It took just 19 minutes for Dom Dwyer to make his first U.S. Men’s National Team impression, and it was a strong one in what ended up being a confidence-boosting win ahead of the Gold Cup.
Dwyer joined Kellyn Acosta on the scoresheet on Saturday at Rentschler Field as the USMNT topped Ghana, 2-1, in a pre- Gold Cup friendly. Three of the four new faces made appearances as Dwyer, Kenny Saief and Kelyn Rowe made their first USMNT appearances.
The USMNT had the better of the play early with Dwyer proving dangerous in his debut, and it paid off in the 19th minute. Jorge Villafana’s defensive effort helped win the ball in the final third and the USMNT fullback moved the ball to Corona at the top of the box. The ensuing shot bounced right off Villafana and into the air, and Dwyer pounced to volley home a goal in his USMNT debut.
The second half began with a bang as Acosta smashed home a free kick to double the U.S. advantage. After drawing a foul next to the top of the box, Acosta finished off his own sequence by smashing a shot past the wall and into the far post for 2-0.
Moments after Dwyer’s opener, the Sporting KC forward was dragged down by Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori with a foul that could have easily drawn a red card, but referee Ismael Cornejo showed Ofori a yellow to keep the friendly level. On the other end, though, Cornejo made a big decision late in the first half as Villafana was called for a foul in the box, earning the Black Stars a penalty kick.
Asamoah Gyan, a very familiar face in USMNT circles, stepped up to the spot, but the veteran forward’s shot was saved by Brad Guzan on the final kick of the first half.
Acosta’s finish started the second half strong for the USMNT before Dwyer nearly added another in the 58th minute. His initial shot was saved by Ofori before the rebound was cleared out to end the sequence. Less than two minutes later, Ghana was back in the match as Gyan smashed home a free kick that left Guzan helpless.
The second half calmed down a bit following Gyan’s stunner, save for one strong Guzan denial. Alejandro Bedoya also generated a chance late, but saw his close-range header parried away by Ofori.
Now, the focus turns towards the Gold Cup as the U.S. returns to Nashville to face off with Panama in their tournament opener next Saturday.