Welcome to the Bleacher Report's live blog for the 2010 Second Round match between USA and Ghana.
Hopefully the second game of the day will be as exciting as the first without, of course, the close scoreline.
The United States comes in having to fight the emotional swings of their final groupstage match, and Ghana enters being the only African team left in the tournament. They're assumed to be the home team, but with the vuvuzelas blaring, it will be a question as to what effect it will have on the game.
Ghana's expected to play a defensive style, but with a forward in Gyan that's had the second most shots on goal in the tournament (behind Lionel Messi of Argentina), there's some bite to their attack. More than likely they'll look to stick around in the game, not get behind early and hope for an opportunity.
It's a chance for revenge for the red, white and blue as the Black Stars knocked them out of the 2006 World Cup with their win in their final groupstage match.
How will the U.S. come out?
Will they let in an early goal or dominate the early part of the game?
Will the referee call a tight match? Will he let the play turn physical? Will there be controversy?
A number of analysts are predicting U.S. possession to be the deciding factor for today (including me), so we'll see.
More comments to come with the line-up and team presentation.
Coming out pretty much as expected. Ghana's going to focus on their defensive structure. They'll look to push the counter, especially on the wings, and hope that their forward can create a couple of chances.
Bradley chooses a lineup close to the one chosen for the England game.
He opts for Bornstein over Onyewu. An interesting choice. Onyewu has struggled, but he's a bigger presence against a physical side. Bornstein had arguably the best game of his career against Algeria.
Does Bradley want to push the offense against Ghana, or is it a choice based on form and fitness? Bornstein's play, whether good or bad, could decide this game.
Also, Bradley decides to go with Ricardo Clark instead of Maurice Edu.
I wish I had an insight into Bradley's decision. There's not much that Clark offered against England. On the contrary, his lapse caused a goal. He recovered for the rest of the match, but didn't do anything outstanding.
It's been a round robin in the middle with Bradley, moving on to Jose Torres and Maurice Edu. It looked like Edu did a serviceable job against Algeria. Now it's Ricardo Clark.
Findley returns to the starting lineup after his yellow card suspension. Another intriguing choice. Robbie Findley has tremendous speed, but hasn't shown much else. But it's not like any other forward has taken advantage of his opportunity.
I wonder though, if Findley wouldn't benefit more from being a second half sub, utilizing his speed against a tired defense.
It looks like this game will depend upon Bradley's gambles. Will this selection execute, or will some of these players commit the mental errors that have plagued their performances?
And, most importantly, will Landon Donovan be involved early, or will it be a struggle to get him in the game?
One Last Note
After discussing this lineup, Clark's inclusion may have to do with Bradley's approach. He's tentative and Clark may offer more of a tackling presence. He wants to disrupt a counter, and he may feel Clark has th e best skills to do it.
This means he may want to attack again with his backs.
What's dangerous about this selections is if the U.S. goes down a goal. Clark does not add a tremendous amount offensively to help create a comeback.
Anthems and Player Presentation
The U.S. looks calm. Hopefully it's not indicative of an emotional letdown.
Ghana appears focused, almost intense.
Not a lot of hair on either team, so I can't evaluate who is the most fashionable this time.
The United States loses, falling behind early, and it costing them once again. Questions as to the player selection.
A late defensive lapse costs the team the game and there was little they could do about it.
An African team stays in the tournament.
At this point, the U.S. can look back and be proud, and the younger players have gained a large amount of experience.
Too much direct play from the United States. Ghana is too big and physical and the team is too tired to win the long ball game.
There isn't much left for the United States, too tired, too little organization, and as the announcers have said, there's only so many times you can come from behind.
Last chance from the U.S. blocked by a Ghana defender.
Corner for the U.S.
A deep ball that turns into a combination from Donovan and Cherundolo.
The team needs to stop with the direct play. There's still enough time to build an attack. Gomez, Donovan and Dempsey aren't winning the ball out of the air.
Great service on a Donovan free kick.
Ghana plays smart and tries to control for a minute.
There needs to be some magic from the United States. Someone needs to break down this defense.
The announcer keeps commenting on the central play from the U.S. They do need a player to push outwide a bit, kind of what Feilhaber did in the second half.
Extra time half
What can be changed? Substitutes are used. The Clark substitution hurts.
The only tactical change is three in the back. Bradley can push Bornstein forward.
Announcer says Ghana looks comfortable. It's true. They're in the driver's seat and playing that way. They can afford to be patient.
Good cleanup from Ghana on an American break.
The strangest foul called in the game. A U.S. player is standing still. A player for Ghana backs into him and falls over like he's been shot. Everyone stands around wondering what happened.
Ref gives the foul to Ghana. Strange set of events.
Rare giveaway on the break from Donovan.
Great chances for the U.S. on the corner. There's still time, and the team is capable.
Goal by Ghana on the break. It's the type of goal Ghana looks for.
The substitution is made. Gomez for Altidore. We'll see if the gamble pays off.
The officiating has been really loose in this game. I've seen a lot of the tackles called as fouls. That benefits Ghana.
The dying moments were pretty much what I expected the game to look like.
How does the team go into extra time?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Altidore needs to be substituted. He's been strong, but it's clear he's tired and can't execute very well. Does he have the energy and finesse t convert a penatly if it gets to it?
I'd go Gomez or Torres.
Bob Bradley probably won't substitute Altidore, but here's my reasoning: one break that Altidore hasn't been able to get to will be all it takes. I have a feeling most disagre, but I was right about Edu, Clark, Feilhaber and Findley.
A last ditch corner and now extra time.
Ghana is playing deep and defensively. They're looking for the 90 minute break.
The U.S. can score in the time remaining, but they're going to need to be creative and open up the defense.
The substitutions are crucial. Subbing Clark is now an issue.
Altidore has a chance, but he goes to ground easily. May be a foul, maybe not.
An interesting U.S. formation. It's somewhere between a 4-3-3 and a 1-2-3-4. Donovan and Dempsey play behind Altidore. The wide duties are shared by Donovan and Dempsey and the outside players behind them.
THIS IS THE IDEAL U.S. FORMATION
I'm surprised they came to this formation in this World Cup. I thought it'd come with the next qualification cycle.
The problem with this formation is the target man. There is no one but Altidore. Buddle is the only one who may also be able to play in this formation.
Bradley has a look at goal. Dempsey was back door. Could have been the game winner.
Dempsey's taking a lot of punishment but once again having a great game.
A few minutes ago, Altidore can't get to a ball against a goalkeeper. He's having trouble with his touch, looking tired.
Feilhaber is getting mad love from the announcers. To answer the question as to why Feilhaber doesn't start: he's never had a strong 90 minutes. He's a great substitute, don't know when he'll make the leap to a strong starter.
Bornstein is playing great, making strong decisions as to when to challenge, drop off or cover.
Harkes is right. Ghana needs to strike now, so they'll press, and the U.S. needs to stay calm and defend. The game will calm down again, and the team can regain its composure and possession.
Penalty for the U.S.! The American pressure unravels the Ghana defense.
Landon Donovan with number 3! The best p.k. taker on the team converts.
Hopefully, the U.S. will continue with their pressure and control of the possession.
Demerit saves one fo the few offensive attacks for Ghana. Great sliding tackle.
Ghana struggles defensively. The team is playing deep. The tackles are getting more and more restless.
The U.S. seems to sense the change in tempo. If they get a little more of the possession, it could get very dangerous.
The U.S. with a strong attack. Feilhaber with some great play.
Currently, Altidore seems to be the missing link with the rest of the attack. He has to get on one of the attacks soon. Otherwise Gomez might be playing shortly.
Ghana is starting to collect fouls. They're struggling to keep organized defensively. The tackles are viscious, but some of them are legal.
A lot of the U.S. players are walking after turnovers. It's a different mentality and focus for this team. Where is this coming from?
Bornstein hasn't really been challenged on his side. It's an interesting choice by Ghana, but Cherundolo has struggled on his, so it makes sense to keep going at him.
Feilhaber is already a presence. Dempsey makes the offensive line much more dangerous.
Feilhaber is an understandable sub. Moving Dempsey up front is understandable. It's the safe/normal choice, and Dempsey is playing well.
The change also saves Bradley's substitution.
It'll be interesting halftime.
Will there be changes? What will they be?
At the very least, Ghana will come out in just as a defensive stance if not more. Once Ghana puts ten men behind the ball, will the U.S. play be good enough to score?
The U.S. is not playiing well enough in tight spaces. Perhaps the team needs its more techniquely gifted players on the field.
Personally, I'd go for broke. Pull off Findley and Bornstein, go with Feilhaber and Torres, push Donovan and Dempsey into a more attacking front and hope to control the ball.
If the team comes back, then push Edu into the back four.
The team could also go with Gomez for Findley and then Feilhaber, who has played well when he's been put on in the second half.
In any case, the team needs to be tighter on the ball and finish its attacking runs.
Why does Findley go to the line?!
Two times now Findley's lack of experience is affecting his play. There's not enough room for him to go line inside the eighteen. Dempsey though is getting good touches.
Harkes is right about patience. This was the game I expected, just not a goal down.
Howard bails out the United States. Demerit has trouble reading longballs lately. Against Algeria he needed more than one touch to clear a number of direct plays. Is it his eye, or is it the ball? Whatever it is, he'll need to clean up his play a little.
Ghana's goalkeeper is playing well, competent and being a solid foundation for the team.
Michael Bradley with a chip backdoor. There have been glimpses of attack from the United States; it will be interesting to see if Ghana's vulnerability can be exploited.
Altidore loses a ball in the last third of the field. It's another example of how the U.S. is not completing their attacking chances.
Again, too many errant passes. The U.S. can't score if they give away the ball at the last minute.
Findley should have done better with his chance.
A better few minutes for the United States.
Should the U.S. move Dempsey to a more central role? There needs to be a change of strategy from the Americans.
Bradley admits his mistake. He's now wasted a substitution and put the U.S. one goal behind. It's the worst coaching error Bob Bradley has ever made.
The team is careless with the ball. They're giving up possession too easily during the run of the game. The team needs to finish its build up with a shot, getting close to the Ghan eighteen is not enough. Plus, the turnover opens up the field for the counter.
There needs to be a focus on executing a complete attempt at goal.
Clint Dempsey finally involved. He hasn't seen much play whereas Donovan is getting involved. Maybe the U.S. is calming down.
Still not much from Ricardo Clark since the card or much from Robbie Findley.
Ghana's staying organized and getting back defensively. It will be difficult to break down a team so focused on defense.
Cherundolo will miss his next game if the team moves on. Disappointing situation, but it was bound to happen at some point. He picked up a yellow early in the tournament, and like the rest of the United States, making desperate, careless mistakes.
This is the type of game Ghana wants. They will take advantage of American poor play.
U.S. is disorganized. The team has no anchor and no one to focus around. This is the problem with the midfield; there's no focal point. The team needs to get focused defensively and break out from there.
Unfortunately, they don't have that player in right now.
The team needs to relax at the bare minimum.
Clark picks up a yellow. Altidore has to talk to him. One of the youn gest players has to calm down an older player.
The team hasn't started well, lacking passion, appearing a little overwhelmed.
There's a tremendous amount of space for Ghana. Some of the players are pushing way forward.
At least Donovan had a touch on the ball early.
Ghana's right side of the field: Inkoom's introduction in the side. It looks like it's an attempt to pacify Clint Dempsey. He's been playing great. Shrewd coaching decision.
Why do the Black Stars wear red and gold away jerseys? Isn't black a much more imposing away jersey choice.
Germany has black away jerseys, and they appear to be an imposing side.
Goal for Ghana on the turnover. Ricardo Clark on the mistake. I think my earlier comments on Clark sum up the gamble.