“Cardiac Kids” Flatline In South Africa

St. Louis – June 26, 2010
By Jeremy Clements
The United States found themselves in familiar territory in Rustenburg after falling behind in the 5th minute of their match against Ghana following a strike by Kevin-Prince Boateng. For the third time in this World Cup the United States fell behind within the first fifteen minutes of a match. The silver lining of this was that in each of those matches we came back to end the match as a draw. So it was hardly time to panic.

Jozy Altidore (L) of the United States sits dejected with Landon Donovan after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Ghana continued to dominate the half with their speed and superior ball control. Things seemed to turn around for the United States after coach Bob Bradley sent Maurice Edu into the match in the 30th minute admitting that he made a mistake starting Ricardo Clark.  The first half closed with the United States trailing 1-0.

As the United States kicked off the second half it was clear that they had finally woken up. Just minutes into the half the United States began creating quality scoring chances. After failing to convert several chances the United States caught a break when Clint Dempsey was taken down in the box giving them the chance to equalize from the penalty spot. That is exactly what Landon Donovan did. Sending the ball off of the far post and into the back of the net in the 62nd minute.

The Black Stars were in a frenzy. Clearly the United States had taken control of the game. In the final twenty minutes of regular time the Americans continued to control the play. Creating and missing several chances from inside the area. As regular time ended Ghana seemed to calm their nerves and both sides prepared for extra time.

Herculez Gomez replaced Jozy Altidore as extra time kicked off with Bob Bradley hoping that Gomez would provide the offensive spark the Americans needed. It turned out that offense should have been the least of Bradley’s worries as Ghana took the lead in the 93rd minute when Asamoah Gyan took a harmless looking ball and turned it into the deciding goal, blasting it over Tim Howard and into the back of the net. The United States had a few final chances but sadly they were just the last gasps before the “cardiac kids” flatlined.

Jozy Altidore (L) of the United States sits dejected with Landon Donovan after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Not Getting The Job Done

In one of the biggest games in the history of United States soccer some of the biggest names didn’t show up to play. Jozy Altidore didn’t look good at all at time struggling to get to balls. Tim Howard played well but his poor positioning let in the soft goal that put the United States in an early hole. Key players weren’t the only problem. The United States was plagued by poor defense in the central part of their defensive third all tournament long. Today that cost them twice as Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerrit were at times stretched too far or just out of position. In the end it seems the lack of defensive depth and inconsistency when it came to finishing proved to be fatal to these “cardiac kids” from the United States.

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