World Cup 2014 – Group G – Match Report: Ghana 1 – USA 2

17 Jun

I! I BELIEVE! I BELIEVE THAT! I BELIEVE THAT WE!
I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

I’m not even trying to hide that I’m a USA fan. I can’t do it.

***SPOILERS!!***
Following Germany’s upset over Portugal, both teams knew more than ever they were in need of a win if they hoped to move into the next round.

Ghana: Andre Ayew (82’)

USA: Clint Dempsey (1’), John Brooks (86’)

Lineups:

Ghana: Adam Kwarasey; Kwadwo Asamoah, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Opare; Andre Ayew, Mohammed Rabiu, Sulley Muntari, Christian Atsu; Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan

USA: Tim Howard; DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson; Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley; Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore

USA deployed a diamond midfield formation, hoping that what worked for them in the friendly against Nigeria would pull them through this important match against Ghana. Surprisingly, The Black Stars left both Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng out of their starting lineup.

(Boston Globe)

(Boston Globe)

Dunas Arena in Natal heard some very loud chants of U-S-A before kick-off. If you blinked after the ref blew the whistle to start the match, you missed it.

30 seconds in and Dempsey picked his spot after a great back and forth with Jermaine Jones. It was a dream start for the Americans. With that goal Dempsey became first USMNT player to score in three different World Cups.

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

USA were on a high after that, but Ghana wasn’t letting that stop them. After a foul by Bedoya in the fifth minute, Muntari took the free kick. Boye got a head on it but it flew a yard or so off target. Ghana began trying to get in on the counter, but Tim Howard was there to collect the cross from Asamoah. If Lukas Podolski is my boyfriend, Timmy is my bit on the side. I love him.

USA enjoyed a decent amount of possession but after the first 10 minutes, Ghana settled and began probing the United States’ midfield.

At 15’ Tim Howard came off his line rather brilliantly to keep Asamoah Gyan off the ball. Gyan looked for the penalty but there was no whistle. As a USA fan, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Ghana started to take advantage of a relatively weak USA defense but thankfully, as he often is, Tim Howard was there to save the day when the Ghana crosses neared their mark.

At 20’ USA Jozy Altidore almost gave the Americans their second goal. But one minute later Altidore pulled up with a hamstring injury. Bradley had worked hard to win the ball back after losing it and played a ball over the top to Altidore. He was near full sprint for the ball when he grabbed his hamstring.

He was replaced by Aron Johansson.

Ghana began to look more dangerous against what looked to be a very flat USA defense. They probably should have had a free kick outside the box after Asamoah was taken down by Kyle Beckerman. But again the ref didn’t stop play.

In the 30th minute Rabiu was yellow-carded for contact with Beckerman while going in for a 50/50 header. And then again, Howard came up with a big save after a gorgeous shot by Gyan.

At 33’ Dempsey was caught in the nose by Boye’s foot while challenging for header. I’m not even sure how that happens…

Toward the end of the half Ghana began really taking control of the game and USA started to look sloppy in possession.

The 41st minute saw another good counter attack for USA but Johansson mishit it in the end. Jermaine Jones then won a freekick and it was easily handled by Ghanian goalkeeper Kawasey, who had a great game.
In the second minute of added time a clash between Jones and Muntari began that I thought was going to turn into something else, but they kissed and made up. Kinda.

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Ghana had a good chance to equalize just before the end of the first half but Ayew fluffed it in front of goal.

Second Half:

Before the half began Matt Besler had to be substituted by John Brooks. Besler looked like he might have pulled his hamstring toward the end of the first half.

Ghana seemed more settled at the start and were just biding their time. They had a number of good chances. Shots from Muntari and Gyan specifically tested both the USA defense and Tim Howard.

At 59’ Kevin-Prince Boateng (be still my broken Milan heart) replaced Ayew. And the game seemed to change again in Ghana’s favor. They continued to pressure heavily and at 65’ Howard had a good save off a Ghana free kick.

At 71’ Michael Essien came in for Rabiu and Ghana continued their onslaught. I was sure that USA couldn’t survive the continued Ghana attack. Then in the 77th minute US substitute Zusi came in for Bedoya and Ghana changed Adomah for Atsu.
The USA began attacking and a good shot by Dempsey was handled well by Kwarasey.

In the 82nd minute Andre. Ayew finally equalized for Ghana with a superb ball off the outside of his foot after a great touch by Gyan to break US hearts (mine included).

Then in the 86th minute, substitute John Brooks lifted the USA up with a header off the corner from Zusi. Perfect placement. Headed down and headed hard. That is what you are supposed to do. It was the first goal in WC history scored by a US substitute.

(football-hqs)

(football-hqs)

At 90’ +2 Muntari receives yellow after reckless challenge on already hurting Clint Dempsey and that was it for the match.

My notes:

USA started looking like they had some offensive prowess and even enjoyed a good amount of possession (don’t ask me the stats. I refuse to look. I hate them). This win puts them in a good frame of mind going into the match against Portugal. Bradley will have to be more effective and show why he was nicknamed “The General” at Roma. Passes NEED to be completed.

Ghana are physical and I’d forgotten just how physical they are. This will serve them well against Germany’s big squad (they’re the tallest in the World Cup). They’ll have to be careful not to be careless or let their emotions run away. That will only play to Germany’s strengths.

Next matches:
Ghana v Germany – Saturday June 21, 3:00 P.M. EST
USA V Portugal – Sunday June 22, 6:00 P.M. EST

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

-mygypsyspirit

4 Responses to “World Cup 2014 – Group G – Match Report: Ghana 1 – USA 2”

  1. kfunk22 June 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    what a game – rather, what a result!

    so much blood and way too many injuries, not to mention how easily dominated we were by a stronger, faster opponent. we need to be more convincing if we’re going to get very far – i’m with you on bradley, not his finest hour. howard was my man of the match, with jermaine jones a close second. that said, i was – and still am – freaking ecstatic we were able to grind out a win!

    totally looking forward to this weekend!

    • mygypsyspirit June 18, 2014 at 1:03 am #

      They were definitely faster coming down that right side. Beasley isn’t slow, but he doesn’t have enough pace.

      I forgot to add my Man of the Match! For me it was Jermaine Jones or Timmy as well. With Beckerman up for honorable mention

  2. Natalie June 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    it really was a miracle as i though the result will be same as 2 games prior between those 2 teams

  3. Katie Ann June 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Ridiculous patriotic shrieking from me for the full ninety, especially after John Brooks- a fellow army brat!!!!- scored. I loved it. I almost died, but I loved it, hahaha.

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