Photo credit: FIFA
The US Men's National Team pulled off another Hollywood ending today with their emphatic win over Ghana. It was a game of fantasy plays by Dempsey, true grit by the American defense, last-minute surprises, and plenty of pain.
It started with Dempsey's goal inside of the first minute. Pure Deuce action that reminded us why he was such a highly-coveted player in Europe. The US was active, attacked and controlled the ball.
However, after Altidore's unfortunate injury, Ghana was emboldened and sought after and achieved control of the game. Dempsey's broken nose made him less confident. The Americans' key to the attack and holding the ball in the opponent's side was gone. Aron Johannsson wasn't able to keep the focus on the attack and Ghana parked itself in the American side of the pitch.
There was pain, sweat and strength in this match. This is what caused Besler to be substituted as well as Bedoya. Jermaine Jones and Geoff Cameron also could have used a breather, except that there are only 3 subs allowed. Perhaps time to review that rule?
Team USA had one of its token defensive matches today. Howard kept most of the balls out and the defense and midfield retreated to expel the attack. It worked until deep in the scond half, when Ghana finally broke through. A tie would be okay, right?
Wrong, said John Anthony Brooks. The 21-year-old stepped up in a corner kick in the 86th minute and headed the ball low and hard, where no goalkeeper can get it. Goal. USA 2 - Ghana 1.
It's possible that Team USA might make it out of this group, but the odds are stacked against them. No more Altidore. Perhaps no more Besler. The elements were difficult and they will continue to be so. This is Brazil and heat and humidity are a constant in the environment. Portugal is wounded, too, but the US will have to bring its absolute best if it is to defeat the mighty Ronaldo and his squad.