This was a very difficult and painful game to watch personally. Again, the United States gave up an early goal and fell behind. Again they fought well and came back into the game. Again, they gave up another goal right at the start of overtime. There were stretches of the game where it looked like Ghana just wanted it more, but then there were moments where it looked like the Yanks were ready to be serious World Cup contenders and most certainly played the part. It was maddening to see the team crash out of the World Cup in this fashion. While the 2002 World Cup exit to Germany was disappointing, we could all take solace in the fact that we completely outplayed the Germans and were unlucky on a missed handball. The same could not be said about the way USA exited the tournament, which is a huge letdown coming off the high of the Algeria match. USA was not outplayed by Ghana today. A few mental lapses of concentration, and uncharacteristic mistakes ultimately doomed the U.S. side which makes this loss hard to swallow. However, I do think the team has made good progress and did well overall in this tournament. There will be one more post on how I felt the U.S. did overall at another time.
(1-10; 10 = best)
Tim Howard, goalkeeper, 5 — Was oddly out of position on Boateng’s near post goal. Was otherwise solid and commanded his area well. His distribution out of the box was consistent. Might have been able to do better on Gyan’s overtime goal but it certainly wasn’t his fault.
Jonathan Bornstein, defense, 6.5 — Was surprisingly the best U.S. back for this match. He defended competently and delivered some timely tackles. Gave up too much space early on but quickly adjusted.
Carlos Bocanegra, defense, 6 — Put on a solid performance but will be remembered for being out-muscled by Gyan for the game winner.
Jay DeMerit, defense, 5.5 — Put in a great effort but was victimized by a horrible fist half. The USA backline seems to have the habit of not closing down attackers when they’re about to strike the ball and sadly DeMerit was guilty of it on Boateng’s goal.
Steve Cherundolo, defense, 6 — Put in an incredible amount of work for most of the match. Had his hands full trying to contain attackers on his flank but was constantly involved in the U.S. attack, delivering cross after cross after cross.
Clint Dempsey, midfield, 7 — Took a beating in tonight’s game which was to be expected as he is the United States’ creative spark. Did extremely well when moved to the forward spot and provided a great run which won a penalty.
Ricardo Clark, midfield, 2 — Made another early error which led to another early goal. Was caught in possession which led to Ghana’s opening goal. A nightmare of a game for Clark.
Michael Bradley, midfield, 6 — Another typical night for Bradley, delivered good tackles and controlled the midfield well. His passing was actually spot on tonight and he made his trademark runs in the box. Should have done better with his 74th minute chance in the box that could have won the game.
Landon Donovan, midfield, 6 — Produced a strong two way performance in the game. Defended well to contain Ghana’s attacks and contributed to the attack with very good deliveries on set pieces. Took his penalty well to give life back the United States which also gave him the U.S. record for most goals scored in a World Cup.
Jozy Altidore, forward, 5.5 — Continues to play smaller than he really is. He is at his best when he decides to be a battering ram instead of a more finesse type striker. His touches were poor tonight and didn’t cause too much problem for the Ghana centerbacks. Nearly scored the game winner on his back in the 80th minute.
Robbie Findley, forward, 3 — Didn’t use his speed to stretch the Ghana back line which is pretty much his only job. Had a wonderful chance to tie it up in the first half, but struck the ball poorly by planting his left foot too far behind the ball. Not an acceptable mistake for a striker at this level.
Maurice Edu, midfield, 6 — Covered his area well and helped control the midfield with his play. His distribution left something to be desired but the team seemed to respond well to his presence.
Benny Feilhaber, forward, 7 — His touch and vision gave life to what was a flat U.S. attack. His composure on the ball helped keep the U.S. possession and had a near goal in the second half.
Herculez Gomez, 5 — Tried to get involved in the ball but was starved of service. Tracked back well and showed his desire to get the ball, but was never really a threat.