US Ghana Preview

The United States fought, scratched and clawed their way to a draw against a much better Italian team. After looking utterly horrible for 90 minutes against the Czech Republic, the Americans wisely decided to make the next match a ‘war’ rather than a soccer match. They were in danger of not just getting bounced from the World Cup, but being embarrassed while doing so. Well, they have a small amount of respect back, at least in their own minds, now they have to try to play soccer again. They need to beat Ghana on Thursday for a chance to face Brazil in the next round.

Good luck.

Everybody in this country with an opinion on such matters, seemed to look at the US group and peg the Ghana match as the sure win. That was before the debacle against the Czechs, but their voices are coming back now after the Italian adventure. I didn’t see it then, I certainly don’t see it now.

If you listen to the dolts on ESPN, they claim the Ghana win against the Czechs was some huge upset. It wasn’t. Ghana is a quality team and the Czechs were without their star, Jan Koller. Admittedly, Looking at Ghana’s roster, not much grabs you. Michael Essien. That’s about it. And, about eight guys named Addo–none of them Freddie. But, their Serbian Coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, have them playing as a disciplined team that are going to be tough to score against.

And, there’s Michael Essien in midfield. Essien against Donovan? That’s no contest. He will dominate the midfield for Ghana. That’s where the match will be decided.

I don’t believe the speed of the US team is going to present too much of a challenge to Ghana, either. We certainly won’t be running them off the pitch, anyway.

I also don’t necessarily think the US is riding any kind of momentum from that ‘victory’ in the Italian match. It wasn’t pretty. It was a battle they fought their way through. They needed to save face, and they managed to do that–just. Ironically, by nearly getting it knocked off–in Brian McBride’s case. It’s going to be tough coming back out after a match like that. Ghana, on the other hand, looked fine in their previous match. If anyone is riding the crest of the wave, it has to be them right now.

I do think it’ll be an entertaining match. Head to work a little later on Thursday and catch this one. Both teams are more equal than either would probably like to admit. Both teams still have something to play for. The US can steal it if it turns into another brawl. If it’s pure soccer, Ghana takes it. I see some sort of mix of the two, and it going down 2-2.

If the US are as good as they think they are, it’s time for them to show it. They haven’t yet. Play the beautiful game is it’s meant to be played, and beat Ghana. If Bruce Arena has any ideas, other than the smash and grab we were treated to Saturday, it’s time to trot them out now. I’m still waiting to see this US team play to a fraction of its overrated ability. I’ve seen the heart, now show me the skill. I don’t expect brilliance, but I do expect this to be a good match.

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