a Kevin-Prince Boateng tally, before yet another comeback with a Landon Donovan penalty, but an immediate gaffe in extra time was too much for the Americans to overcome.

In his starting eleven Bob Bradley opted to continue with Jonathan Bornstein instead of Oguchi Onyewu in the backline, and Ricardo Clark in the midfield instead of Maurice Edu, a choice that would prove to be costly.

The squads moved the ball forward in the opening five minutes with the US channeling up the right side with Robbie Findley and Landon Donovan for a cross that found no target.

Ghana responded four minutes in with the first shot of the game after Asamoah Gyan found Samuel Inkoom on the right, but the FC Basel striker was off-target.

The Africans jumped out to the lead in the fifth minute following a horrific Clark giveaway in the midfield that popped out to Kevin-Prince Boateng. The Portsmouth forward streaked down the left side, eluded Jay DeMerit, and slotted past a helpless Tim Howard for the early lead.

In frustration, Clark who also coughed up England's goal in the World Cup opener, was incredibly lucky to just see yellow a minute later for a foul on the goal-scorer from Portsmouth.

The US tried to organize offense and created another opportunity in the 12th minute, but Jozy Altidore was unable to get a good foot on his blast from 25 out.

The Ghanaians dominated possession and dictated the tempo for much of the first quarter-hour. Focusing their offense on Andre Ayew put pressure on left back Steve Cherundolo, who saw yellow in the 18th minute after a studs-to-thigh foul on the Arles midfielder. The ensuing blast from Gyan from the corner of the box was punched away by Tim Howard.

The US tried to work their way down the field with a breakaway in the the 20th minute, but Ghana foiled their attempt. Two minutes later, a Boateng foul on Cherundolo set up a Donovan free kick from right side, leading to a Michael Bradley cross from left. Wigan Athletic backup keeper Richard Kingson stood strong in goal and was there to pounce on the dangerous delivery.

Still looking for another goal, the ever-dangerous Boateng got off a pass to the right in the 28th minute after drawing DeMerit and Cherundolo. Kwadwo Asamoah was there for the cross but just a a touch too strong.

Just past the half-hour mark, coach Bradley made a rare early substitution turning to Edu to stand in for the brutal Clark.

"We go through the same process before every game," coach Bradley said after the match. "We felt that fresh legs in the center of the field would be a good idea."

"I was concerned about the card. I told him that the decision was solely based on the card. Ricardo is such a good man. He felt badly about the ball he lost, and I simply said 'that's part of soccer.'"

Neither side looked threatening until the 35th minute when, after a series of giveaways, Dempsey found Findley for a shot in the box that Kingson kicked to safety.

Asamoah posed a threat of his own a few minutes later, getting past DeMerit after a long goal kick and unleashing a shot that required a save from Howard.

The US looked for more ideas to break through the Ghanaian defense, but a free kick set piece from 40 yards out failed to find a head.

The first half came to a close with a clear advantage for Ghana who outshot the Americans 9-4.

For the second half Benny Feilhaber entered for Findley, thus shifting Dempsey up top with Altidore, as the US had started for the second half in the game against Algeria.

The US came out of the gates on all cylinders with a drive downfield and a near miss. Donovan crossed in for Altidore in the penalty area, who laid off to Feilhaber at the goal box, but Kingson got a hand on it.

"Benny's was a great chance, but he's having to stretch forward," Tim Howard later said about the chance. "Nothing was set forward for us perfectly."

In the 53rd minute Bornstein pulled off a nice feed through the box, but no one there for the taking. Their next time down the field US surged forward again with Donovan swinging in a cross, but too high for Altidore and to fast for Dempsey at the back post.

The pressure finally paid off for the Americans just over the hour mark after Dempsey nutmegged John Mensah cutting through the box. Twenty-year old Jonathan Mensah caught up with the Fulham midfielder, but brought him down and earned a yellow in the process.

Landon Donovan stepped up for the penalty and coolly pinged inside the right post for the vital equalizer.

Largely transparent in the second half, Ghana finally orchestrated an attack in the 68th minute and earned a Bocanegra yellow for a foul. On the ensuing free kick, Asamoah unleashed a blast that Howard cradled with ease.

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac swapped defenders in the 73rd minute with Lee Addy entering for Hans Sarpei.

The Black Stars indeed did not look like they were through, moving forward with an Asamoah delivery in for a Gyan header over the bar.

The US then saw a few big chances to take the lead. In the 77th minute, Altidore spotted Michael Bradley slipping through the defense onsides for a shot, but Kingson managed to cover.

After Stephen Appiah entered for Boateng a minute later, Bornstein found Altidore with a long ball who, while muscling down John Mensah, managed to get a shot off while on the ground that dribbled inches from the right post.

With the end of regulation in sight, Ayew received a yellow for tripping up Altidore while sprinting down the sideline, and earned a yellow from Kassai's pocket.

Herculez Gomez came on for Altidore with the start of the added extra time, in hopes of jumpstarting the US offense.

Yet, Ghana only needed a three minutes to find the go-ahead goal courtesy of Asamoah Gyan. Outrunning his Rennes teammate Bocanegra, Gyan shook off DeMerit and fired home a left-footer beyond the reach of Howard for the winner.

"We put a lot into getting this game to 1-1 and we had one very good chance before regulation finished," Bradley commented. "In the overtime we felt good about where were physically and where we were in the game. The fact that we gave up a goal so quickly... there's not much time. It's going to be hard to get it back."

The US tried nonetheless to create chances, including a Bornstein cross through the box in the 98th minute that fell to Feilhaber for a strike, but deflected out.

Nearing the 110 minute mark, Inkoom tugged at Bornstein's jersey, earning a 30-yard free kick for Donovan that Kingson punched out.

Running out of steam and unable to penetrate the solid Ghanaian defense, the Americans accepted their fate and the 2-1 scoreline, bringing an end to an otherwise memorable World Cup run.

"You have to play over 90 minutes and we didn't to it," Howard said about what went wrong. "We should have won the game, or at least taken it to penalty kicks. We got ourselves behind the eight ball. When guys get inside and around the heart of the defense and penalty spot, you're asking for trouble."

"We played a pretty good game," Donovan added. "[We] just made a couple of mistakes and got punished for it."

As for the Ghanaians, they continue their run bearing the pride of Africa with a quarterfinal date with Uruguay, 2-1 winners over South Korea earlier in the day.
Tuesday June 29, 2010 7:13 am
Bradley for me has been a great coach. Topped qualifying group, topped WC group, great run to Confederations Cup final. The notion that a better coach can turn an ordinary group of players into world beaters is silly. Ask the English. The US team doesn't have "too much talent for Bradley to coach." That would be Argentina or Brazil or maybe Holland. We should keep in mind how Mexico reacted to a big name foreign coach.

What "Big Games" has Klinsmann won as a coach? Not the world cup when at home. No European championship either.

Altidore at 20 looks a lot, in fact, like Heskey at 20--except Heskey scored a lot more goals at that age for Leicester City than Altidore scored for Hull. That's why Liverpool came knocking. But he's definitely a talent and if he develops should give us what we need as a target man.

I'm rooting for Ghana.
Monday June 28, 2010 11:24 pm
People need to chill. bob did better than i ever expected, he actually took a chance and started torres vs. slovenia, clark, playing a full year with frnakfurt will have improbved leaps and bounds over the next year. saying that, Edu shouldve started since game one. Holden will be playing in the top leagues in the world for the next four years, but they were only SIX people on this world cup team that on the last, and I expect around that number again. At this time last world cup, no one knew who davies, jozy, holden, bornstein, edu or Bradley were, I feel that will be the same with with the next world cup. I and you guys obviously dont know, WE ARE NOT INVITED TO THE COPA AMERICA, so the biggest tournament we could play in until the next world cup is gone. we have to go alll out again in the gold cup,to qualify for the confedcup. I think we keep Bradeley one more year, and if we dont win the gold cup cut him. HE has surpised me during the world cup and if nothing else he motivated the players, Klinnsamn made great points how Americas biggest problem is First Touch and Technique, and I think right now we would rush into a descision, and would pick another coach from the world cup and not a club coach who coached in a top league, or a South American coach that has been successful, instead we would limit it now to Klinssman or Klinssman. The only coach from the world cup I would want is Marco Bielsa
Monday June 28, 2010 12:39 pm
Here is an honest breakdown of our USMT of which I am a fan.

1. Coach Bradley needs to be replaced for our team to get better. He is a defensive minded coach and quater and semifinalists at the world cup must have great offenses.

2. The game is played in the midfield. Focus on midfielders for 2014. If guys like jermaine jones, freddy adu, donovan and dempsey are still available start these four guys. Davies will make altidore very dangerous in the next world cup. We need to find an additional striker with a killer instint.

3. Our defense will have mostly new faces. But as with the entire team don't rely on mls caliber players. They cant hold up to WC quality.
Monday June 28, 2010 12:15 pm
All I have to say is the US team had too much talent for Bradley to coach plain and simple...always having to fix his own mistakes and. Choosing the same player who created the stupid mistakes. Fire Bradley
Monday June 28, 2010 11:23 am
Few things:

1) Altidore is more like a Drogba that can't shoot than a Heskey. Altidore is a million times more explosize/athletic than Heskey.

2) Solid crop of mids. I'd go 4-5-1. Edu, with bradley and feilhaber ahead of him in the center (see Chelsea with Mikel, Essien and Lampard), with Holden and donovan on the wings. This still leaves torres, adu, rogers, bedeyo and dempsey out of the lineup (and who knows, maybe even gaven, who is still young).

3). God help us at CB. How slow will Gooch be in 4 years? The backs spots could go two of Spector, Wynn, Bornstein (gasp) and pearce (gasp).
Monday June 28, 2010 7:25 am
The only foreign man for the job is klinsmann ,the others wont last in USSOCCER, or another good option would be to get an MLS foreign coach ,whose had success ,but i dont think that should be our first option. For the people who say klinsmann doesnt have a good record with Bayern munich are forgetting or not realizing that Bob Bradley wouldnt even last a game as bayern munich coach ,but he still coached USA. Klinsmann knows the US SYSTEM and knows the pros and cons of USSOCCER something that foreign coaches especially high profile ones will never accept and understand . He is one of very few high profile soccer figures whose been very involved in the USSOCCER system and at the sametime knows about higher level international soccer as a player and as coach. what Gulati has to realize is that USSOCCER will never change unless significant changes are made or else every world cup will be the same ,struggling to make it out of the first round and if we do ,we`ll be lucky to only get to the round of 16 or consider a quarter final finish as a championship for USA
Monday June 28, 2010 1:53 am

That is the right attitude to have about all of this.

Though I also hate Ricardo Clark.
Sunday June 27, 2010 8:03 pm
Guys Jozy is just 20..he almost scored vs. England...looked good holding the ball with Algeria...and almost scored...against Ghana got fouled alot...he will be wanted and will learned...when he starts to score watch out...patience...
Bradley was really in command and Edu looked good on passing finally versus Ghana...
remember there are good prospects waiting in the wings at Def...Gonzalez..maybe Marshall...there is a kid Bossa (something) who could be a great prospect...
1 win 2 draws 1 lose....5 goals 2 goals taken away...
Landon and Dempsey will be about 32 by next long did we have Reyna?
4 years is a long time and there will be new faces to mix with the old...2-1 to Ghana we were close and well...CLOSE...we are getting better...
4 games of drama and excitement....should we have advanced and maybe slaughtered like England...could we hold our heads....
15 years I have followed US players....this team has depth like none before and the next will be twice as strong!!
Sunday June 27, 2010 6:47 pm
My stab at the 2014 starting XI:

Altidore - Davies

(Adu/Donovan/Dempsey) - Feilhaber- Bradley - Holden

Edu - Gooch - Marshall - Spector


In an ideal world, I think either Bob Bradley or his replacement should just say to Freddie: "Look, this is your last good chance. We're going to put you at left winger for the next year, and you're going to be expected to replicate what Donovan has done for us in that role. You will have one position in one system, and you will either do everything we ask for, or we'll be forced to move on." If he can't cut it, then we go with the 30+ Deuce or Donovan on the left (with the other one being a great option off the bench).

Moving Edu to the backline also seems to make most sense to me- we have a glut of pretty good midfielders, and a mess in defense (see hoping Chad Marshall somehow develops into a top-tier player). I put him on the left here, but he could end up anywhere, really.

I see no reason to expect Howard not to still be Keeper #1 in four years, especially when I look at the kind of season Friedel just put up in England.

The quest for America's first great striker will have to continue, unfortunately. I expect Altidore to continue to improve, but he seems much more like an Emile Heskey than a Wayne Rooney.
Sunday June 27, 2010 5:59 pm
Now, it's time for Bob Bradley to go. He can't win the big games. While a very respectable manager, we need to move up to a manager who has won the big ones. One suggestion would be Jürgen Klinsmann. Another suggestion would be Fabio Cappello, he'll probably be unemployed in a week or so.
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