USA Vs. Ghana 2010 World Cup Tactical Analysis

GuidoAnalyst IJune 26, 2010

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23:  Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates with teammate Edson Buddle after scoring the winning goal that sends the USA through to the second round during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between USA and Algeria at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In my most modest opinion, Team USA starts as the favourites in this match. That's not to say I don't rate Ghana well, as I believe this matchup might suit Ghana tactically.

Tthe African side will be content to sit back and just soak up pressure, before hitting the US on the counter-attack with their fast wingers. Taking into account the fact that the American defenders have appeared a little slow in recovering their position after forays forward so far in the tournament, and we're all set for a very interesting matchup.

The best course of action for the American team would be to put the Ghana centre-backs under as much pressure as possible early on. Ghana's defenders are not the best passers of the ball and putting pressure on them would most definitely disrupt their build-up play from the back.

Considering Ghana will probably have a 3 v 2 advantage in the centre of midfield, I expect Bob Bradley to opt for the same tactics he used against England. Direct balls towards the strikers, with Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan in a supporting role close to the strikers.

Against England, Donovan and Dempsey came off the flanks to provide a threat from a position the English weren’t used to dealing with. Effectively, the English defenders were forced to play very narrow, and this in turn opened up space on the flanks.

This helped the US defenders, because they constantly looked to bomb forward and provide the width that was lacking when the front four all moved centrally. This stretched the England defense and helped the attacking quartet find space.

Employing such a strategy means Team USA would avoid a midfield battle with the physically stronger Africans and focus on the Ghana Achilles' heel, their central defenders. Jozy Altidore should be able to cause problems for the Ghanian defence with his pace and strength.

With Team USA hopefully pressing on early, the midfield battle in this match will probably be quite reserved. Both central midfields generally sit deep rather than look to make penetrative runs, so they may play in front of each other, and create a slightly static contest.

This is probably a good thing for the Americans, since I rate the African side very highly when it comes to their physical prowess, which means Team USA could just be outmuscled when it boils down to a direct confrontation in midfield.

I expect Team USA to dominate possession and it will be up to the creative players in the American team to find an opening past the African's good defense.