USA vs. Ghana: Matchday Commentary

USA vs. Ghana: Matchday Commentary

U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. Ghana: Matchday Commentary

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Us-soccer-fed1Ghana Crest

The U.S. men's national team looks to reach the World CUp quarterfinals for the second time in three World Cups today by beating Ghana in their second round match in Rustenberg, South Africa today (2:30pm, ABC).

The Americans come in having won Group C, while Ghana comes in having finished second in Group D to Germany.

The battle is a rematch of Ghana's World Cup victory against the United States in 2006, the match that knocked the Americans out of the 2006 World Cup.

I will be providing commentary before and throughout the match, so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– That's all for me. Please share your post-game thoughts in the comments section below, and be sure to follow my post-match coverage on FoxSoccer.com, as well as SBI's post-match coverage. Thanks for joining us. 

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FINAL– The final African team left in this World Cup is still alive, but the United States is going home after a thrilling, exciting and at times heart-stopping ride through the World Cup. 

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FINAL– The U.S. men's national team has nothing to be ashamed of. They played with heart throughout this tournament, and they'll consider this a missed opportunity, but they also showed incredible strength and heart to keep fighting back throughout this tournament.

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FINAL– Ghana 2, USA 1. The Americans fought bravely, but in the end, they dug one too many holes for themselves. Also, Ghana made a special play in a game where one was likely to decide the outcome.

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122nd Minute– Dempsey's header is wide. Last minute?

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121st Minute– Two minutes left.

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120th Minute– Corner is punched away. Three minutes of added time left.

DeMerit GOES HIGH. Wow.

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120th Minute– Dempsey's shot is blocked. Last minute.

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119th Minute– Donovan with a bad turnover. Ghana can smell it now.

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119th Minute– Two minutes left.

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116th Minute– Ball headed back to Kingson, looked dangerous for a sec, but nope. Ghana heading the other way now. Ghana corner.

Clock is ticking.

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115th Minute– Ghana clears away the danger. Five minutes left.

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114th Minute– USA corner kick

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113th Minute– Muntari is coming in for Inkoom.

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112th Minute– Sulley Muntari is getting ready to come into the match. Inkoom getting stretchered off. You hope the ref has stopped the clock. And like magic, Inkoom is okay after he is on the sideline.

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111th Minute– Here comes Ghana with the play-acting. This is just pathetic.

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110th Minute– Dangerous ball from DOnovan is punched away by Kingson.

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109th Minute– Bornstein draws a dangerous free kick outside the area. Donovan to take.

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107th Minute– Here we go again. Just play Ghana, no need to milk injuries again.

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106th Minute– USA will switch to a 3-5-2, with Cherundolo pushing forward into a wing role.

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OVERTIME HALFTIME– GHana 2, USA 1. The Americans have 15 minutes left in their World Cup.  

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105th Minute– One minute additional time in this overtime half.

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103rd Minute– Ghana is knocking it around now, content to keep possession. USA gets it back, but Donovan commits an uncharacteristic turnover.

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101st Minute– The U.S. attack doesn't look to have much left. Not seeing any passes being strung together. It will take a special play from somebody, but who has anything left?

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99th Minute– 20 minutes left. Can somebody step up for the USA? Don't see anybody really pressing the issue. Gomez does look lively though.

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97th Minute– Short corner is in the danger area but Kingson gets his hands to it.

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96th Minute– Did I speak too soon about the faking of injuries? Oh boy.

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95th Minute– They've got 25 minutes left to make something happen. Can they possibly have anything left to comeback yet again?

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94th Minute– Gyan got the better of club teammate Carlos Bocanegra that time, great finish.

Do the Americans have ANOTHER comeback in them?

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93rd Minute- GOAL GHANA!!!!!!!!!!!! And it's Asamoah Gyan with the finish. What a blast. Ghana 2, USA 1

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92nd Minute– Gomez's fresh legs should help up top, but will he get service?

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91st Minute– Overtime is underway.

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END OF REGULATION– If you're following the commentary, please let me know. We're in for a crazy 30 minutes.

Herculez Gomez has come in for Jozy altidore.

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END OF REGULATION– Who's got something left? Which team has more in the tank? Which team wants this more? Who will make a special play? Who can find the goal?

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END OF REGULATION– USA 1, Ghana 1. We are headed for overtime. Five minute break, two 15-minute halves. No golden goal. 

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93rd Minute– Ghana corner.

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92nd Minute– Ayew gets a yellow for a foul on Altidore. Actually, Altidore sold that one, or just tripped over himself. Unfortunate for Ayew, who will miss the next match now.

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91st Minute– Three minutes of added time.

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90th Minute– Player down for Ghana. It's Gyan, who took a kick to the stomach from DeMerit as DeMerit was in the air.

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88th Minute– Dempsey is putting in some serious work off the ball. You can't see that sort of stuff on TV but he is hustling his ass off.

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86th Minute– Not much time left in regulation. Neither team is combining well. Fatigue setting in?

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85th Minute– One thing I will say about this Ghana team is that it doesn't dive and fake injuries and do the stuff the 2006 team did. They deserve credit for cleaning that up.

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84th Minute– It's going to take a good shot to beat Kingson tonight. Who has one in them?

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83rd Minute– Dempsey draws a foul from about 35 yards out. Free kick for Dempsey.

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82nd Minute– Altidore OH SO CLOSE!!! But his chance goes just wide.

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80th Minute– Yes, Appiah scored the game-winning penalty against the USA four years ago at the 2006 World Cup. Hopefully no phantom PK calls tonight.

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78th Minute– Stephen Appiah comes in for Boateng. Losing Boateng hurts, but bringing on a player like Appiah doesn't hurt.

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77th Minute– SAVE Kingson, stops a Bradley shot, wasn't very hard, but right at Kingson from 17.

Boateng looks to have a hamstring injury. That would be a big loss for Ghana.

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75th Minute– With overtime a possibility, will Bradley hold his final sub a while longer? Nobody looks to be coming in soon. No need at this point.

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74th Minute– Lee Addy for Hans Sarpei. Defender for Defender.

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73rd Minute– Mensah elbows Altidore in the face, gets the foul call but no card.

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71st Minute– Thought Kingson might be a liability tonight. He's arguably Ghana's best player tonight.

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70th Minute– Bornstein has been great tonight. Growing with confidence?

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69th Minute– Ghana looks to be getting a sub ready.

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67th Minute– Great play by Kingson to come out and challenge Altidore, who made a great run.

Bocanegra with a yellow card for a foul on Gyan. His club teammate asks for a card for Bocanegra and gets it. Free kick Ghana from 45.

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66th Minute– This is the third time this World Cup the USA has come back from behind. Can they score their first comeback win?

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65th Minute– USA isn't getting another big call this game so they can't complain about fouls anymore. It was a legit PK, but you know the ref will give some more leeway next time.

Can the USA keep the pressure on?

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63rd Minute– USA 1, Ghana 1. We are tied and we've got a game now folks.

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62nd Minute– GOAL USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Donovan Converts it. WE ARE TIED!!!!

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60th Minute– PENALTY!!!! Ghana commit a foul on Dempsey. USA with a PK!!

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59th Minute– Ghana with a foul, but it looked like a foul in the area. WOW, Jonathan Mensah absolutely fouled Feilhaber in the area, but no call.

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58th Minute– Great job by DeMerit to kick away a potential goal for Ghana with a block of a dangerous ball in.

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58th Minute– Boateng gets his money's worth on tackles. I could see him coming in late and getting a red, but truth be told, he's had a great game.

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56th Minute– USA must do better on second balls. Another foul against Ghana, still no cards.

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53rd Minute– Better from the Americans. Feilhaber looks good since coming in.

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52nd Minute– Who will find the equalizer? More importantly, can the defense keep it at 1-0? Ghana looks content to pick its spots on the counter, but will let USA have more of the ball. Can the Americans take advantage?

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50th Minute– USA must have some patience. They're looking better, but they can't rush things in the final third.

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48th Minute– If Ghana sits back and defends, the Americans will find a goal. The USA already looks more confident this half.

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47th Minute– SAVE KINGSON, stops a shot from Feilhaber. Great save from close range. Great pass from Altidore to set up Feilhaber's shot.

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46th Minute– We're back. 

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HALFTIME– Feilhaber for Findley will be the substitution. 

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HALFTIME– Benny Feilhaber is coming in at halftime again. Probably for Findley, with Dempsey moving up. Why not just start with that lineup? 

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HALFTIME– What changes could we see? Herculez Gomez for Findley is one I'd like to see. I can't see Bradley using his last two subs at halftime so I doubt he puts two new players in. I think he saves one. If he uses a second, I could see Holden for Bornstein perhaps. Definitely an attacking sub with the final bullet.

Looking at the first-half highlights a few things stand out:

Clark picked an awful time to try and dribble out of pressure rather than passing. He had Bradley behind him waiting for a pass then turned it over into an empty channel where Boateng was all alone.

The goal itself was a great finish by Boateng. Youd' like to see him fouled further back but he outraced Clark and kept DeMerit on his heels with a nice move during his sprint.

Findley took entirely too long to set up his shot in the area, which gave Kingson all day to set up.

Some players look tired today. Donovan and Dempsey and Altidore could be onj fumes after two full-tilt matches against Slovenia and Algeria. Do they have enough energy? They'll have to muster some.

Bocanegra has done a solid job on Gyan, but DeMerit has had his nervy moments.

Ghana's coach barely blinked on Boateng's goal. He knows this one is far from over.

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HALFTIME– Ghana 1, USA 0. Tell you what, Ghana came in here with no fear while the USA came in timid. Ricardo Clark is the goat right now because he was the least prepared, but it wasn't as if his teammates were lighting it up either.

This will be the toughest of the USA's comeback attempts because Ghana is confident, athletic, fast and strong defensively. 

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45th Minute– One minute of added time.

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44th Minute– USA looking to just get into halftime down 1-0. We'll likely see one change at half, Robbie Findley, who's been disappointing to say the least.

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42nd Minute– Americans have calmed down since Edu came in. Now they just need to put some chances on Kingson, and better ones than the one Findley took.

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40th Minute– USA needs to put some pressure on here.

Asamoah is ready to come back in.

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39th Minute– SAVE HOWARD!!!!!!!! Crucial kick save. Wow.

Asamoah is really hurt. Looks like Bocanegra rolled his ankle.

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37th Minute– Referee has yet to give a card to a Ghana player, though he's had some chances to.

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35th Minute– SAVE KINGSON! Findley was in on goal and his shot was saved. He MUST do better there. Good kick-save by Kingson, but a top forward buries that.

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34th Minute– Edu draws a foul on Boateng, but no card for Boateng. You can see Edu's composure already.

Ghana's still looking to counter at every turn. They're not happy with the one-goal lead.

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31st Minute– Edu comes in for Clark and Bob Bradley gives him a hug and some words of Encouragement. Clark knows he played badly, Bradley tried to console him.

Now, will the Americans be able to calm down and take control?

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30th Minute– Clark is chasing the game rather than reading the game. His head is shot right now.

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29th Minute– Save Howard, stops a long-range shot from Boateng, who has been the best player on the field.

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28th Minute– Here comes Maurice Edu. Coming in for Clark I would imagine.

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27th Minute– USA must keep it at 1-0. I can't see Ghana keeping this pace of pressure up for 90 minutes. The question is can the United States stay composed.

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26th Minute– Ghana puts 10 behind the ball, but they're super quick on the counter. Ghana corner.

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24th Minute– And just as I say that, Maurice Edu starts to warm up. He's the only American doing so.

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23rd Minute– Bradley sends a hard cross in from close that Kingson gets his hands to. Americans need more of that.

Clark with another foul. He must be careful and Bob Bradley must get Maurice Edu ready.

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21st Minute– Ghana is applying heavy pressure and the Americans need to pass out of it. When they try to dribble out of it they get into trouble.

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20th Minute– Altidore is hurt. He looks to have hurt his left thigh. He's trying to shake it off. This could be trouble.

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18th Minute– SAVE HOWARD. A key punchaway off a Ghana free kick.

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17th Minute– Cherundolo takes down Boateng, and gets a yellow card. He will miss the next match for the USA if the Americans win today. He had to take that one because Boateng was racing in at the goal.

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14th Minute– Ghana was supposed to be the defensive team, but they're going right at the USA. Americans are on their heels.

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12th Minute– Ghana is playing with confidence and you can't blame them. They came out more aggressive and were rewarded. Disappointing from the USA early, and it's not just Clark.

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9th Minute– Plenty of time left for the Americans, but Clark needs to get his head in this game.

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8th Minute– Clark gets a yellow for a foul and he's off to a shocking start. Plenty of questions will be asked about Bob Bradley's decision to start him.

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6th Minute– USA with another slow start and it's Clark with another early blunder, much as he committed against England in this same stadium two weeks ago.

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5th Minute– GOAL GHANA! And it's Kevin Prince Boateng with the finish. An ugly turnover by Ricardo Clark gifts Ghana the early lead. WOW.

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3rd Minute– Donovan is on the right and Dempsey is on the left. Dempsey will see a lot of Fulham teammate John Pantsil.

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2nd Minute– Donovan with an early cross, but nobody's in the six.

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1st Minute– We're underway.

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PRE-GAME– Revenge in Rustenberg. Will it happen?

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PRE-GAME– If you're following along today, please let me know in the comments section. Today should be a great day and a great match.

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PRE-GAME– Anthems are done, and I'll tell you what. American fans aren't being overwhelmed. USA fans are out in force tonight.

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PRE-GAME– Will Jozy Altidore find his first World Cup goal? Will Clint Dempsey recapture his scoring touch? What can Landon Donovan do for an encore?

We're close to finding out.

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PRE-GAME– FIFA had Ghana in a 5-4-1, but expect this:

——————-Gyan——————–

————————-Boateng————-

Ayew————Asamoah———–Inkoom

——————–Annan——————–

Sarpei——Mensah—Jonathan—Pantsil

——————-Kingson——————

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PRE-GAME– There is smoke billowing above the stadium. No, it isn't from fireworks, it's from nearby fires that are set to clear away brush. There are ALWAYS fires everywhere you turn in South AFrica, at least away from the major cities and where there are swaths of tall grass.

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PRE-GAME– I'm coming to you from inside Royal Bafokeng Stadium and we're about 35 minutes from kickoff. The place hasn't filled out yet but I can tell you there are plenty of American fans here already. Funny enough, there are a bunch of England fans here. Seems as though they thought that England would win Group C. So much for that.

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PRE-GAME– Okay folks, I'm heading up to my seat in the stadium. I'll be back on shortly.

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PRE-GAME– Kevin Prince Boateng is a player to worry about, and Ricardo Clark will be tasked with trying to make sure Boateng doesn't get too much attacking freedom.

Can Michael Bradley win the battle against the likes of Anthony Annan and Kwadwo Asamoah in midfield? You can bet that Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will be tucking in quite a bit to help win that battle. Donovan may also need to float centrally to find room to operate if Ghana's lineup is really that geared toward stopping him.

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PRE-GAME– Ghana is clearly worried about Landon Donovan, with natural right backs John Pantsil and Samuel Inkoom both in the lineup. One of them will play in a wing midfield role. That works out for Jonathan Bornstein, who will have less of an attacking threat coming at him. We'll see if this is how it plays out when the game starts.

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PRE-GAME– Here is Ghana's lineup:

——————-Gyan——————–

————————-Boateng————-

Ayew————Asamoah———–Inkoom

——————–Annan——————–

Sarpei——Mensah—Jonathan—Pantsil

——————-Kingson——————

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PRE-GAME– Bob Bradley sticks with the same back four that faced and shut out Algeria. Bornstein gets the call again, while Carlos Bocanegra will face off against club teammate Asamoah Gyan. They're teammates at Stade Rennes.

The story with Oguchi Onyewu? his knee must not be strong enough at this point for him to play and play well.

Findley's speed returns to the lineup, but can he finish off the plays he failed to earlier in the tournament?

Ricardo Clark returns for the first time since the England game. He'll be called on to try and contain Ghana's attack

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PRE-GAME– Here is the USA lineup:

——————Altidore——–Findley—————–

Dempsey—————————————–Donovan

——————–Bradley—-Clark———————-

Bornstein——Bocanegra—–DeMerit——Cherundolo

————————-Howard—————————–

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