#USMNT 2:1 Ghana: eight quick thoughts

So far so good, but it’s not going to be easy the rest of the way.


From The Onion:

Clint Dempsey

How tough is Demp, though. He gets his nose kicked to the side of his face but stays in the match. Didn’t do much after that because he couldn’t breathe, but remember that shot next time some wanker tells you that soccer is for wussies.

 2: The Jozy Altidore injury is very bad news. Hamstring injuries come in different varieties. I’ve had pulls where I was full speed a week later, and sometimes players can be out for weeks. The official word was a “strain,” but we won’t know until the results of tomorrow’s MRI. Given how he pulled up, I’m betting on worse instead of better. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine him being back by Sunday, so the team is going to have to get a performance with Plan B.

3: Plan B didn’t look so good today. Aron Johansson is a dangerous attacker, but he was mostly invisible after coming on for the stricken Altidore. He’s going to have to adjust his runs and work on checking back to the ball before the Portugal match, and these are certainly things he’s capable of doing. The Americans’ chances of getting a result depend on him threatening the defense enough to at least keep them honest. That said….

4: Michael Bradley cannot have a repeat of today’s dismal performance. He was utterly invisible most of the game, and when he did get a handle on the ball he quickly passed it to a player in the wrong color shirt. About as bad as I have ever seen him play – and if he does the same thing against Portugal the US is in trouble.

5: Man of the Match: Jermaine Jones. I was surprised to see him deployed on the wing, but it certainly helped lock down that side of the field defensively. Heck, he was all over the damned place – sort of like the Troy Polamalu of soccer. How many of him were out there, anyway? Not only that, Jones – remarkably – looked a bigger danger than Bradley in the attack. How unlikely was this? For those of you don’t follow futbol, think back to the 1986 Utah Jazz and imagine Mark Eaton being a bigger threat leading the fast break than John Stockton.

6: US wins the match, but Ghana wins the fashion show. Nice design for the Black Stars. Nice Russian hockey sweaters for the Yanks.

7: The team needs a rest. Jozy yanked a hammy. Matt Besler had to come off at the half with a tight hammy. Alejandro Bedoya was dealing with a couple problems and had to come off late in the game. At one point it looked like Geoff Cameron might be cramping, too. Manager Jurgen Klinnsman has clearly been working the team hard in an attempt to prepare them for the hot, humid conditions of Brazil. And while I understand that this is a tightrope walk, he may have overdone it. As a couple guys on the Dirty Hippie Sports list observed (props to Raf Noboa, especially), the injuries we saw today are typical of what you expect from overtraining – which Klinnsman has a reputation for. Dear Jurgy: the lads need a day off. I’m thinking a spa trip, a massage, some time laying around the pool. Just an idea.


And from a suspect Wikipedia entry that has been removed if it was in fact up in the first place:

John Brooks

All in all, today was a wonderful result given the injuries and how badly Ghana outplayed the US for most of the match. Let’s hope the Yanks catch their breath, get healthy and come back fresh against Portugal.


  • Comparing your Dec 6, 13 post to reality… USA didn’t have an A+ game yesterday, but they squeaked out a win. Victory for USA is a win for Sam and his crystal ball! Portugal? “If you can bottle up Ronaldo somehow – easier said than done, but humor me – they’re very beatable.” I hope so, because “It will be next to impossible to nick a point off Germany”. We still have a chance, but we need to be better on Sunday.

    • Yep. And I like our chances. Jermaine Jones is going to be in Ronaldo’s jock strap the whole game, which is going to make like difficult for him. We’ll see.

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