USA 1 – Ghana 2 Match Summary

June 26, 2010 - Rustenburg, South Africa - epa02224557 USA's Jay DeMerit reacts after Ghana's Kevin Prince Boateng scores a goal during the FIFA World Cup 2010 Round of 16 match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, 26 June 2010.

1st Half

Ghana did what England, Slovenia, and a host of other nations have done, score early against the US. Ricardo Clark turned the ball over in his own half and Kevin-Prince Boateng took his chance with aplomb (5th). Tim Howard should have closed down his near post, but Clark never should have placed his goalkeeper under so much strain early in the match. He would shortly be substituted out in favor of Maurice Edu.

USA were, as always, able to recover. They started to see a bit more of the ball as the half progressed. The culmination of their efforts came in the 35th, when Clint Dempsey played Robbie Findley into the box. Findley, the striker who has received the most playing time in Charlie Davies’ absence, made US fans remember why they so wanted Davies to be there. Findley’s shot went straight at the keeper. The Real Salt Lake forward played intelligently, placing himself in good positions and finding gaps in the defense, but he lacked the necessary class to finish his chance (to be fair, Jozy Altidore did not make the most of his touches either). Asamoah Gyan would show him how it should have been done, though not until some time later.

2nd Half

With the US having trouble coping with Ghana’s man advantage in the midfield (the Africans started with a 4-3-3 and sometimes slipped into a 4-2-3-1 as the game went on), Bob Bradley brought on Benny Feilhaber for Findley. The change worked wonders, as so many of Bradley’s moves have during the World Cup (other than playing Clark). Also, Dempsey moved up top and became the striker to drop into the midfield, proving a more effective option than Altidore, and the US began to dominate possession. They were rewarded in the 61st with a penalty. Landon Donovan had no trouble converting and the game was on.

Unfortunately, Ghana did not wilt and they began to apply some pressure of their own. However, neither side found a breakthrough and the match progressed to extra time.

Extra Time

Surprise, surprise – USA let in an early goal. In the 93rd, Gyan powered through Bocanegra and DeMerit and sent a half-volley screaming past Howard, providing the finishing touch USA lacked. The goal was a bit unfortunate, though. Midfielder Andrew Ayew appeared to simply try and clear the ball out of his own half, and his clearance fell perfectly for Gyan, though the striker should be commended for holding off Bocanegra.

A clearly deflated US side somehow mustered a few half-chances in both additional periods. The most clear-cut scoring opportunity came when much maligned left back Jonathan Bornstein earned a free kick on the edge of Ghana’s penalty area. Donovan sent in a well-placed cross, but goalkeeper Richard Kingson was up to the task.

For the second World Cup in a row, the United States find themselves eliminated by Ghana. This time it wasn’t thanks to poor officiating, but instead a managerial decision that proved wanting, a striker unable to use a gilt-edged opportunity, and an opponent who made the most of his.

Come back later today for our tactical analysis of the match.

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