Onyewu out which good news, but why would Clark be back in? Seems nuts to me. Findley back in for Gomez, which is Bradley opting for speed over ball control and finishing.
With Bocanegra moved to the middle to replace Guch, we’ve put Bornstein on the left—hardly a comforting thought. But Guch was clearly not ready for prime time in game 2 and one must think that hasn’t changed in the last week.
Clark is mysterious. He must be showing something in training that we don’t see because I’ve a raft of players I’d rather have.
Early cross from Donovan goes nowhere.
Dempsey from range, on frame but saved.
Ghana score early, 5 minutes in. Honestly: right down the middle of the defense. Clark gives it away in midfield. God bless America! What is Clark doing in the game!? First time Ghana have scored in open play during the World Cup. Replay looks like Howard didn’t do well either. Geez. 1-0 Ghana.
Yellow to Clark. Unbelievable. Stupid. I have a lot I like about Bradley, but his choice of Clark is just plain dumb. His idiotic play is not an aberration.
Cherundolo makes a terrible error and picks up a yellow trying to recover from it. He’ll miss the next game if we go through. Free kick Ghana. Howard punches clear.
We’re having major problems in the central midfield.
At the 30th minute, Edu comes in for Clark. Should have started this way. Props to Bradley, at least, for again attempting to atone for his mistake. I wish he hadn’t made it in the first place, but he’s not so dense or stubborn that he’s unwilling to make the changes necessary.
Findley shot saved at the 34th minute. Good save. Should have scored, but as I’ve long said, Findley is not a finisher.
Howard with a great save after the defense blows it. Ghana player hobbles off.
1-0 Ghana at half. Horrible half from the US.
Findley out; Feilhaber in. Should give us more possession in the midfield. Here we go.
Couldn’t connect on the Cherundolo run, but our first great shot of the 2nd and only our second or third of the game. Feilhaber gave it a good try.
US getting all kinds of chances in the opening 10 minutes. The tactical changes are paying off. This is the difference a strong midfield makes and again shows why Clark in there made no sense.
Another good chance for Feilhaber. Good efforts from the US.
Dempsey down in the box. Well-earned. Penalty! Donovan to take it. Got it off the post and in! 1-1.
65th minute: Harkes is talking about how the chess pieces out there move with the ball. This is nonsensical on several levels and the norm with Harkes.
Altidore just about got through. Great try.
Bocanegra gets an earned yellow. Kick goes to Howard who distributes fast.
Altidore just wide in the 80th. No penalty, I thought. Great effort from Altidore.
Free kick US about 30 yards out. Dempsey to take. Off the wall. Blah.
Extra time. Ayew of Ghana gets a yellow. Great work from Altidore. Phantom trip, though.
And that’s it. We go to overtime. 30 minutes, no golden goal.
Altidore out, Gomez in. Good change, I think. Altidore looked winded.
Ghana splits the defense in the 2nd minute and scores. 2-1 Ghana. Only good news. The ONLY good news is that it’s not a golden goal.
Nice play for US in the 5th minute. Good job by Dempsey to head back, good shot by Feilhaber. Corner.
Harkes has said nothing of intelligence all match.
15 minutes gone; switch of sides.
Nothing of note. Ghana wins 2-1 in overtime.
One would like to rant about something, but the truth is the US is just woefully inconsistent and finished about where they deserved to finish. I would have very much liked to have us do better, but I can’t help feeling like we went as far as our talent could take us. It’s hard to complain about that.
We clearly missed a finishing forward like Charles Davies. Jozy Altidore played his role well, but Robbie Findley could only bring pace when both pace and finishing were needed. Davies would have been the perfect compliment to Alitodore up top and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see it. I think the US would have put a lot more goals in the net.
In the midfield, we paid an enormous price for Ricardo Clark who, simply put, was not ready to play at this level. I think he has the physical ability, but he lacks the tactical understanding and concentration that is required. He may gain that in the future, but he didn’t have it this time, and it killed us. This is all the more vexing because the US otherwise has a strong midfield. Bradley and Dempsey were absolute workhorses and I couldn’t pick between them for US player of the tournament. They were outstanding. I thought the much-touted Donovan did well and clearly has the talent to be dangerous at the highest level of soccer, but he also has a tendency to disappear for long stretches. Feilhaber acquitted himself very well when he was in games, and Clark’s playing time at his expense was Coach Bradley’s biggest error of this Cup.
The defense was about what I expected which is to say not very good. Steve Cherundolo, despite a few problems in the Ghana game, had a solid tournament and, for once, locked down a position in the back four. His attacks forward were notably dangerous and by and large you’d have to say that he had a good tournament. Unfortunately, he’s 31 and unlikely to be on the squad next time around unless he can defy age a bit and maintain his speed. Certainly he’s smart enough to get the job done. Carlos Bocanegra was a mixed bag. He did well out of position at left back despite not making the same type of runs forward as Cherundolo. Surprisingly, I thought he did less well in the middle, his more natural position, and the Ghana goal in overtime was awful. Steve DeMerit played with heart. I don’t know that he would have seen the field that Oguchi Onyewu been fit, but if the US’ game against Slovenia proved anything it was that Guch was nothing close to fit, and Bradley was spot-on in keeping him off the pitch thereafter. Guch will be 32 next time around and presumably fit, so he’s got another Cup in him.
Keeper Tim Howard made some great saves. I thought he got worse after the England game, but even his “B game” is better than most people’s A game. Whether this was due to injury or not, I dunno. But he really never seemed to return to form after he got that whack against England.
Coach Bradley is an enigma. He clear has an excellent tactical mind and reads the game as well as anyone. The changes he makes mid-game are reasonable, thoughtful, and typically successful. I also like him personally. That said, I have no idea what happens game-to-game. His starting 11 for the Ghana game were simply wrong, and the US ultimately paid the price for it as we were forced to substitute far too early in a game that went to overtime.