It's more American heartbreak at the hands of Ghana as the United States were beaten, 4-1, by the Black Satellites in their final game of the 2013 Under-20 World Cup.
Ghana have become a thorn in the United States side as they have knocked the US out of the 2006 World Cup and 2010 World Cup. And now they've done the same at the U-20 level, as the Americans lost any chance of advancing to the knockout stage by losing.
Things didn't start well for the United States. Cody Cropper was constantly left to make critical saves to ensure the US didn't go down in the match. The attack was largely nonexistent, and the midfield couldn't cope with the strength and athleticism of Ghana.
Cropper made a fantastic save on a shot from Ebenezer Assifuah in the 32nd minute. He did a great job of reacting to the shot and getting a hand to it, even though he was on the ground and not in a good position to make the save.
Six minutes later, there was nothing Cropper could do to keep Ghana off the board.
It was a relatively harmless throw into the 18-yard box the United States cleared out of danger. Then Ghana got the ball back, and the United States defense just collapsed. Nobody could clear the ball, and it eventually fell to Frank Acheampong, who had a relatively easy finish.
The first half ended with Ghana up, 1-0. They were the deserved leaders, as the United States could get nothing going. After what had been such a positive result against France, the Americans looked second-best in almost every part of the game.
American soccer expert Ives Galarcep was complimentary of Cropper going into halftime, and that was about all the positives he could come up with.
Cropper was outstanding for U.S., but there wasn't much more positive. Villarreal continues to be M.I.A. and central midfield getting bossed— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) June 27, 2013
The second half was more of the same, as the United States could never get too close to Ghana.
FOX Soccer's Kyle McCarthy summed it up well.
Ghana's intent and pace on the break constitutes the difference. U.S. can't blunt the athleticism and the skill.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) June 27, 2013
In the 58th minute, Ebenezer Assifuah put Ghana up 2-0 with what was a fantastic effort from about 15 yards out. The goal came as a result of the United States losing the ball in midfield, and then Ghana using their athletic advantage to strike quickly.
There was some hope for the Americans after Shane O'Neill's goal in the 68th minute. As they say, it's the hope that kills you, so at least Ghana was kind enough to erase any chance of the United States winning by scoring their third goal of the game in short order, this one coming in the 78th minute from Assifuah.
Ghana added another, from Kennedy Ashia in the 83rd minute.
FOX Soccer believed it was a fair result.
FT GHA 4-1: U.S. exits a World Cup at the hands of Ghana once more. Deserved defeat after a positive display from the African side.— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 27, 2013
The Black Satellites did a great job of continuing the pressure, increasing their chances of possibly snatching a place in the knockout stage as one of the top third-place finishers.
For the United States, it was another poor performance from what was a poor tournament. The Yanks are Coming picked out the standout performers—of which there were few.
Promising stuff from Cropper, O'Neill, Cuevas at this tournament. Gil at times too. Otherwise, disappointing show from U-20s.— The Yanks Are Coming (@YanksAreComing) June 27, 2013
When they were drawn in a group that included France and Spain, you didn't like the US's chances. Still, it's hard to be too excited about the national team's future after watching this tournament.