Conceding Early Goals In Regulation & Extra Time Doom the USA Against Ghana

Team USA poses for a photograph prior to the Round 16 match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa on June 26, 2010. UPI/Chris Brunskill Photo via Newscom

As the former catcher of the New York Yankees Yogi Berra once said “It’s Dejavu All Over Again.” And that’s what happened against Ghana in the second round match. You we’re hoping that this little problem would’ve gone away like it did against Algeria, but sadly it would rear its ugly head once again.

Ricardo Clark had the ball in midfield and tried to side step a defender, but unfortunately it was an un-forced turnover that leads to the break and in the 6th minute Kevin Prince Boateng got a nice ball and attacked the USA net. Just outside the area Boateng ripped a quick shot that caught Tim Howard off guard and struck inside the near post for Ghana’s first goal in the World Cup that never came from the penalty spot.

It was another slap in the face for the USA to wake up. Sound the alarm to charge and get the equalizer. But unfortunately Clark would not join the rest of the starters as he was pulled out for Maurice Edu in the 31st minute and the attack started to get better slowly. But once the second half started Bob Bradley made his second substitution and brought on Benny Feilhaber and took off Robbie Findley.

The attack got hot and the USA looked very dangerous. The defenders from Ghana tried very hard to keep the USA away from the net, but the only one who was able to stop some of the shots was keeper Richard Kingson, but the next shot he couldn’t stop came in the 62nd minute. After Clint Dempsey was hauled down in the area by Jonathan Mensah in the 61st, Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai pointed to the spot and signaled penalty for the USA.

Mensah would be booked for the rash challenge inside the area and it would be Landon Donovan taking the penalty. After the whistle blew Donovan struck the ball and nailed the far post and in. The USA had made another magical comeback to equalize and they were hungry for more. But unfortunately all their chances never went in and then regulation time ended. For the first time in the World Cup, the USA would be heading into extra time.

But sadly what has troubled the boys at the start of regulation was brought into extra time. 93rd minute and the defenders of Ghana cleared a long distance ball that was being chased by Carlos Bocanegra & Jay DeMerit. What they didn’t see till late was Asamoya Gyan slicing between them and when Bocanegra couldn’t knock him off, Gyan ripped it top shelf and that would be the end of the USA run in the 2010 World Cup.

While this is the end for the USA the Fire Bob Bradley chant has already started by those who always wanted him gone from the National Team. Certain players were either not performing well or we’re recovering from injury and just didn’t have enough in the tank to continue on like Oguchi Onyewu & Charlie Davies. Once again I felt that Bradley’s tactics and formations were correct, but my only concern was the selection for the starting eleven.

I understand why Bradley thought having a speedy forward alongside Jozy Altidore would be a strong combination to stretch out the defenders, but when Robbie Findley doesn’t have the confidence or the imagination like what Davies has at this level that’s when you put in Edson Buddle who has been red hot since the start of the season.

Of course the flat starts were not a case of tactics or formations, it was the players who just couldn’t get to a strong start in their matches and unfortunately when you continue to make comebacks it’s going to hurt you in the end & that’s what happened to them against Slovenia & Ghana. If it wasn’t a bad decision from a referee, it was just not enough gas in the tank to make another equalizer in extra time.

But let me say this. While this was a decent performance from the National Team & no one is happy that they left this early in the tournament. Outside of this match Bob Bradley did a good job and if he does get another four years, then I don’t have a problem with it. You can keep on dreaming of getting the top Euro club or National Team coaches to run the US National Team, but guess what folks they won’t come.

If Bob Bradley doesn’t return either by US Soccer or his own decision then it’s time for Sigi Schmid, Dominic Kinnear, or if you are begging for a foreign coach then Steve Nicol would be the best option since he is the most success foreign coach to manage a club side in Major League Soccer, or as I have said Dutchman Leo Beenhakker. Right now let’s get ready for a 2011 Gold Cup tournament and qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On Demand: Feuerstein’s Fire World Cup Re-Cap Ghana Vs USA
Guest: Kartik Krishnaiyer

0 thoughts on “Conceding Early Goals In Regulation & Extra Time Doom the USA Against Ghana”

  1. Bob Bradley’s strength was his tactical nous. I just feel that he misallocated resources on the bench. Buddle should have easily gotten his chance to start in place of Findley. I can’t for the life of me wonder why Bradley was fixated on the notion of speed when Findley clearly didn’t possess the ability to finish, pass or take on defenders.

    I, for one, was not impressed by Altidore. But I know he has his believers and I can’t deny he played well at times, just not throughout.

    The most glaring statistic for the US is that not one goal was scored by a forward. People claim that Buddle is more of a poacher than a striker. I say a poached goal is worth as many on the scoreboard as a rocket from 20 yards.

    1. I, also, am unimpressed with Altidore, and the notion of having a striker who simply holds the ball and draws fouls (Emile Heskey), and a striker like Findley who can’t finish…. when two strikers (Gomez and Buddle) are sitting on our bench, and are in top form, is obscene.

    2. Amen… Check out these stat lines in 2010:

      Robbie Findley
      Games played: 7
      Games started: 6
      Minutes played: 475
      Goals scored: 0
      Assists: 0

      Edson Buddle:
      4 games, 2 starts, 163 minutes, 2 goals, no assists,
      plus a sweet header vs. Slovenia…

      So Buddle played 300 minutes less and got two more goals…

      Josi Altidore:
      5 games, 5 starts, 435 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
      That assist, of course, was that header to Bradley, which is a fairly lucky assist…

      Herculez Gomez:
      4 games, 1 start, 110 minutes, 2 goals, 0 assists…
      Although remember he had that assist to Dempsey waved off vs. Algeria.

      So, combined, we’ve got:
      Bob Bradley’s starters: 900 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
      Bob Bradley’s doghouse: 273 minutes, 4 goals, 1 assist

      What did the starters need to do to get benched? And what did the bench need to do to get a starting spot? The starters could hardly have played worse, before and during the cup, while the bench put up really solid numbers…

      Bradley’s starters average a goal every 9 games, his bench averages a goal every 70 minutes…

      These numbers are disturbing.

  2. Stopped listening when Kartik said “We were always going to be up against it in this game against Ghana.” Glad I am not getting my information exclusively from Kartik, as a good number of experts and betting sites had the US favored for this match (;

    Look, just because the US did not have as much tactical ability or skill does not mean that Ghana was fated to win this match. The US had other qualities, including speed, attacking strength from the midfield, and tenacity, that led experts to see this as a very close match, with the US having an edge. Kartik and Daniel have appreciated Bradley’s strengths more than other US fans–probably to a fault. We now need to ask if Bradley is the coach to lead this team forward to the next stage in US soccer evolution. That question is not so clear and, more importantly, does not seem to lend itself to re-upping Bradley’s contract.

  3. I think Bradley did okay, but his starting selections were what bugged me. Why the heck was Findley in there? Why not give the hottest goal scorer in MLS a shot? Buddle and Gomez needed to play more. It’s a shame they couldn’t pull off one more miracle finish, but you give up early goals like that and your days are numbered.

    I’d be fine with Bradley getting another 4 year stint. I find that better than bringing in some ringer from another country like half the big WC teams do. Where’s the national pride in that? “Hi I’m Fabio from Italy! I coach England!” WTF is that?

    1. I’d give up some national pride if we could get Guus Hiddink, who is unfortunately under contract with Turkey. Our ultimate criterion for the next national team head coach is if they can further advance the US men’s national program, not if they were born in the USA.

    2. ” I find that better than bringing in some ringer from another country like half the big WC teams do”…eh? Which big WC teams have a foreign manager??

  4. Honestly Paul, if Hiddink was available or wanted to come here, he would’ve been here already. But what happened with Klinsmann, I can tell you now none of those high profiled Euro coaches would ever come to coach our guys, because of the way the USSF handles the power. They don’t want to give up any of it.

    Leo Beenhakker, bring him here. He’s been in CONCACAF before with Mexico and with T&T. He is a good technical coach. You want someone that understands the league and scouts the American College Game very well. Oh yes he is from Europe, bring over Steve Nicol.

    An American who has already coached a youth national team and also is coaching MLS right now? Sigi Schmid. An MLS coach who has the fire and brings out the toughness from his players? Dominic Kinnear could be the one.

    Mourinho would never come here. Not Wenger, Not Sir Alex, Not Benitez. Get out of the fantasy Realm and come back to reality.

  5. Never suggested Sir Alex, Mourinho, ect. Only suggested an option that was avaible for a limited time.

    As you correctly pointed out, there is the problem with the USSF sharing power with its national coach. (Wahl’s interview also suggests MLS is also a part of the problem. One would hope that the USSF would listen to its fans and commentators, and hire a coach that could provide the experience and skill to take the US to the next level. I would hope that and other websites would encourage pressure to be put on USSF to make a chance for the better of our mens’ national team (Lalas, love him or hate him, did a bit of that after the game).

    One part of the discussion is whether or not personal knowledge of CONCACAF or the US soccer system is necessary for a future coach. I tend not to rank that criterion as highly as you do. Perhaps this is because of another difference: you and Kartik seem to see Bradley’s work with the US as being primiarily limited by the US talent base; I, along with others, see Bradley as not adequately coaching the talent he had avaible–which, while not as rich as first class nations like Brazil, was still enough to provide further opportunities for better play that Bradley mishandled.

    1. Well on the coaching end Paul I always thought of Leo Beenhakker as a good coach with his knowledge of both Europe & CONCACAF. He’s managed his native Holland twice 1985-1986 & 1990. Saudi Arabia 1993-1994. Trinidad & Tobago 2005-2006 and recently Poland from 2006-2009.

      He is a good Technical coach and could add Thomas Rongen to his coaching staff because he understands and scouts the American players in MLS and the US Youth Teams. Also they can talk to each other.

      Bradley’s problem was how he constructed his starting eleven. I was screaming for Edson Buddle to start along with Altidore. But coming off the substitutes bench twice and that is the only problem I saw Bradley have.

      But it’s the players fault for having these slow starts for no reason and when you do that, the opposition will punish you. They got punished and were forced to make comebacks and sadly against Ghana that comeback was one too many.

      1. Beenhakker seems to be a solid choice–his recent failure to qualify Poland for the Cup is balanced with his qualifying Poland for the Euros. Checking wikipedia, he is contracted to be Feyenoord’s Technical Director until June 2011. Do you have a sense of whether or not the USSF would be willing to buy out the rest of his contract? Further, Bradley’s contract runs until December 2010, yet everyone is talking like he is going to be re-hired/released during the summer, perhaps even before the Brazil friendly.

        Again, I see Bradley’s faults as extending beyond merely not having the correct starting eleven. I find the team’s slow starts to be one of the issues Bradley had control over, or at the very least, an issue that he should have attempted to fix before the World Cup. Kartik did an excellent job compiling the number of early goals before the Cup; so we all knew this was an issue coming into the Cup. Yes, the players should be starting games better, but if this is a systemic issue then the coach must take steps to fix it. Bradley had to find ways to improve the way his team began games; unfortunately, he did not, and when this is combined with the players’ inability to fix this on their own, you had far too many games where the US was playing from behind. If the US comes out strong against either Slovenia or Algeria, then we would have had enough energy to possibly beat Ghana.

  6. I think this post is mis-titled. The key to the Ghana game was the US’s blown chances. Go watch the highlights — we had way more good scoring opportunities than Ghana. The difference in this game was Altidore & Findley cannot score…

  7. Doug. How many times has the USA been behind in their group matches and their second round match against Ghana? If the striker from Algeria didn’t hit the crossbar, it would’ve been all four matches.

    When you consistantly put yourself behind the 8-ball it’s a harder thing to do and come back from the match being behind so early. Even in the World Cup you have to look at the real heart of the story.

    It’s not about the quality of the scoring chances or if they had more than Ghana, it’s when you make them count and sadly the USA kept on allowing the first goal within the first 15 minutes of the match.

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