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The United States has been seen out of the World Cup, but it took 120 minutes and an extra time goal from Asamoah Gyan to see them out.
The Ghanaian strike put home his third goal of the tournament in the 93rd minute, a left-footed half-volley from eight yards out put into the top of the next giving Ghana a 2-1 lead. The Black Stars would hold on to the lead for the next 27 minutes.
Ghana moves on to the quarterfinals to face Uruguay.
Ghana went up in the sixth minute through Kevin Prince Boateng, taking advantage of a Ricardo Clark turnover to finish past Tim Howard from 20 yards out to put the Black Stars up 1-0.
Ghana would control the match through half time, when a substitution that brought-on Benny Feilhaber invigorated the U.S., leading to a penalty earning in the 61st minute. Jonathan Mensah's take-down of Clint Dempsey gave Landon Donovan a chance from the spot. Donovan hit his kick against the inside of the right post, making it 1-1, scoring his third goal of the competition.
In extra time, a long ball played out of the back from Ghana, over the United States defense, allowed Gyan to run onto an opportunity in the box. Gyan got position on Carlos Bocanegra, behind JayDeMerit, to score the decisive goal.
Though the United States leaves the 2010 competition having won a group for the first time since 1930, it is the second straight World Cup where the U.S. ends their tournament with a 2-1 loss to Ghana.
Ghana becomes the third African nation to make the quarterfinals, following Senegal's 2002 team and Cameroon's team of 1990. With a win over Uruguay next Friday, Ghana would become the African nation to make the semifinals.
Milovan Rajevac has used his final substitution in the 113th minute, taking off Samuel Inkoom, who had just spend time on the ground injured, off for Sulley Muntari.
Inkoom was a surprise starting in midfield and is subbed-off for Muntari, whose fractious relationship with Ghana's coach has seen him out of the team.
Ghana continues to lead the United States 2-1 in the 115th minute.
Jozy Altidore's day for the United States against Ghana came to an end with regulation time; he was replaced by Herculez Gomez to start overtime. For the Ghanaians, that's probably a positive development.
But that's not because Altidore was playing especially well; indeed, he seemed to be a step slow or just off for most of the match. But during the US's dominant second half, Altidore truly grew as a soccer player. And by that we mean he flopped multiple times.
The first time happened on a sterling chance for the United States, with Altidore pushing the ball into the penalty area, while drawing plenty of contact from his defender. The two tumbled to the ground, with Altidore pushing a falling shot just wide. No penalty was called, though both Ian Darke and John Harkes mused that penalty kicks had been awarded for less. Upon replay, though, Altidore exaggerated the level of contact he received before falling in an unnatural direction.
Then, during stoppage time in regulation, Altidore was bringing the ball up along the sideline before apparently being tripped, leading to a yellow card that would disqualify André Ayew from quarterfinal play. Upon replay, again, Altidore hadn't even been touched. He just faceplanted and was rewarded with a heinous yellow card against Ghana.
So take from that what you will. It's a curious tactical decision, not unlike a LeBron James or Dwyane Wade playing for the call rather than the basket. It got the US a yellow card against a key Ghanian midfielder, but it almost certainly made Altidore's goal try more difficult than it needed to be in regulation. With the score currently at 2-1 Ghana, one must wonder whether Altidore's priorities were truly in order.
The first period of extra time is done, with the United States trailing Ghana, 2-1.
The U.S. has been unable to generate a decent scoring chance since Asamoah Gyan put the Ghanaians ahead in the 93rd minute, a left-footed finish beating Tim Howard from eight yards out.
The United States has fifteen minutes to score the goal that would lead the match to penalty kicks.
Three minutes into extra time, a ball played behind the United States defense saw Asamoah Gyan beat Jay DeMerit and Stade Rennes teammate Carlos Bocanegra to the ball, with Gyan's half-volley into the top of the net from ten yards out giving Ghana a 2-1, extra time lead.
Gyan ran across the face of his club teammate and beat the defender to a ball that bounded behind DeMerit. Gyan held off DeMerit to finish past Howard, giving Ghana a lead in the 93rd minute.
It was Gyan's third goal of the World Cup, tying him for the tournament's lead.
Ghana continues to lead 2-1 in the 97th minute.
Just as Ghana controlled the first half, the United States looked the better side in the second half, with the halftime insertion of Benny Feilhaber invigorating the team.
The U.S. midfielder was on the end of a chance in the 46th minute and created the penalty kick that eventually equalized for the United States.
That goal came in the 62nd minute, Landon Donovan putting his kick off the right post and into the goal after Clint Dempsey was brought down by Jonathan Mensah.
The United States has held 49 percent of the possession and created six shots on goal. Ghana has created five shots on goal.
The match now goes to extra-time: 30 minutes divided into two, 15-minute halves, to be played whether a team scores.
If the match remains tied after extra time, the game will be settled by a penalty kick shootout.
Ghana winger André Ayew has incurred a one match suspension as a result of a stoppage time yellow card, shown after his feet because entangled with Jozy Altidore, sending the U.S. forward to ground as he moved up-the-field with the ball.
Ayew carried a yellow card into the match, his Saturday booking earning him a suspension. He will miss the quarterfinals, should Ghana advance, or Ghana's first match in African Cup of Nations qualifying.
The match has now finished regulation time drawn 1-1, with the United States and Ghana set to play a 30-minute extra period. If that period ends drawn, the teams will go to a penalty kick shootout.
A long ball played from the United States back line in the 81st minute momentarily put forward Jozy Altidore behind the Ghana defense, but central defender John Mensah was able to catch-up to the play, and with the two player tangling near 15 yards out, the U.S. striker's left-footed chance was dragged wide to the right of Richard Kingson's goal.
Altidore appeared to initiate contact with Mensah in an attempt to get a better angle on the ball. The two players were sent off-balance, with Altidore's chance, as he went to ground, failing to go on goal.
The United States and Ghana remain tied after 86 minutes played, their 1-1 score possibly headed to extra time.
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has had to use his second substitution to replace an injured Kevin Prince Boateng, bringing on veteran Stephen Appiah.
Boateng leaves in the 78th minute pulling at his right leg, with Appiah expected to play an identical, central midfield role.
The match between Ghana and the United States remains scoreless through 83 minutes.
Jozy Altidore's pass through the Ghana line in the 75th minute created a chance for Michael Bradley, the second time in the match the U.S. midfielder has been rewarded for a run beyond the line.
In the first half, he run on to a ball too close to the line to create a good chance, but this time, from 17 yards out, Bradley's put a left-footed shot on goal. The shot, however, went straight into Richard Kingson's chest.
The match remains drawn at one, now in the 79th minute.
Normally a center half, Lee Addy has been brought on as Milovan Rajevac's first substitution, the Ghanaian coach taking off left back Hans Sarpei.
The substitution comes in the match's 73rd minute, with Addy starting play at right back.
The United States and Ghana remain draw at one in the 76th minute. If they match remains with this scoreline, it will go to a 30-minute extra time period following the 90th minute.
Carlos Bocanegra took what could be described as a professional foul, bringing down Stade Rennes teammate Asamoah Gyan as the Ghana striker had touched the ball beyond him, earning a yellow card for the play.
Bocanegra charged into the Ghanaians about 40 yards from goal but wisely took the man down, with Gyan having slightly touched the ball beyond the defender.
Bocanegra carried no cards into today's match.
Kwadwo Asamoah's subsequent direct kick was hit well but straight at Tim Howard, who clutched the shot.
The match remains tied at one in the 71st minute.
Benny Feilhaber's ball through the Ghanaian defense found Clint Dempsey, who was brought down in the penalty are by Ghana central defender Jonathan Mensah. Landon Donovan put the resulting penalty kick into the right side netting to make it 1-1 in the 62nd minute.
The penalty comes as the United States has reverse the match's course in the second half, when Benny Feilhaber's inclusion as helped the U.S. control the first twenty minutes of play after halftime.
In the 65th minute, the score remains tied at one.
One minute into the second half, the United States appears to have found the energy that lead to a comeback in their second World Cup match, against Slovenia. Unfortunately for the U.S. Richard Kingson has reminded them that this is no longer group lpay.
The movement started with Clint Dempsey sending Landon Donovan down the right flank, with the right winger quickly playing a ball into the penalty area for Jozy Altidore. The striker laid off a ball for the oncoming Feilhaber, but a strong read of the play from Kingson had the Ghanian `keeper off his line, ready to meet the shot seven yards out.
Feilhaber's attempt was being saved, keeping the score 1-0 in at the 46 minute mark.
The Black Stars maintain that lead in the 53rd minute.
In what is becoming a standard substitution for Bob Bradley when the United States trail at halftime, Benny Feilhaber has come on for Robbie Findley to start the second half.
The move likely means Clint Dempsey will move from the wing into a supporting striker's role.
Feilhaber's inclusion is Bob Bradley's second substitution, with Maurice Edu's 30th minut substitution, in for Ricardo Clark, the first.
Ghana leads the United States 1-0 to start the second half.
Ghana has controlled the first half of play against the United States, using an early goal from Kevin Prince Boateng to take a 1-0 lead into halfitme.
If you quint your eyes and draw parallels, you can almost see Haminu Dramani taking the ball from Claudio Reyna and going down the field for Ghana's first goal against the U.S. in Germany 2006. This year, Reyna was played by Ricardo Clark, who gave the ball away to Boateng (after an Anthony Annan challenge), and although Boateng did not go in alone on goal, the end result was the same, with Tim Howard giving the midfielder too much of the near post, letting in Boateng's left-footed shot from 20 yards out.
In the sixth minute, Ghana was ahead, 1-0.
Each team had one other good chance in the half, with Ghana's Kwadwo Asamoah and the U.S.'s Robbe Findley each seeing their chances saved, but it was Ghana's half, with the Black Stars able to stay compact in defense after taking the early lead.
Bob Bradley has already used one of his substitutions, taking off Clark in the 30th minutes and bringing on Maurice Edu.
Ghana held 56 percent of the half's possession and recorded four shots on goal. The United States had three shots on goal.
Ghanian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah's 37th minute scoring chance has been snuffed-out by Tim Howard, who came off his line at the right time to cut down the angles as the young Ghanian went in alone on goal.
A long ball from the Ghana end was misplayed by defender Jay DeMerit, the ball bouncing behind the defense for Asamoah. Howard came off his line to the right of his goal to make the save.
On the play, Carlos Bocanegra slid over Asamoah's left ankle as the defender attempt to block the Ghanian's shot. Asamoah spent some time off the pitch recovering from the injury.
Ghana leads the United States 1-0 in the 41st minute.
Clint Dempsey has put another United States player behind the Ghanian defense, but whereas Michael Bradley ran onto the ball at a sharp angle to goal, Robbie Findley had an open chance on Ghana `keeper Richard Kingson from 16 yards. Findley's shot to the near post was saved by Kingson, who kicked his left foot out to keep the score even.
Ghana leads the United States 1-0 in the 37th minute.
Bob Bradley has gone to his bench early.
Maurice Edu has replaced Ricardo Clark in a like-for-like substitution, replacing the central midfielder whose mistake started the attack that led to t he Ghana goal.
Maurice Edu started the United States' last group match against Ghana and appeared in their second match against Slovenia.
Clark had not played since the England match, the U.S.'s World Cup opener.
Ghana remain in front of the United States, 1-0 in the 33rd minute.
Michael bradley's attempted pass across the six was cut off my Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson, culminating the United States' best attack of the match.
In the 22nd minute, Clint Dempsey fed Michael Bradley through the defense, the midfielder's run taking him to the byline. Eight yards from goal, Bradley turned on the ball and tried to fire a cross through the six. Richard Kingson laid out to cut-off the cross.
Ghana remains in front 1-0 in the 25th minute.
United States will be suspended for his next match, but it in the World Cup of the next FIFA sanctioned tournament, having picked up a yellow card in the 18th minute of the U.S. match versus Ghana.
Cherundolo brought down left winger André Ayew from behind along the attack's left.
The subsequent direct kick from striker Asamoah Gyan had to be punched clear of goal by Tim Howard.
Ghana remains in front of the United States 1-0 in the 19th minute.
The United States have given up another early goal.
Ricardo Clark was dispossessed of the ball near midfield by Ghana midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng, who dribbled to within 20 yards of goal uncontested, beating Tim Howard to the goalkeeper's right for the opening goal in the match's sixth.
It was a poor giveaway by Clark, a mistake compounded by a relatively shot goal allowed by Tim Howard.
Clark has subsequently picked-up a yellow card in the match's seventh minute.
Ghana has made one change to the team that started the Black Stars' final Group D match against Germany.
Right wing Prince Tagoe is out of the team. Samuel Inkoom, normally a right back, is in.
Injured center half Isaac Vorsah continues to be replaced by Jonathan Mensah.
G - Richard Kingson
LB - Hans Sarpei
LCB - Jonathan Mensah
RCB - John Mensah
RB - John Pantsil
M - Anthony Annan
M - Kevin-Prince Boatang
M - André Ayew
M - Kwadwo Asamoah
M - Samuel Inkoom
F - Asamoah Gyan
The United States has made two changes to the team that beat Algeria to qualify for the knockout stage.
Ricardo Clark is back in the team, making his first start since the tournament's opening match against England. He will partner Michael Bradley in central midfield.
Robbie Findley returns from suspension to reclaim the supporting striker's role that had been filled by Herculez Gomez.
Oguchi Onyewu is again out of the lineup.
G - Tim Howard
LB - Jonathan Bornstein
LCB - Carlos Bocanegra
RCB - Jay DeMerit
RB - Steve Cherundolo
W - Clint Dempsey
M - Michael Bradley
M - Ricardo Clark
W - Landon Donovan
F - Robbie Findley
F - Jozy Altidore
The United States was eliminated from Germany 2006 by Ghana, the Black Stars winning the third match of group play to go through to the knockout round. For U.S. fans, the idea of redemption helps fuel interest in this match, but for the national team's players, there are bigger issues at hand.
Though this Black Stars team is not getting meaningful contributions of 2006 stalwarts Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah, its depth may make this version better than its predecessors. The States will have to manage a squad emboldened by a group of young talent that sits with Germany's as the world's best. Very few of the players that the U.S. will face today will have memories of 2006; instead, their highlights are composed of a recent youth world title and a near miss at their year's continental championship.
United States, Going Forward: The U.S. is more effective when counter-attacking, and when they're not given the opportunities to do so they have nothing you can point at and say "that's what they do well." Instead, it's resourcefulness that seems to be their main attribute, something becomes dangerous when you have the States' athletes. With players like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore, Bob Bradley has a core of players who have the ability and versatility to take advantage of whatever openings are presented. With the United States' ability to pressure their opponents and execute at the end of matches, that athleticism becomes scary. Right, Algeria?
But unless the U.S. wants to be gassed within 30 minutes, they can't play with the constant intensity needed to take advantage of their athleticism for 90 minutes. Perhaps this is why you see the United States control matches in spurts. Thankfully (for supporters of the U.S.), those spurts have been well-timed in their last two matches.
If there is a tactical advantage the States possesses, it's through Landon Donovan. On the U.S.'s right wing, Donovan will be matched against André Ayew and Hans Sarpei. Ayew is a 20-year-old winger who Marseille had loaned-out for the last two years. Sarpei is a veteran left back who serves as a reserve for one of Donovan's old teams, Bayer Leverkusen. Defending on the left, the pair can be exploited by Donovan, who can give the likes of Altidore, Robbie Findley, and Dempsey the opportunity to use their athleticism when Donovan gets behind the line.
Ghana, Going Forward: Milovan Rajevac is one of the more patient coaches in this tournament. Though he has the depth of talent to compete with almost anybody, the Serb prefers to wait for his opposition to present an opening, making Ghana's matches methodical, deliberate affairs, explaining why the Black Stars finished group play have scored and allowed two goals.
The United States is prone to mistakes in defense, and Ghana's ability to take advantage of them will depend on how central midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah reads the play. The 21-year-old Udinese attacker has been a key component of successful Ghanian efforts at last summer's U-20 World Cup (winners) and January's African Cup of Nations (runners-up). He has a quality striker in Asamoah Gyan, playing alone up top, with the combination coming close throughout this tournament to completing a final ball which would see Ghana finally score an open-play goal.
How The Match Turns: If Ghana can start putting-in those final balls with the necessary precision - be they from Asamoah or wingers Ayew and Prince Tagoe - the Black Stars will win. Else, they are lying in wait for the United States to take this match.
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