USA VS. Ghana World Cup 2010 Live Blog: Results, Scores, Play By Play

GuidoAnalyst IJune 26, 2010

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 26:  Asamoah Gyan of Ghana celebrates scoring his team's second goal in extra time during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Hi there. I'm Guido, Bleacher Report writer, and I will be your guide through this crucial second round match between USA and Ghana.

Both sides are looking to progress in the tournament, having made it this far. Neither side has ever qualified for the quarter finals in a contemporary World Cup, so both are looking to change their fortunes. 

So, if you can’t get to a TV, why not follow all the drama and excitement right here on Bleacher Report? Join the conversation and banter by posting your comments below the article; I promise to respond within minutes.

Post-match Analysis

Africa re-joices as the Black Stars fight their way past a heroic Team USA, but Ghana should erect a monumental statue to their goalkeeper Richard Kingson, who kept the Black Stars in the tournament with a few stellar saves.

It was a really strange match, one with two faces so to speak. Ghana dominated the first half, mostly because the US couldn't deal with Ghana's 3 man in central midfield and because Asamoah Gyan was dropping deep to link up, before distributing towards the wingers.

In the second half, the US dropped Findley in favour of an extra midfielder, whilst moving Dempsey into a more forward role as well as Bradley. The US re-gained control of the midfield and dominated the second half, in which they scored a somewhat fortuitous equaliser due to a silly penalty mistake by Mensah.

Some excellent goalkeeping by Kingson kept Ghana in the match and the Africans started to improve their standard of play when Stephen Appiah entered the fray. He was calm and composed and never looked like panicking, unlike some of his younger teammates.

Ultimately, the winning goal was as fortuitous as the equaliser. Gyan chased after a long ball and disgraced both DeMerit and Bocanegra before firing in the winning goal.

Ghana never got into serious trouble after that goal. The US tried a very opportunistic long ball approach, which never looked like succeeding. Kingson did well to parry a wide variety of crosses, but that's about as dangerous as it got.

Unlucky defeat for the US, who are left to wonder what could have been if Bob Bradley had gotten his tactics right from the very start. 


A whole continent celebrates, while a second country weeps (120+3 minutes into the game)

Unlucky defeat for Team USA versus the Black Stars, who face off against Uruguay in the quarter finals, much to the delight of the African fans. Looks like we’ll have at least one dark horse team in the semi finals.


Va Banque (120 minutes into the game)

Tim Howard rushes in for a corner to try and score a goal, but to no avail.


Africa prepares to celebrate (119 minutes into the game)

The vuvuzela’s are blowing more and more, whilst more and more Ghanian flags are being hoisted in the air by the African part of the crowd.


Kingson has magnets in his gloves (117 minutes into the game)

What a performance. Every shot, every cross, he gets them all. It took a penalty to beat him. How is he only third choice for Wigan? No doubt about it, he saved Ghana tonight and he saved them on various occasions.


Asamoah Gyan remains a very real threat to the US (115 minutes into the game)

With his pace and stamina, he is still a very real threat to the US defence. He just chases after every ball and he’s causing DeMerit and Bocanegra a lot of work.


Sulley Muntari comes on for Inkoom (113 minutes into the game)

He won the Champions League and the Serie A with Internazionale, yet he’s a reserve player for Ghana. Rajevac brings him on to further bolster his midfield. Inkoom looked to suffer from cramp, so he had to be replaced.


Team USA’s opportunistic long ball strategy is not working (111 minutes into the game)

The US are trying to surprise Ghana’s defence with long range passes and crosses, but the Africans are not budging.


Bornstein tries to get a penalty (108 minutes into the game)

Bornstein dribbles past an opponent, gets fouled but dribbles on for a metre or so before diving into the box. Never a penalty that and the referee judged that situation well.


Ghana starts time-wasting (105 minutes into the game)

It’s an element of the game I despise, but it’s part of professional football; time-wasting. Ghana are doing it. Every player who gets hit, stays down for as long as possible, whilst Ghana are trying to keep possession for as long as possible.


Ghana keeping possession (102 minutes into the game)

The African side is just passing the ball around nicely, keeping possession and wearing the US down by making them chase the ball. Smart strategy by the African side.


Ghana re-organises to deal with opportunistic Americans (100 minutes into the game)

The inclusion of Stephen Appiah has created a source of tranquility within the team. Ghana seem more confident on the ball, backed of course by their 2-1 lead. Still, even when the US are pressuring their defence, they seem less panicky now.


Asamoah Gyan punishes the US (94 minutes into the game)

Asamoah Gyan chases after a long ball by Mensah, who outpaces Bocanegra and DeMerit and blasts the ball past Tim Howard. Very unlucky for Team USA. Pretty weird how Bocanegra gets surprised by his teammate at Rennes, Asamoah Gyan. He really should know how fast this kid is…


Hercules Gomez to replace Altidore (91 minutes into the game)

Bradley uses his last substitution to bring on Hercules Gomez. I bet he’s hoping for a Herculaneum feat of strength. Pardon the pun.


An extra half hour of football (90+3 minutes into the game)

90 minutes have past and the score is still tied at 1-1, so we get ready for an extra half hour of football.


Ayew suspended (90 minutes into the game)

Silly foul by Ayew, who charges Altidore in the back. Jozy takes a dive and Ayew gets a yellow card, which means he is suspended for the next World Cup game.


Balance is restored (85 minutes into the game)

Even the statistics of the match are tied in terms of possession and shots.


Looks like we’re heading into extra time (83 minutes into the game)

Ghana dominated the first half, the US has dominated the second half, but the last 10 minutes or so have been dull and uninspiring. Looks like both sides are gunning for extra time.


Boateng comes off (78 minutes into the game)

Stephen Appiah replaced Kevin Prince-Boateng. Last time USA played Ghana, Appiah scored the winning goal... Beware Team USA, Appiah can score with powerful long range efforts.


USA dominating midfield (77 minutes into the game)

Ghana dominated the first half because the African side had control of midfield. Bob Bradley has reinforced his midfield and the Americans have taken back the match. Michael Bradley penetrates the defence with a nice run forward, but his shot lacks conviction.


Asamoah Gyan (69 minutes into the game)

Ghana had looked so strong in the first half, but they have collapsed completely in the second half, whereas the US have picked up the pace. Bob Bradley’s substitutions have changed the game for the Americans.


Sarpei off (73 minutes into the game)

Hans Sarpei is coming off. Not a bad decision by Rajevac, Sarpei was not looking strong in the second half, with some poor challenges and some bad passes.


Such a difference in the second half (69 minutes into the game)

Ghana had looked so strong in the first half, but they have collapsed completely in the second half, whereas the US have picked up the pace. Bob Bradley’s substitutions have changed the game for the Americans.


Kingson saves (66 minutes into the game)

Altidore was causing trouble for Ghana, moving in behind the centre-backs, but Kingson rushed off his line to clear the ball with a risky sliding challenge on Altidore.


USA fight back into the game (61 minutes into the game)

Foul by Mensah on Dempsey, and the referee gives a penalty. Landon Donovan versus Richard Kingson, but the Everton star beats the third choice Wigan goalie easily to tie game.


Lethal counters (59 minutes into the game)

Beware of Ayew and Asamoah Gyan! They’re so pacey and skillful, able to tear through a defence. Fortunately, they are not real goal-scorers (yet!).


Ghana looks more lacklustre (56 minutes into the game)

America look re-vitalised coming out of the dressing room, whereas Ghana looks lacklustre. Sloppy passing, too much dribbling, a bit of show-boating. They are allowing the US to get back into this match.


USA dominates early on the second half (52 minutes into the game)

Bob Bradley's change of strategy is paying off. Team USA is pushing Ghana back and the Americans have created a few chances so far, including a good one for Bornstein a few minutes before. Why couldn't they have started like this?


Feilhaber nearly equalises (47 minutes into the game)

WOW!!! What an impact has Feilhaber had so far. Donovan picks up the ball and sends in a low cross, which is cleared poorly and Feilhaber forces a quality save out of Kingson. Feilhaber nearly equalised there.


Feilhaber coming on for Findley (46 minutes into the game)

Feilhaber is looking to bolster midfield, because as said, Ghana's 3 midfielders are running the show so far. Dempsey will probably move into a more attacking role now, playing as a shadow-striker behind Altidore.


Half-time Analysis

As predicted, Ghana was looking to soak up the US attacks and look for space to counter-attack, exploiting the lack of space in the US defence. Especially Asamoah Gyan and André Gyan have been very dangerous in the first half.

Ghana did benefit from an early goal and the fact that the US hasn't played that well in the first half. Too many bad passes, too many instances were possession was turned over to launch a Ghana counter-attack.

Truth be told though, the score should be tied at 1-1. Findley missed a one-on-one with Kingson, but that very well could have been a goal. In fact, at this level, that should have been a goal.

Ghana is bossing around midfield due to their numerical advantage in midfield, 3 central African midfielders versus two Americans, because Dempsey and Donovan push forward alot.

Ideally, you'd want the fullbacks to help out, but they lack the pace to track defensively and you really don't want to give Ghana's wingers too much space to exploit. Asamoah Gyan humiliating DeMerit is bad enough, let's not give Ayew a chance to excell (even further) as well.

Team USA should continue to play as they have done for the past 15 minutes of the first half. Yes, you risk another counter-attack by Ghana, but you have to try and force in a goal.


Half-time! (45+1 minutes into the game)

Ghana benefitted from the early goal, which allowed them to dig in, soak up the US pressure and launch devastating counter-attacks. 


Improve your passing, guys... (44 minutes into the game)

There are still too many sloppy passes, too many times where possession is given away needlessly. Work on your passing guys, you can't afford to give Ghana a chance to counter-attack. Ayew and Asamoah Gyan have already shown you they are too fast for your defenders.


Beware of the counter-attack! (42 minutes into the game)

There's a down-side to this more aggressive style of play. Team USA is giving away more and more space at the back, which could be something Ghana exploits. Their pacey forwards are a serious threat to the slow American defenders.


Team USA tries to close down Ghana a bit more (41 minutes into the game)

The American team has finally started playing a watered down version of the sort of game they should be playing if they want to have a chance at progressing. More aggressive, closing down their opponents all over the pitch and getting stuck into the tackles.


Not classy, but it works (38 minutes into the game)

DeMerit injures Asamoah Gyan with a sliding challenge, catching him on the ankle. Not a classy move, but a few more challenges like that could be just what is required to keep Asamoah in check... Just get stuck in a few times and stop prancing around the pitch like a fairy princess, DeMerit!


Once again, close down Asamoah Gyan! (37 minutes into the game)

That powerful forward is the focal point for all of Ghana's attacks, as I described before. Seriously, two defenders should be able to sort him out. Asamoah is moving past DeMerit as if he isn't there before testing Howard's reflexes with another strong shot.


Findley misses a one-on-one (35 minutes into the game)

Now that's more like it! Team USA close down the defenders and force Sarpei into making a poor pass, which is picked by Bradley. A good pass towards Findley leads to an excellent opportunity for the equaliser, but Findley can't get the ball past Kingson.


Michael Bradley moves into a more offense-minded role (33 minutes into the game)

Michael Bradley is pushing further up the field it seems. I assume it's an effort by his father to put more pressure on Ghana's defence. I do hope they don't end up giving the entire midfield away with that decision, which could very well happen.


Bob Bradley looking to switch things around already? (30 minutes into the game)

It looks like Maurice Edu is coming on soon, possibly to replace Ricardo Clark, who was already cautioned by the referee.


Altidore drops too deep (28 minutes into the game)

You shouldn't be dropping so deep. With his power and pace, he should be playing off the shoulder of the last defender or he should try to hold up the ball, allowing Donovan and Dempsey to link up. When he drops as deep as he has been doing so far, he leaves Findley stranded upfront, whilst Altidore moves into the space Donovan and Dempsey want to exploit, basically it means Altidore gets in their way.


Pressuring the defenders works (24 minutes into the game)

One of the first times I've seen the US forwards apply fore-checking on the Ghana defenders. When backed by the midfielders closing down their markers as well, this leads to panicky clearances by the defence. Sure, it costs a lot of energy, but you have to do something. More fore-checking please.


Shutdown Asamoah Gyan, please (22 minutes into the game)

If you want to win, you have to disrupt that free-flowing attacking football Ghana is playing. Asamoah Gyan is used as a targetman, who holds the ball up and plays it out to the wings for mostly Ayew to benefit from. Try to prevent him from doing that, so the wingers have to drop deeper to collect the ball, which relieves the own defence a bit. A more aggressive style of play would help to achieve that.


Cherundolo suspended for the next match (19 minutes into the game)

Flagrant foul by Cherundolo, who fouls Ayew with a tackle from behind. Could've been a red card to be fair, no intention at all to play the ball. Unnecessary card as well, he gave away possession far to easily and had to foul Ayew to make up for his own sloppy passing. A player with so much experience shouldn't be making mistakes like that.


More accurate passing is crucial (18 minutes into the game)

If Team USA wants to progress, they need to improve their passing game. Too many passes are not accurate enough, which leads to dangerous counter-attacks because the US fullbacks move forward alot to support the midfield and compensate for Donovan and Dempsey moving into more central positions.


Team USA unable to cope with Ghana's strategy (15 minutes into the game) 

Somehow, the US midfield seems to be non-existant. The wide formation Ghana is using, combined with the numerical advantage in the centre of midfield, means Ghana is dominating midfield at the moment. Bradley, get Donovan and Dempsey involved more!


Down the wings (11 minutes into the game)

Ghana is fielding a very wide formation, which draws the Americans into a wider formation as well. Not good for Team USA, as it means there is more and more space opening for Ghana, which means the African side can use its superior physique to tear through the American midfield and defence.


Team USA keeps squandering possession (9 minutes into the game)

The Americans have most of the possession, but their final ball is lacking. Some sloppy passing leads to Ghana taking over and launching very dangerous counter-attacks. The pacey African wingers are quite dangerous, especially Ayew on the left flank.


Ghana shock Team USA (5 minutes into game)

Kevin Prince-Boateng, the semi-German, opens the score for the Black Stars. Team USA squander possession in midfield, which leads to a counter-attack. Next, DeMerit fails to close down Boateng properly when the Ghanian midfielder runs at him, which means Boateng moves past him with a simple body fake, before blasting the ball past Howard with a low drive.


Rather opportunistic (4 minutes into the game)

There's a reason why even the best forwards in the world don't shoot from 30 yards out. The ball usually doesn't go in... There's also a reason why defenders are not attackers, they're usually no good at scoring goals. So when you have a defender like Inkoom trying a 30 yard effort, that's just not going to work.


Open start to the game (2 minutes into the game)

Not a bad start. The match is 2 minutes underway and both sides have had their first moment of goalscoring danger. Ayew failed to produce a proper cross for Ghana after skipping past his marker, whereas Donovan did the same for Team USA after pressuring Sarpei into losing the ball.


And we're off (kick-off)

Maurice Edu was removed from the starting line-up in favour of Ricardo Clark, whilst Findley returns from a suspension. Ghana uses Inkoom as an extra defender, Prince Tagoe is taken off. Looks like Ghana is adapting to Team USA and is preparing for Dempsey and Donovan linking up with the strikers.


Some USA Trivia (10 minutes before kick-off)

Did you know that...

- Michael Bradley, one of the midfielders in the squad, is the son of the coach, Bob Bradley? That's not entirely unique, as the Slovakian coach Vladimir Weiss has selected his son Vladimir Weiss as well.

- USA was present at the very first World Cup ever, in 1930?

- American goalkeeper Tim Howard suffers from Tourettes syndrome?


Some Ghana Trivia (15 minutes before kick-off)

Did you know that...

- Ghana's national team is nicknamed the Black Stars? This is in reference of the black star on the country flag, which symbolises the struggle of the emancipation of the African populace versus British colonialism.

- Abedi Pele, who is Ghana's all-time top goalscorer and three times winner of the African footballer of the year award, is the father of left winger André Ayew? Like father, like son...

- Ghana's coach Rajevac had never coached outside of Serbia before he took up the Black Stars' job?

- Ghana are the reigning U20 World Champions? So the raw talent and potential is definitely present...


History predicts a Ghana win (25 minutes before kick-off)

Both sides have played one World Cup match against each other before this match. During the 2006 World Cup, Ghana and USA played each other in the group stages. Back then, Ghana beat the US by a single goal, pulling off a 2-1 win. Dramani and Appiah scored for Ghana, Dempsey for the US. 


Reactions to the predicted line-ups (30 minutes before kick-off)

Can't say these line-ups are in anyway surprising. Both teams are carrying on as they played in their previous matches. I am really hoping that Bradley has his team play like they did against England, it could be the key to winning this match and securing a spot in the next round


Predicted line-ups (40 minutes before kick-off)

As always, from

[ 4-4-2 ] [ 4-2-3-1 ]
  Tim Howard  Richard Kingson
  Jonathan Bornstein  John Pantsil
  Jay Demerit  John Mensah
  Carlos Bocanegra  Jonathan Mensah
  Steve Cherundolo  Hans Sarpei
  Clint Dempsey  Anthony Annan
  Michael Bradley  Samuel Inkoom
  Ricardo A. Clark  Kevin-Prince Boateng
  Landon Donovan  André Ayew
  Jozy Altidore  Kwadwo Asamoah
  Robbie Findley  Asamoah Gyan


Preview: USA are slight favorites

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

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 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 fullbacks were forced to play very narrow, and this in turn opened up space on the flanks.

This helped the US fullbacks, 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 defence and helped the attacking quartet find space.

Employing such a strategy means Team USA would avoid a midfield battle with the physically strong(er) Africans and focus on the Ghana Achilles' heel, their central defenders. Jozy Altidore should create 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 on the American team to find an opening past Ghana's good defence.


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