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USA 1-2 Ghana (AET): US Soccer Fans, Hold Your Head High

 USA 1 2 Ghana (AET): US Soccer Fans, Hold Your Head High

Defeat is bitter especially when it’s your own country that loses. It’s depressing. It affects your mood, brings you down and can make you angry. But rather than dwell on the negative today after Ghana’s 2-1 win over the United States in extra time, I wanted to share just a few reasons why US soccer fans and the men’s national team should hold their heads high:

  1. The US soccer fans showed their solidarity. Throughout the country, US soccer fans came out in droves to cheer their country on. Many of them made sacrifices to support their team. And this, for me, is the most encouraging aspect of the 2010 World Cup. Soccer has finally made it in this country, and it’s due in large part to the soccer community that wore their red, white and blue and filled the pubs, restaurants and screening parties.
  2. Making it to the second round of the World Cup is a significant achievement. Sure, we always want the team to do better, but qualifying for the second round and losing on a goal in extra time is nothing to scoff at. Soccer giants such as Italy and France failed to achieve what the United States did.
  3. The US team played against adversity. After having two goals disallowed in the first round, most teams would have crumbled but not the United States who went on to win the group and finished above England. And in the game against Ghana, they battled hard and definitely gave everything they could to snatch a late equalizer. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Today was another day that I was proud to be an American. A day when the eleven players on the field and millions of soccer fans throughout the United States put in their best effort.

It may feel difficult to be honest or bitter at this time, so I’ll hold off on sharing my criticism of Bob Bradley and his team selection. Instead, let’s cherish how far the United States has progressed in this tournament and to congratulate the team on playing as hard as they could against an African team who, at the end of the day, were deserved winners.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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0 Responses to USA 1-2 Ghana (AET): US Soccer Fans, Hold Your Head High

  1. Simon Burke says:

    THe counter argument is the US beat one dreadful team with a 91st minute goal and started every game very poorly. In 2002 the US reached the quarters with a defining win over its chief rival . In this World Cup its achievement was a draw against a team who basically gave them a goal.

    The US should have beat Ghana, the best team didnt win on the day but the US absolutely blew it. I curse myself for sticking 20 pounds on the US to win at half time as this really was there for the taking. The route to the semi’s was really open for you all.

    The legacy the US will have though is close exciting games and that’s clearly gotten people invovled. Will they now transfer this to their club sides in increased attendances? If so then 2010 has been a success. But if fans saw the last 30 minutes of Ghana’s gamesmanship they may well turn their backs.

    I’d say America went out with a whimper today – I’d fancy Uruguay to progress easily past Ghana. The US would have given Uruguay a better game.

    Also Donovan has been class, what a year he has had. Howard too (though poor positioning for first goal). Get yourselves an invite to the Copa and get plenty of good tournament experience, dont just host the Gold Cup every 2 years as thats a joke. The Copa is where you belong now.

    • SSReporters says:

      All valid points except your last two paragraphs. They went out well and still fighting. Donovan was not class today and in fact for stretches was pretty mediocre and was ineffective.

      As much as we want to talk about fighting spirit we shouldn’t be putting ourselves in a hole so quickly every game. They did this crap in qualifying and it cost them in the World Cup.

      • Simon Burke says:

        Not his greatest game today but it still takes some ballls to score a penalty when a whole nation is begging you to. He’s had a good tournament though. WIthout him you were going home last week.

  2. MarylandBill says:

    I would say the biggest fault the USA had this year was poor first halves. I am not sure if it was over confidence or what, but if they played the first 45 minutes of every game they have been in the way they played the last 45, I think we would have had 4 wins, not 2 draws, 1 win and 1 loss.

    Still it was an exciting tournament for the USA. Not a perfect performance, but not a bad performance for a team that 20 years ago had a hard time even qualifying.

  3. Rafael says:

    Being coached by Bob Bradley finally catches up to U.S.
    By Brooks Peck

    http://g.sports.yahoo.com/soccer/world-cup/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Being-coached-by-Bob-Bradley-finally-catches-up-?urn=sow,251589

    “It was bound to happen and against Ghana it did, perhaps a bit earlier than it really should have. The U.S. just fell behind one too many times and their exciting run worth a lot of praise came to an end against a solid Ghana team that deserved the 2-1 win in extra time.

    Still, it’s difficult to ignore the glaring problems that set this U.S. team up for what can reasonably seen as premature failure. They fought incredibly hard and showed amazing resilience, but in the end, many of the reasons the U.S. is now out of the World Cup can be traced back to coach Bob Bradley.

    Coaches are often made into scapegoats and the targets of misguided frustration, but in the case of Bradley it’s clear that blame is deserved. In the Ghana game alone, his mistakes were blatant and lethal.

    Instead of sticking with the lineup that got them a win over Algeria, he reinserted midfielder Ricardo Clark, who was culpable for England’s quick goal against the U.S. in their opening match and all speed but no finish striker Robbie Findley. As a result, the U.S. ended up allowing yet another early goal in just the fifth minute of play off a ball given up by Clark, who then earned a yellow card two minutes later. Bradley finally realized his mistake and pretty much admitted it by substituting Clark in just the 30th minute. Findley, meanwhile, blew a fantastic chance to score by kicking the ball right at the goalkeeper. He was substituted at halftime for Benny Feilhaber, who made an instant impact that could have been just as useful in the first half. That left just one substitute to use after the half in a match that would end up going to extra time.

    These issues are hardly new, though. As far back as the World Cup qualifying campaign, the U.S. has been giving up early goals — a clear sign of poor preparation — and both Clark and Findley have been proving their shortcomings, as have other players that Bradley stubbornly stuck with time and time again. And so the early goals kept coming, the wrong players kept sneaking into the starting XI, and against Ghana — a team that only scored off of two penalty kicks in the entirety of the group stage — it ended. After the match, Landon Donovan said the U.S. was just “too naive,” which can really only be taken as a critique of their unacceptable preparation for a team they were favored to beat.

    The Fire Bob Bradley campaign has been around for years now and has only been dismissed by the U.S. federation because the team kept rolling along in spite of its coach and his chronic mismanagement. Now that the rolling has stopped and U.S. fans are left frustrated over a favorable path to a World Cup semifinal squandered, it’s time to thank Bradley for his commitment and the successes that he did bring and finally bring on a manager who can fully realize the potential this squad has. Or at the very least won’t constantly serve as a handicap to a national team ready to mature.”

  4. jose says:

    im so f*cking depressed. it’s true misery loves company.

  5. bill owen says:

    perhaps those who really understand soccer would say that it takes skill to play this game and most US players play in low-level teams in Europe but yet are expected to perform wonders against teh world’s best…common guys. This is NOT Rambo. Heart alone can’t do it. Believeing that you can is just not enough to win soccer games. Get Real!!!

    • Jared says:

      It clearly does take skill to win as well as heart. The issue with the US team today was the best lineup wasn’t sent out there by the coach. We know that we don’t have the most skill but when the coach won’t even pick the best lineup it hurts even more. At least back when we were complete crap we would go out with heart and lose but knew it was the best we could do.

  6. red says:

    the us team lack the killer instinct.
    when they in front the goal, they should kick the ball hard,like the second
    goal by ghana.but they to relaxed and dont play with ergency.
    and that the foult of the coach.
    bradly have to go.

  7. eplnfl says:

    Thank you for the kind words Chris. Still hurting too much to say more.

  8. Coach Pundit says:

    The fools who run US Soccer will keep Bradley on – they have a bunker mentality and are ego-involved in their poor decision to not sack him two years ago. Among Bradley’s many deficiencies are his appalling lack of understanding of the importance of defense at the international level and a casual attitude toward winning. For instance, today the US team had reached the coach’s goal for them – making it out of the first stage. Bradley was happy with that and his attitude carried out much like it has in so many of the US matches.

    Of course, we can’t argue with his overall record. I still remember how I enjoyed watching the US take it to Spain and even give Brazil a short run. But have we seen the team perform like that since then? NO. Most certainly we saw none of that in this tournament.

    Unlike some of the other posters here, I have been angry at Bradley’s deficiencies for years. I thought he should not have been the boss of this team from the get-go.

    Please, US Soccer – find a PROFESSIONAL coach. Our country is poised to do much better, but if you don’t carry out your responsibility, we will never achieve.

  9. erp says:

    Non-Americans will never know the anguish of living in a country that treats the beautiful game as a child’s sport. If you think the biggest adversity that we face, as a football playing nation, is poor referees, you need to think again. The number one problem with football in America is perception. When we overcome that, if we can overcome that, we will be unstoppable.

  10. Gorky says:

    GHANA IS ONE OF THE POOREST COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD WHERE THEIR LIFE EXPECTANCY IS ONLY 59 YEARS OLD HOW COME THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY OF THE WORLD COULD NOT WIN THE GAME? THANKS!

    • Simon Burke says:

      What a tool you are Gorky. All Caps and no brains.

    • MarylandBill says:

      Why? Maybe because in Association Football, you don’t need a lot of wealth to play the game well. Maybe its because the game is not contested between 59 year olds, but men in their prime? Maybe because in Ghana, Soccer is by far the most important sport and has been for decades while in the USA its at best the fifth most popular sport (maybe 6th depending on NASCAR’s current rank).

      US Soccer will get there… its been growing steadily in popularity for 20 plus years now. Want the USA to win in 2014 or 2018? Start going to MLS games and if you have been, start taking a friend who got interested in Soccer during this World Cup before they loose their interest.

  11. sergio lima says:

    My point number 1

    Yeah, let’s celebrate the fans. Let’s keep cheering the hearts of the low skilled players and the great coaching. Let’s only see the good things on everything and in 2014 be again among the best 16 in the world cup. I don’t think so.
    In twenty years the world had learned only one thing about the American team. They used to be a big joke, an easy pray, one of those teams that every country wanted on their brackets. But after these last few years, I don’t see difference between the American team and most of the Europeans teams, excluding some power houses like Germany, Italy and France when they came ready to play. Resuming, nobody wants to play USA anymore. The team runs like crazy, they are very proud so they never quit and they are very physical, a freaking pain in the ass team to beat. But, how can the American national team improve from here? With everybody who loves the sport and understand everything about the sport being very critical, being hard on everybody involved in the sport, by educating and engaging the fans of other sports, and, most important, selling the idea of soccer as an American sport to the big media, who really doesn’t believe soccer will ever catch here. And, finally, making the game available to kids who can’t pay to play. Ninety five percent of the great players in the world are coming from poor background, like in American Basketball and American Football. We got to open our doors to everyone and we need to have soccer everywhere. You got to have kids playing with a soccer ball like others are playing right now with a basketball on their backyards. They are right now inventing new ways to touch that ball on their backyards, they are trying all kinds of tricks as I write here, tricks you and me will pay someday to watch when they reach a college or a pro level. We need to encourage that with soccer. We have everything to be great, but the adults running soccer in this country have no clue. They had never experienced soccer the way other nations do and apparently they are pretty happy being among the sixteen best, I don’t.

    • Greg says:

      Sergio – spot on commentary on the issues that we face as a “footballing nation”

      “We have everything to be great, but the adults running soccer in this country have no clue. They had never experienced soccer the way other nations do and apparently they are pretty happy being among the sixteen best, I don’t.”

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