June 17, 2014

Oh. Hell. Yes. US Beats Ghana.

Purging the hex that Ghana has held over the US in the last two World Cups was ever-so satisfying. Having one of Klinsmann's new German-American kids (John "Never has to buy a drink again" Brooks) score the goal was even better. Coming so late in the game? Amazing.

As remarkable as it was, the US still has some concerns. Jozy Altidore straining his hamstring is a huge blow. He is the only striker on the side that can really play with his back to the goal and do it well. Hopefully Matt Besler is okay as well, though that cautionary substitution for him allowed Brooks into the game.

Most concerning, to me, was Michael Bradley's poor play. He always seemed a step behind the play. His passing was, in a word, atrocious. Hopefully it is a one-time thing because his poor form resulted in the US spending too much time in their own half defending against Ghana (40% of the US possession was in their own third). Overall Ghana out-possessed the US 59%-41%.

The US couldn't pass effectively but still got the win. They cannot do that against Portugal or Germany. On the upside, advancement just got very easy for the US. Beat Portugal and they are in (excepting a couple of crazy scenarios that would include Ghana trouncing Germany). That is a big ask, to be fair. But Portugal, for all their talent, is a very undisciplined team (see Pepe: Headbutt). And Ronaldo, as good as he is, has a bad habit of trying to do everything on his own. A good, disciplined US defense that can successfully pass out of their own third, moving to a US midfield that can maintain possession, will beat Portugal.

But for now, let's savor the moment. Just like Mr. Brooks.


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