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USA vs. Ghana: A Look Ahead (& Who should start for USA?)

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With the Group Stage behind them, the U.S. men's national team can now focus on trying to make a dream run to the World Cup final a year after making a dream run to the Confederations Cup Final.

Standing in the way at the first knockout round hurdle is Ghana, which happens to be the same team that eliminated the United States in the 2006 World Cup. This time around, both the USA and Ghana are better teams, but we won't know until Saturday whether the Americans have truly closed the gap on the 'Black Stars'.

Ghana comes in having finished second in Group D to Germany, with a stingy defense and an offense that has managed just two goals from the penalty spot.

You will be able to find my preview on the match, as well as a feature on Jozy Altidore, later today on For now, here are Five Keys to USA-Ghana.

One key to the match will be what lineup Bob Bradley decides to trot out against Ghana. Here is a lineup I could see the Americans using on Saturday in Rustenberg:

USA Projected Lineup vs. Ghana





Why this lineup? The Americans don't want to lose the possession battle and this could be the best lineup to keep that from happening. Dempsey can slide between second striker and attacking midfielder, giving the Americans a third man in the middle at times. Moving Dempsey up allows Bradley to start Feilhaber, who has been solid in his two recent substitute appearances.

Now, if Bradley decides he's got enough faith in Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu or Ricardo Clark to handle themselves against Ghana's three-man central midfield, and he wants to start out attacking as the USA has the past two matches, we could see this lineup:





This might actually be the more likely lineup, with Findley working hard to pressure the Ghana back-line with his speed, while also dropping back to support the midfielders when he can.

These lineups are obviously contingent on Oguchi Onyewu being healthy and ready to play. Onyewu is said to be at around 90 to 95 percent so he should start, meaning Jonathan Bornstein goes back to the bench after an admirable performance against Algeria.

What lineup would you like to see against Ghana? Do you like the USA's chances of exacting revenge for 2006?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. St. Addi is completely right. If your a bornstein fan I dont know whats wrong with you! really hope he doesnt play!!! the holland game is not the only time he has played horribly…obviosly u dont watch all the games MC Pharoah.

  2. You guys are ridiculous.

    FIFA wouldn’t allow Wolverine to play for the US because he wouldn’t have any papers to prove his eligibility.

    Now if he could get Professor Xavier to vouch for him them maybe that issue goes away.

  3. Bornstein is, as another poster noted, in over his head on the international level. He was okay in the Algeria game, but a technically superior opponent would have burned us badly with him as an outside back.

    Bornstein’s role should normally be restricted to late game sub — starting him against any of the teams we are likely to play would be a big roll of the dice.

  4. findley has a horrible first touch. he’s only good for running down through balls and it’s questionable if he can get a service in across the middle. at best, you’re hoping for a corner kick.

    dempsey up top is a great idea but i don’t think i trust fielhaber enough for 90 minutes. I say bring him on at the half. His pace is great and gives the US a needed jolt when it needs it.

    As for what to do if you don’t use Findley up top. well I’d start Gomez. Ghana’s achilles heel is still their organization (or lack thereof). while they’ve been better about it this tournament it’s mostly because they’ll double the wingers when they get the ball wide and force a reverse pass. they do a good job of clogging up the passing lanes on the outside. with that said they’re susceptible to diagonal runs through the middle and gomez’s savvy positioning will be important for creating space for his teammates to make a play. If Gomez isn’t doing anything, I say sub him out for Fielhaber at the half and move Dempsey up top. Dempsey’s the only American who has a striker’s instinct.

    As for Gooch well he should stay on the bench unless Ghana’s immense striker proves too great a leaper for Bocanegra and Demerit. I think Demerit has a good shot at a great game in this one.


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