Saturday, June 26, 2010

US falls 2-1 in overtime

The United States fell today in its do or die match with Ghana 2-1 in overtime.  Once again, yielding a soft goal at the five minute mark, the US looked uncomfortable the whole first half and midfielder Ricardo Clark a late addition to the starting lineup was pulled not long after a miscue led to the goal.

Tim Howard was uncharacteristically beaten on the short side on a surprise run down the left side of the US defense to give Ghana the early lead.  Clint Dempsey made a brilliant run and was taken down forcing a penalty shot converted by Landon Donovan in the second half, now the all time leader in US history with six World Cup goals.

Ghana the youngest team in the tournament featured half a dozen players under age 25 and took the world trophy for under 20 champions last fall.

For many US players the end of this tournament also means the end of their World Cup careers representing their country at the biggest sporting competition in the world.

Fans standing on Washington Street after the US loss.  The guy in the black shirt was belligerent and perhaps drunk yelling and proclaiming his stupidity.

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Three cheers for the red, white and blue

World Cup has taken over the attention and passions of people around the globe.  The US a perennial underdog has fielded a team of veterans with unproven youth and a defense that is somewhat unsteady entering the knockout phase in the Round of 16.  Who starts in the US central defense will be a key component in coach Bill Bradley's choices today.

Today's opponent Ghanna is a dangerous, physical and talented foe.  Their defense has proven to be formidable but their finishing on opportunities leaves something to be desired.  The US will look to run a disciplined tight game and force counters leaving the Ghanna defense flat footed and out of position wherever possible.

This is a rematch of two teams who faced each other four years ago.  In that match Ghanna advanced defeating the US 2-1.  This time the US looks to avenge that defeat and advance to the Quarterfinal.

Players to watch: Ghana's no. 11 Sulley Muntari and USA's no. 10 Landon Donovan 

Uruguay will await the winner having defeated South Korea earlier today 2-1.

If the US gets through this one, the intensity will only ratchet up.  Also keep an eye out for Clint Dempsey, a Texan who backs down to no one.  There will be some physical collisions in this game.  The US may at times appear overmatched.  It will be the fight to come back and execute determining the outcome, for either side.

The US will generate opportunities and so will Ghanna.  Big huge opportunities that will leave you breathless, yelling, crying and screaming.  Scoring a goal in the World Cup is similar to a nation striving to put a man on the moon.  Except it's more emotional.

There's no ties now in the knockout phase.  One team advances and one goes home.  Today and everyday a match is played now.

2:30 kickoff on ABC in high definition.