US fell to Ghana 2-1 in the round of 16 today. A few of my thoughts on today’s game. Two early subs, one before half-time and one immediately after shows that coach Bob Bradley made a few poor decisions about his starters. He didn’t start several of the players that started the only US win against Algeria, which is somewhat questionable. The first goal US gave up did show that Tim Howard was caught off guard by the near post shot, but it was also a combination of poor defense and giving away position in their own half. Just in general, US looked like a totally different team in the second half. You could attribute the slow start to the wrong starters or to US still feeling physically and emotionally drained from the thriller against Algeria only 3 days ago, but the fact is US didn’t show up in the first half, and US has continuously had problems with giving up early leads. I was pretty disappointed with Jozy Altidore’s performance. For a world cup team, your forward has got to play better than what he did. Donovan stepped up, and I thought Dempsey played well in the final game. It will be interesting to see how the team will form for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Out of 6 African teams, Ghana was the only one to make through the group phase. I do hope that Ghana goes far in the tournament. Even though the host nation, South Africa, didn’t make it, many South Africans along with other African nations will be coming together as a continent and pulling for Ghana. This is the second time Ghana has knocked US out of the World Cup. Previously in the 2006 World Cup, Ghana prevailed over US 2-1 once again. If US would have won, they would have advanced out of the group.
The farthest US has advanced in the World Cup is the 2002 World Cup in Japan/S. Korea when they defeated Mexico 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarters they faced Germany and lost 1-0. The US did finish 3rd in the 1930 World Cup, but it was the first cup held, there were only 14 teams in it, and many countries did not participate.
On the bright side, US did make it through the group stage, which many expected but turned out to be quite a struggle. Furthermore, the World Cup goes on. I’m sure many Americans will stop watching the World Cup all together just because US is out. That’s a shame to me. It’s not just about respecting the sport, but respecting all the other nations in it who are cheering just as passionately for their own teams…