Category Archives: sports

US falls to Ghana

It began in an all too familiar fashion for the United States.  An early goal put the US behind once again in the 2010 World Cup and American fans were left scratching their heads.  The United States were once again put in the position of chasing the game and looking for the equalizer.  It was another valiant and hard-working effort by the team in the red, white and blue.  The end result was not to the liking of the Americans.  Let’s take a look at what went down in South Africa.

The starting eleven for the US differed from the side that was able to pull out a win over Algeria during the week.  Manager Bob Bradley placed Ricardo Clark in the midfield next to Michael Bradley and put Robbie Findley up top alongside Jozy Altidore.  The choice of Clark over Maurice Edu left many wondering if a training injury may have kept Edu on the bench.  Clark had not seen action since the first-half of the England match which opened the tournament for the US.  Edu had seemed to prove his worth against Slovenia and Algeria has a defensive midfielder who allowed Michael Bradley to open up the offensive attack.  Findley returned from his one match ban against Algeria to make the start.

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan provided the winning goal to propel the African side to the quarterfinals/

The inclusion of Clark instantly became relevant as the midfielder lost possession at the center line and the ensuing Ghana break led to the first goal of the match.  A replay of the incident showed Clark foolishly attacking two Ghana players and being moved off the ball.  Bradley’s choice was compounded by a poor tackle by Clark that drew a yellow card.  Edu was subbed in for Clark after just 30 minutes of play.  Findley nearly made Clark’s mistake a distant memory as he attacked the Ghana goal.  However, a lack of finishing ability proved to be the difference as his shot was knocked clear.  The early Ghana goal seemed to spur the American attack as was the case throughout the World Cup.  The Americans opened the second half looking like a different team.  The attack was fluid and the American players were connecting well.  It was no surprise that a catalyst for the improvement was the half-time introduction of Benny Feilhaber.  In fact, the superb play of Feilhaber raised questions as to why he was never given the starting nod.  Clint Dempsey found the Ghana defense lacking as he slice his way into the box.  Dempsey was taken down and awarded a penalty.  Landon Donovan came through for the Americans and knotted the match at 1-1.

The moments immediately following the goal in the 62nd minute, the Americans seemed to have numerous chances to take the match.  However, last ditch defending and a few missed passes kept the US out of the net.  The match would go into extra time.  Fittingly, it would be another lackluster performance by the American back line in the opening minutes of extra time that would seal the fate of the US squad.  Asamoah Gyan muscled pass defender Carlos Bocanegra and slotted home a great left footed finish past a sprawling Tim Howard.  The US offered a valiant final effort to equalize and send the match into penalty kicks.  However, the Ghana defense would prove too much for the Americans.  Deflections and proper alignment kept the Ghana goal clear of an equalizer.

It will be interesting to see the changes that will be made in the race to qualification for World Cup 2014 in Brazil/New York Daily News

As the final whistle blew on the American hopes in the World Cup, the players fell to their knees in pain.  The result may not have been the desired outcome, however the effort was world-class.  The US squad may have lost the match, but they gained respect from the soccer world for their hard-work and never say die attitude.  There is nothing to be ashamed of for the American team.  They have provided the world with exciting soccer and memorable moments.

Thank you to the United States Men’s National Team for their brave efforts in South Africa.  You have all earned our respect and admiration.


US v. Ghana Preview

It was just four years ago that Ghana sent the United States team packing after a dismal trip in Germany for World Cup 2006.  The US entered the final group stage match needing a victory over the African nation to secure a second consecutive trip to the knockout stages.  However, a few mental lapses on defense(sound familiar?) led to a quick goal for Ghana and an embarrassing end for the Americans.  Fast forward to the 2010 World Cup.  The United States have advanced to the round of 16 as group c winners.  It marks the first time since 1930 that the US has won their group.  The Americans are also coming off an improbable stoppage time victory over Algeria that ensured progression and cemented the US team’s moniker of the “Cardiac Kids.”  The Americans are set to face Ghana on Saturday with the winner moving on to face the winner of Uruguay/South Korea.  Here is a quick look at what will need to happen for the US and Ghana to have a chance to advance.

The United States were a goal post away from giving up yet another early goal to the opposition.  Previous matches against England and Slovenia had the Americans fall behind before the 10 minute mark only to come roaring back.  The match against Algeria did not require a frantic comeback.  However, a Landon Donovan goal in the 91st minute did provide all the necessary excitement and fireworks befitting this team.  The United States needs another solid effort from the attacking front if they hope to get past Ghana.  The American attack did well to create many chances in front of goal.  However, the finishing touch was severely lacking and if not for the stroke of brilliance in stoppage time, the missed chances would have sent the US tumbling home.  Bob Bradley may have found a suitable striker partnership in Altidore and Buddle.  After being introduced in the second half, it took Buddle only a couple of minutes to come close to heading home his first career World Cup goal.  The exclusion of Oguchi Onyewu seemed to shore up the communication issues at the back line.  It is likely the same back four from the Algeria match will get the nod against Ghana.  Don’t expect too many changes for the American side after a very good showing to end the group stage.  The back line will have their work cut out for them trying to combat the speed of Ghana.  DeMerit and Bocanegra will be key once again.  The US will win if they get solid play from the back line and the American attack can capitalize on scoring opportunities.

The United States had their World Cup hopes shattered by a physical and fast Ghana squad in 2006./New York Times

Ghana is the only African nation that has progressed past the group stage.  The Black Stars are looking to become only the third African team to advance to the quarterfinals.  Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002 are the only two.  Ghana features a fast, physical, and highly organized squad that knocked the Americans off the ball routinely in their 2006 clash.  Ghana’s best player, Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, is absent from the tournament with a knee injury.  However, a pair of penalty kicks propelled Ghana past the group stage and into a showdown with the United States.  Forward Asamoah Gyan is responsible for both Ghana goals this tournament having scored them from the penalty spot.  Ghana will need to continue the solid defensive play that has been the key to the African nation’s success.  The Black Stars will have their hands full with a surging American attack.  Look for Ghana to go on the counter attack whenever they get the chance.  Ghana will win if they can use their speed and strength to control the midfield and put pressure on the shaky American back line.

Desperate America Report prediction: Ghana wins 2-1 on US mistakes at the back.

The United States has the opportunity to go far in this tournament with the field shaping up in their favor.  However, a tough test in Ghana will really show how much the US has grown from the 2006 World Cup.  Stay with Desperate America for match updates on Twitter and post match wrap-up.  Go USA!

The US pulls another rabbit from the hat in South Africa!

It took until the 91st minute for the US to clinch a spot in the next round of the World Cup.  The Americans seem to relish the dramatic moments and Landon Donovan solidified his status as America’s greatest soccer player as he slotted home the winning goal in stoppage time.  The goal put the US atop Group C and knocked Slovenia out of the World Cup.  The Americans needed to win the match against Algeria after England went ahead of Slovenia in the other Group C match.  It was a real team effort for the Americans that put them through to the round of 16.  The defense played strong and the attack created numerous chances.

Landon Donovan put the US into the quarterfinals with a stoppage time winner against Algeria/

Manager Bob Bradley made some changes to the starting lineup against Algeria.  The back line saw Oguchi Onyewu on the bench and Jonathan Bornstein starting in his place.  Maurice Edu earned a spot next to Michael Bradley in the midfield and Hercules Gomez was placed alongside Jozy Altidore as forward.  The US back line started in familiar fashion this World Cup by nearly allowing a quick goal for the Desert Foxes.  The crossbar of the US goal was the only reason Algeria remained scoreless in the first half.  The US attack saw a bunch of near misses as both teams looked to jump to an early lead.  The Americans were again robbed of a goal by a poor decision by the linesman.  Clint Dempsey was mistakenly called offside when he knocked home the cross from Landon Donovan.  Replays clearly showed the American midfielder onside on the play.  Undeterred, the US squad continued to press the Algerian defenses in search of the advantage.

The second half saw Benny Feilhaber enter the side to replace Hercules Gomez.  The US again missed out on chances as Clint Dempsey’s shot bounced off the inside of the upright and the rebound sailed wide.  Edson Buddle and DeMarcus Beasley were introduced as Bob Bradley searched for the elusive goal.  That goal came with a monstrous throw from Tim Howard that set Donovan loose through the midfield.  With Algeria caught over extended, Donovan slipped a pass to the flank for Altidore who crossed the ball into the box for Clint Dempsey.  Dempsey’s flick was saved by the Algerian keeper but the rebound rolled to Donovan where he slotted home the winner from six yards out.  The goal brought out a boisterous roar from the pro-American crowd and was followed by a team celebration at the corner flag.  The final minutes ticked away and the US squad ran onto the field after the final whistle.

The Americans progress into the next round as Group C champions and will face the runner-up of Group D on Saturday.  The US squad will focus on the match tomorrow.  Today they will celebrate another amazing match and another incredible moment of this World Cup 2010.

United States/Algeria Preview

The United States Men’s National Team enters Wednesday’s clash against Algeria looking for its first win of the tournament.  The US has more than a couple of ways of advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament even if they draw against Algeria.  Simply put, win and the Americans are in.  The three points up for grabs is crucial for both teams.  Group C does not feature a team guaranteed to progress nor is there a team already eliminated.  Group leader, Slovenia, could still miss out on the round of 16 with a loss to England coupled with an American win.  That scenario would have the US and England advancing with the tie breaker for the top spot being goal differential.  Enough of the confusing stuff.  Let’s get to the preview of US/Algeria.

The United States finally showed positive offensive movement during the match against Slovenia.  US maestro, Landon Donovan seemed to be in all the right places during the furious comeback.  It was Donovan that opened the surge just a couple of minutes removed from the restart.  Donovan’s rocket of a shot began the big push for the American attack and electrified the crowd behind the US.  With Robbie Findley out, it will be interesting to see who Bob Bradley starts alongside of resurgent striker, Jozy Altidore.  The US will no doubt miss the speed of Findley, however, the versatility of Donovan and Dempsey allows Bradley some wiggle room at striker.  Look for the possible introduction of Stuart Holden if Dempsey or Donovan moves up top.  The combination could lead to some serious speed on the flanks of the American attack.  The back line of the Americans need to step it up if they have any hopes of advancing.  Oguchi Onyewu looked slow and hesitant during the first half.  The pace and flow of the game during the second half meant little time on the ball for Slovenia’s strikers.  Perhaps the introduction of Maurice Edu to replace Onyewu or alongside Michael Bradley would provide a bit of cover for the defensive line.  Edu played admirably after entering the previous match and surely deserves consideration against Algeria.  The United States will win if the goal scoring touch of the front line continues and the Americans can figure out a way to plug the leak that is the back line.

Landon Donovan will look to be the super hero against Algeria and ensure the US progresses to the next round/

Algeria enters the final group stage match needing a win and some help in order to advance.  A gritty nil-nil draw against England surely has raised spirits and expectations.  Algeria seemed to frustrate England with their tough defense and ball controlling attack.  It really is a telling sign when highlights of the match feature just a few saves needed by the Algerian keeper.  On that note, keeper Rais Bolhi made just his second international appearance during his clean sheet against the Three Lions.  Bolhi had a tremendous save that stymied a wicked shot from Frank Lampard.  The save seemed to set the tone for the Desert Foxes as they played smothering defense and bottled up all-world striker, Wayne Rooney.  So far the Algerian attack has not done much to threaten opposing goals.  Algeria has so far failed to score in this World Cup.  Algeria will win if they get another superb effort from the back line and catch the American defense napping.

On paper, the Americans have the superior talent and should progress without much concern.  However, this tournament has thrown conventional wisdom out the window and featured herculean efforts by the underdogs.  Look for both teams to come out tentative for the first quarter of an hour and turn up the intensity from then on.  The Americans should be able to attack the flanks of the Algerian back line and look for Jozy Altidore to post up in the box and distribute.  Expect a big game from Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.  The US wins 2-0 and gets the top spot out of the group.

Don’t forget to follow Desperate America on Twitter for live match tweets and come back here for the post game wrap-up!

Weekend News

It’s Father’s Day weekend.  Have you gotten dad his gift already?  Enjoy some light-hearted news stories while relaxing this weekend where ever you may be.  Don’t forget to thank dad tomorrow!

Hotel chain bans vuvuzelas! Looks like the World Cup’s breakout star is making some waves.

Ron Artest credits Championship win to…his psychiatrist?  Talk about free advertisements!

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

United States battles back for a draw

The United States entered their match against Slovenia looking to pick up some much-needed points.  It would not come easy for the Americans as Slovenia struck with an early goal.  The goal marked the second time in consecutive games that the US had given up a goal in the opening fifteen minutes of the match.  The US instantly went on the offensive and pushed forward with a front line of Findley and Altidore up top.  The back line looked a bit shaky for the Americans and the trend continued as Slovenia went on the counter-attack and netted a crucial second goal.  Center back, Oguchi Onyewu, looked hesitant at times.  His hesitation led to Slovenia’s two goals.  The first Slovenian goal resulted from the acres of space left by the back four of the US.  The second goal came when Onyewu kept a Slovenian forward onside as he hesitated for a second to close the space.  The half ended with American hopes near the bottom.

The second half opened with the introduction of a Benny Feilhaber and Maurice Edu.  The move sparked something in the Americans because just two minutes into the second half, Landon Donovan scorched the top shelf with a wonder strike from an odd angle.  The goal spurred the attack forward and Slovenia instantly looked nervous.  It took until the 82nd minute for the US to find the much-needed equalizer.  Set up by Jozy Altidore’s exquisite job of posting up just outside the box, a streaking Michael Bradley fired a bullet into the net.  It capped a furious comeback by the US and showed how talented and important Jozy Altidore is to the US success.  Only minutes later, Maurice Edu seemed to do the impossible as he slotted home the free kick from Landon Donovan to take the lead.  However, the goal was disallowed due to a foul by Maurice Edu.  You be the judge.  On the replay, a couple of fouls could have been called on Slovenia with a penalty kick awarded, however, none was granted.

The Americans gained a point and did so in exciting fashion.  The final game against Algeria will be huge for the US as they will need a victory to stay alive.  A victory alone will not insure progression into the next round.  An England victory today against Algeria will put the Brits atop the group alongside Slovenia.  The US would then need either a tie between England/Slovenia and a better goal differential, or a win by either side which would keep the loser at a likely 4 points.  All of this hinges on a US victory over Algeria.

Jozy Altidore showed up big during the US comeback against Slovenia/New York Daily News

The next week will be crucial for the Americans and their World Cup hopes.  Manager Bob Bradley will need to take a serious look at the lineup and must compensate for the absence of Robbie Findley after picking up consecutive yellow cards.  Much will be made of the blown calls against the Americans, however, the US needs to move forward and plan accordingly for Algeria.  They can not fall behind early again.  Sooner or later that luck will run out.  All of the US supporters will hope for a strong match and victory against Algeria and progression to the next round.

Thanks for joining Desperate America for coverage of the United States in the World Cup.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for live tweets during all US matches.

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