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.
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.