Redemption 2010: USA vs.Ghana

In a late twist of fate and ecstasy, the United States gallantly and finally slipped one through the posts on Wednesday and emphatically punched their ticket to World Cup 2010, 2nd round.

Dempsey buried this chance in the Yanks' 2006 Cup loss to the Black Stars...he'll need to be efficient on Saturday

Up next for the Yanks? The Ghana Black Stars, Africa’s last team remaining in the tournament and the United States slayer in the final group game in World Cup 2006.

Ghana, who most expected would wilt in a tough Group D without their midfield quarterback Michael Essien, did the exact opposite.

With a steely win over trendy final four pick Serbia in the opening round and a draw against an undermanned Australia side, Ghana strode into the final game against UEFA powerhouse Germany with the group lead and with group scenarios in their favor.

A 1-0 loss coupled with Australia’s narrow win over Serbia sent Ghana through to face the Group C-winning States.

Ghana deploy in a 4-1-4-1 with Asamoah Gyan, the lone striker, the key

Ghana employs a disciplined 4-1-4-1 formation that drops the fierce, but slight Anthony Annan–a more athletic Wilson Palacios or, better, a reincarnation of former England great Paul Ince–in the holding role traditionally held by Essien above an extremely seasoned defense.

How seasoned is the backline? From left to right it reads: John Paintsil, (a starter at Fulham in the EPL) John Mensah (formerly of Lyon and now shepherd of Sunderland’s defense), Jonathan Mensah (an extremely powerful and strong central defender who has stepped in for injured Isaac Vorheh) and finally Hans Sarpei (a shifty and sound player out of the Bundesliga).

Only Jonathan Mensah, no relation to John, is inexperienced, but he’s also candidate to start next year at Serie A side Udinese. He’s athletic and certainly no slouch–watch the Germany game.

The back four is smart, tough, athletic and by my review only cracks when having to face spurts of tough pressure against the run-of-play. Against Serbia, especially, the fundamentals and cover of the defense was…..exceptional.

Ghana is not to be trifled with in the air (Jonathan Menshah, #8)

The Black Stars like to control things ahead with Annan in their midfield. They’ll play the ball around looking for chances to serve up to striker Asamoah Gyan (we’ll talk about his impact shortly), who’s making a run against the grain of the opponent’s defense.

The midfield should have been a strength for Ghana, but Chelsea star (and my favorite soccer player) Michael Essien went down with a knee injury and volatile Inter Milan tracker Sulley Muntari has had a love-hate relationship with the team and coaching staff.

Muntari cursed the coaching staff after the Australia match, but was not Anelka’d back to the homeland. He’s, to date, been coming off the bench.

Of the remaining midfielders, the States face yet another Portsmouth player in Kevin Prince Boateng who made news recently for relegating Michael Ballack to crutches for the World Cup.

It’s up top where the Yanks will have to contend with the biggest goal threat in Asamoah Gyan, but they’ll have the inside track on him. Gyan also fronts Ligue 1 Rennes, Carlos Bocanegra’s club. Gyan is widely considered the next superstar from the Black Stars and with good reason. He’s strong on the ball, extremely smart with technical runs and goes hard to headers.

That said, Ghana hasn’t been able to score this World Cup from the run-of-play. Both goals that Ghana have are penalty kicks. Beyond Gyan, Ghana lacks offensive creativity in the midfield and is also almost too disciplined going forward to take a risk and create an opportunity.

Ghana attack: (Blue=ball movement, Ayew w/ball)

The Black Stars will try to move the ball using the flanks, but in a wholly different manner from the State’s last opponent, Algeria.

Ghana will ping the ball from Annan in the holding role out to one of their wide midfielders. That wide midfielder depending upon what the defense offers has multiple plays including carrying the ball. The ball carrier will typically look for: A run from Gyan traipsing diagonally across the defense, a lead pass to an interior midfielder down the line or an overlap from the defender depending the situation and tempo of the game.

Beyond this Ghana typically lack offensive industry and will work the ball out of the corners, predominantly with service into the box or, less frequently, to a trailing midfielder for a shot right outside the box.

Now, let’s continue with our customary TSG preview.

As usual, we go.

TSG What We’re Looking For.

11 At The Whistle

Disclaimers

TSG What We’re Looking For:

Findley, pivotal

• Can the Yanks get loose down the flanks?

With Pantsill and Sarpei pushing up high and making runs for the Black Stars, the best way to counter this is the Yanks’ celebrated counter flanker counter. I expect Robbie Findley to start again with Landon and Cherundolo on the right right and attack Ghana’s left flank where they originated most of their attacks against both Germany and Serbia.

The States, who will deploy in their 4-2-2-2 this game, will use Bradley, Donovan and Dempsey for carriage against the pressing Ghana defenders and hope to unlock their own diaganol runs from Altidore or Findley. That’s how to beat the Ghana defense.

The Yanks are going to need Findley to be better with his final ball in this one for sure.

Gyan: The next Super Black Star

• Where Gyan goes, you follow

A slight variation on the popular supporter’s group chant, huh?

There is no question that Asamoah Gyan is the space creator and catalyst for the entire Ghana offense. Gyan is a strong, swift and aggressive lone striker who will float in the center of the pitch and then lay off a pass for a midfield shot, make a diagonal run down the flank to open space or take a fly pattern between a central defender and a winger.

The Yanks must know where Gyan is at all times and, more importantly, always have a man responsible for him. Always.

The Yanks must make the skies unfriendley...

• The US defense must be ready to go aerial

Whether it’s a service piece in the box to strong and tall central defenders Mensah(s)   coming forward or to Gyan in the run-of-play, the Yanks will be tested in the air in the box more in this game than any other. DeMerit needs to have a mistake-free day and Oguchi Onyewu, with a little rest, should be ready for the advancing defenders for Ghana in the box.

• Convert your chances and seize the momentum

Ghana is weakest when they are defending an up-tempo game and unable to keep defensive shape. Both Germany and Australia preyed on this by taking their chances in bunches. The Yanks will need to seize these few momentum-based opportunities and bury their shot(s).

Expect to see Benny and/or Stu in this one...

• Calmness in the corners

Where the Yanks can get exposed is in their defensive third on a turnover–and needing to possess and move the ball beyond the halfline. Throwing a long ball up over top to Jozy Altidore won’t be as successful this game because Ghana are very strong defensively as well in the air.

For diehard Yanks’ fans, I unfortunately, take you back to the United States scattered approach to linking in their 3-1 loss to Denmark in a friendly in November. The Yanks were lacking calmness on the ball and not checking back to support the ball carrier. Of course, Frankie Hedjuk was the most victimized defender and he’s not in the 23.

That said–and you read it here–the Yanks will need to support their outside fullbacks and midfielders on the turnover or they might leave their defense hung out to dry on a counter.

11 At The Whistle

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: Howard and friends will be challenged in the air in this one. Will Howard’s recovery from the blow to the ribs make him reluctant to come out. Watch for Howard’s positioning–and marshalling of the defense–on vital set pieces into the box. This will be a key.

DEF: Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra

The skinny: Ghana is a limited offensive team that is swift, more than speedy. Many reports I’ve read label Ghana as fast and quick. The reality is that they move the ball methodically and will only play a break if it’s there.

Of bigger concern to the Yanks is staying disciplined and combatting aerial confrontations. That’s why I see Onyewu back in there–*if fit which no one really knows–and Boca sliding back out left.

MID: Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Clint Dempsey

The skinny: No changes here. Bob Bradley has not deployed Dempsey up top to start in a World Cup qualifier or World Cup preferring to use what appears to be a pre-meditated pattern of moving Dempsey up as necessary after the break.

This is definitely a game for Stu Holden and/or Benny Feilhaber, but I’m not sure I see either starting.

STR; Robbie Findley, Jozy Altidore

The skinny: I only see Altidore as a possible non-starter here if it’s deemed his tank is a little empty. But expect these starters.

Disclaimers

• The Yanks stick with their “Battle of Algiers” defense

Will Bornstein remain on the left side? A lot of this will depend on how often Bradley wants to get his outside backs forward and the health of Oguchi Onyewu–two things were not privy to at TSG.

Probability: 49%

• An early appearance for Benny or Stu?

I don’t expect either of these players to start, but I’m willing to bet that one or both will be introduced on the flank in this one–see “Calmness in the corners” bullet point from above

Probability: 75%

Pivotal player: Robbie Findley


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42 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paul on 2010/06/24 at 7:44 PM

    If Ghana is strong in the air, athletic and decently quick (certainly no Terrys here), why do we want to start Finley, whose speed will be neutralized by Ghana defensive size, smarts, and strength? Give these strengths, and, more importantly, the large defencies in Finley’s offensive game, does it really make sense to start Finley?

    If not, do we push Clint up front, or play five in the midfield? I think our 4-2-2-2 with Clint as a mid is our most potent attacking formation. So who starts next to Jozy? Put me down for Buddle or Gomez, with a disapointed sigh that Bob hasn’t brought along Ching. I just think Ching’s craft and guile, along with his physical play, might have been helpful to break down a tough Ghanaian defense. Another disapointment comes from Bob not playing experimenting enough with a 4-5-1–in this instance, it might be a good way to create offensive pressure; unfortuantely, when we do use the formation, usually the lone striker gets hung out to dry and is rarely utlized. More disapointment: this would have been a great game to get a well-tested Torres action; but, again, Bob has left Torres on the bench far too often for him to be a solid contributor for this game.

    Ghana-US: a game where penalties could provide the outcome. We will probably see a preponderance of US possession (maybe 55-45) negeated by a physical Ghanaian defense. Attacking with speed will be important, along with capitalizing on set pieces created from Ghanaian fouls on runs by Donovan, Dempsey, and others. Smart runs by Bradley are another underestimated source to break down Ghana.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:15 PM

      Paul – thanks for the comments – going to disagree with you here–my apologies.

      First–and unfortunately you can’t fit everything in a preview–Ghana play a very highline. Findley’s speed will be vital to creating space and keeping that line honest.
      (In fact, I’m amazed at how high a defensive line Ghana played against Serbia and Germany in some cases).

      On Ching — and I think England just learned this — speed is vital in the international game. It’s why they employed Defoe–finally– against Slovenia.

      With Jozy as Bob’s chosen target forward it was hard to take Ching.

      I think Bradley trailing a play that goes to the corner will be a good play by the States.

      Reply

      • Posted by Chris on 2010/06/25 at 5:44 AM

        That and Ching isn’t any good.

        Reply

        • Posted by Paul on 2010/06/25 at 9:24 PM

          I can understand wanting Finley on the pitch for speed. But what else does Finley bring to the pitch other than his speed? I can see long balls being lofted to Finley, with Finley getting swarmed and tackled by a crafty Ghanaian defense.

          Why Ching? I think his tactical awareness would have been helpful to help exploit our team speed. Beyond being able to hold the ball far better than Finley, he can move up into the midfield and play balls to a speeding midfielder, taking a defender with him and creating more space for our attacking player. Look at the games Ching has played with the US–which might be even more helpful against a team that plays a high defensive line. He is able to play well and draw defenders with him to expose far more space behind the midfield. Finley might be able to strech the defense or get the ball on runs behind; unfortunately, his inability to pass or beat defenders delimits the effectiveness of his play. Ching, on the other hand, could be paired with Jozy, who could play slightly in front of Ching to take advantage of quick balls from Ching and others.

          To me, I see both Ching and Finley as exploiting speed. The difference is the particular individuals being emphasized (our mids versus Finley), the fit into our team strengths (of Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley), and the most effective player if the US starts to play long ball. Chris: Ching may not appear to be a good player, but he is strong and has the abilities that are helpful for the US to play well. I think Bradley was unwise not to take our favorite Aloha state striker.

          Reply

  2. Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/24 at 7:46 PM

    I think your assessment is mostly spot on. As you point out, if fit, Onyewu seems like a lock in this matchup (though hopefully we get a european referee who won’t tolerate dives). I highly doubt Bornstein will play again. I still have to rewatch the game, but I only remember him completing one pass, and it was a long ball to Jozy that he had to chest down. Everything else I remember was a ball played out of bounds.

    I doubt Torres gets any action in this matchup, as Edu and his physicality also seem like the no-brainer choice. Honestly Edu didn’t play that great against Algeria IMO, but he appears to be the best choice here. Feilhaber complicates the issue because he had a decent outing, but I don’t think he has been in the game without Dempsey up top, and as you say Bradley has yet to start a game like that.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gomez start again though. Gomez and Findley have established themselves as the top two strikers, and neither has gone a full 90 yet. Regardless of who starts, they will both play. That being the case, if it were me i’d give Gomez the bulk of the minutes because he is actually capable of creating his own shot or poaching a goal while the scoreline is still level. Hard to argue against how fresh Findley’s legs probably are, though.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:17 PM

      I agree with you on Edu — I believe I gave him my lowest rating on the day against Algeria.

      I don’t think you’ll see a Gomez start here.. He was good against Algeria because they can get caught -1 in defense–hence Gomez the poacher.

      I think he’ll see late game action though.

      Reply

      • Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/24 at 9:07 PM

        Right on. I agree, Bradley will probably let Findley run them down for 60-65 minutes and then bring Gomez on. It’s just my personal opinion that Gomez has earned the chance to go for 70 minutes because he’s been nothing but positive on the field.

        Reply

  3. Really well-done. Speaking of aerial challenges, Australia had a great deal of success on set pieces against Ghana and Joshua Kennedy should have finished at last a pair in the second half. This might be a game where the U.S. need to find their goal on a set-piece, and it’s funny that all the goals have come from the run of play given the Yanks reputation as a fine set piece team. This is another reason I’m starting to flip and thinking Onyewu will start, rather than Bornstein, who was a bit tepid in the air Wednesday.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:03 PM

      Good point — I watched that Australia game twice — I’m lame…but I think most of it was when the Ghana defense facing a lot of momentum….I chalked it up to that, but, the States can certainly take some chances there.

      Reply

  4. Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/24 at 8:19 PM

    With Donovan clearly preferring the right recently, and Holden being a right-footed player whose cross is one of his best weapons, does it make it unlikely that he will be the choice off the bench.

    I mean he played against England, but didn’t really get a chance, and hasn’t seen the field since. I have to think that it’s just due to Donovan’s RM preference and that Bob then prefers others at LM over Stu.

    It’s disappointing since he seemed to be one of our biggest rising stars until the deJong assault (also since I bought his jersey). Any other ideas as to why we’ve seen so little of him (other than just obvious glut of outside midfielders)? Do you know if he has much experience on the left?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:23 PM

      I think Bradley is going with experience and reps as much as possible.

      I thought Stu was ahead of Benny in the depth chart but apparently not.

      It does appear that Benny is the offensive reliever when pushing Dempsey up and Holden is the defensive reliever.

      If the Yanks have the lead I would expect to see Stu before Benny. If the Yanks are pushing for a goal, it’s going to be Benny–although I’d rather see Stu there. Benny was “better” against Algeria, but Holden, to me, because of his speed in chasing a ball ahead of him is a better option.

      Reply

      • Posted by Bmill on 2010/06/24 at 9:12 PM

        seems to be all about versatility with his midfield subs. Edu coming in can play emergency back, benny can play inside or outside (thus the seemingly random start vs Turkey) which allows us to go into a more 4-3-3 ish lineup, then also DMB as a leftback/wingback/midfielder. Stewie seems to be a great option that has been sacrificed for versatility when needing to attack. What happens if we get a lead and want a defenisve/crossing option. does bobbo then put demps up for one more stroke of magic and put in Stewie?

        what do you think?

        Reply

      • Posted by DT on 2010/06/25 at 1:53 PM

        It’s a real shame that Holden gets no love from BB. He’s a better option than Benny off the bench, and in a game where you need to control the tempo and link midfield to attack carefully he’s a better pairing alongside a Bradley jr. than Edu.

        Reply

  5. Posted by aj on 2010/06/24 at 8:21 PM

    “A 1-0 loss coupled with Serbia’s narrow win over Australia sent Ghana through to face the Group C-winning States.”

    Australia beat Serbia.

    Reply

  6. Posted by aj on 2010/06/24 at 8:44 PM

    I don’t think Bornstein will start on the left even if Onyewu is still unfit. Considering the physicality of Prince Tagoe, Spector would seem the better option. He would also be better in the air than Bornstein.

    I would be pleasantly surprised if the US started as they did the second half against Algeria. It would set them up better against the Ghanain 3 man midfield with the withdrawn striker pressuring Annan, and I really don’t rate Findley.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:46 PM

      True on Spector in the air.

      On Tagoe…he cuts inside quite a bit and a lot of the run-of-play is away from his side so almost more important which CDM is over there.

      Reply

    • Posted by aj on 2010/06/24 at 8:47 PM

      PS: Don’t you think having Bocanegra in the center would be an advantage considering his knowledge and personal experience with Gyan?

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 8:50 PM

        I do, but I also think that–if fit–Onyewu’s presence is just as important.

        A colossal if..

        Also, I always write from the perspective of what Bob Bradley would do.

        If I was selecting line-ups somehow I would get Buddle in there earlier.

        Reply

        • Posted by aj on 2010/06/24 at 9:05 PM

          “Also, I always write from the perspective of what Bob Bradley would do.”
          sounds chilly, grim, and emotionless.

          It makes for interesting posts though.

          When you write, “Findley, pivotal,” do you actually believe it, or do you write it because you think it’s what Bob Bradley thinks?

          I always think, “Findley, hopefully not.” I hope he proves me wrong.

          Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 9:25 PM

          Good question – I wrote at the end of my “England: The Book on Bob Bradley” piece that Bradley looks at players as pawns — and Findley means “speed.”

          I feel the way….I just think at the the international level you have to have the physical attributes up top –if you’re not world class–to cause problems.

          Sure, i’ll Forlan, Messi, Torres, Villa, Van Persie whoever first…..but the US doesn’t have those guys so I’d rather have a guy who can cause problems with a physical attribute.

          I look at Findley this way….one of these days he’ll convert a play…but at least he’s in position to do it from his runs up the pitch.

          Reply

        • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/24 at 9:53 PM

          Gooch is OK. Check Wahl’s Twitter: his rest was a strategic move to set up future play.

          Reply

        • Posted by MJ on 2010/06/25 at 12:02 AM

          Okay, I’ll be the first to admit BB looks like an aged and retired Terminator model. But I’ve been somewhat, pleasantly surprised with how much emotion he’s been showing lately. His voice cracked talking after the Algeria win. And before they called our 1st goal back he was definitely in the middle of an “omg I’ve been stressing over this but it JUST WORKED OUT!” kind of expression. I almost get the impression that through qualifying he was emotionally biting his tongue, not daring to be vulnerable in his hope. But now when we score he has this look like a kid watching pieces of his dream come true. It’s really kind of endearing.

          Reply

  7. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/24 at 9:51 PM

    Before anyone gets too impressed with the Ghana centerbacks, watch the Aussie match.

    If they play like that, we win 3-0 easy…

    I think this may be the time to give Dempsey 45 minutes off. Bob has been pretty thorough in giving everyone time, and Stu’s the last midfielder left.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/24 at 9:56 PM

      I wrote in the post that the defense is creaky when the opponent is pressing with the run-of-play — the Aussie game is the example from the World Cup — as is the Ivory Coast game from the Africa’s Cup.

      I would face Slovenia or Algeria’s defense again before Ghana’s.

      Reply

      • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/24 at 10:06 PM

        It seems to me that the defensive organization and support is good (helped by their not-too-ambitious posture), but the individuals can be had.

        Given that we’ve never been shut out when starting Donovan and Dempsey in midfield, I’m honestly more worried about *our* defense.

        Reply

  8. Posted by yo on 2010/06/25 at 1:13 AM

    Most annoying player of this game will be Kwadwo Asamoah. You cant go within 10 yards of this guy without him rolling around. And if Ghana has the lead going into the 75th min, get ready for the imaginary cramps.

    Reply

  9. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/06/25 at 6:08 AM

    hopefully the usa and coach bradley are thinking defense for this ghana game. lets not let ghana score a goal and we will be alright. i just dont here enough talk about defense, and im talking total team defense. this game is going to matchup prince boateng and junior bradley. that is the matchup to look out for. usa need to think defense first. such great spot for the 4-5-1. ghana will not expect altidore to be on the bench and ghana will not be able to handle the subs usa can throw at her. not to mention this lineup is more than capable of scoring goals. and we only need one goal, just dont give up any.

    ——————————————–howard—————————————————-
    —–lil stevie———–demerit————-gooch——————–boca—————–
    ————————–junior—————-edu———————————–
    ——-donovan——————feilhaber——————dmb————-
    ——————————–dempsey——————————

    Reply

    • This is total madness. Ghana would be delighted to find Altidore on the bench. Someday that kid is going to start scoring and then it’s time to be afraid. Now that DMB made the 23 he’s back to pimping his diamond business full-time.

      Ghana plays a very high line, so we need a threat to get behind. Dempsey on his own up top? I think it’s indicative of Bob’s thinking that he only had 15 minutes up there against Algeria before Buddle was brought on. Dempsey seems to be more and more a left-sided midfielder in Bob’s thinking.

      Reply

    • Posted by FulhamPete on 2010/06/25 at 7:06 AM

      Did Steve Sampson rear his head?
      A 4-6-0? (please no flame, I DO see the formation, just wary of playing 6 positional MFers. Heh)
      I think Bradley sticks to his guns with what is turning out to be a VERY flexible 4-4-2 that he can change into a 5-5-0 or a 4-3-3 in a heartbeat with the flexibility of Edu, Beas, CD8, LMFD, Boca & Jr.

      In fact I think this flexibility has emerged as not just a strength of the team, but one of revelations of the tournament. That the USA, and Dad, are tactically one of the best teams in the tournament. That can change their look on the fly, with or without a sub, to adapt to their opponent and/or score situation.

      Reply

      • LMFD – I like it, but I still think ‘Cakes is a little more badass because it takes the old sissy name and makes it badass. Maybe I should get LMFD on my new #10 shirt, or possibly Cakes.

        Reply

  10. Posted by T-Muck on 2010/06/25 at 6:25 AM

    Can Howard’s recently found arm cannon become a serious part of our counter attack strategy? Furthermore, are Ghana prone to getting caught forward a bit too much?

    I haven’t had a chance to watch any of the Ghana games, apparently you’re supposed to do work when you’re at work during the World Cup and not watch soccer all day.

    Reply

  11. Posted by d on 2010/06/25 at 7:50 AM

    How do we feel about Holden on the left as part of a 4-1-1-3-1? Ghana seemed to work the right side so hard against Germany that I’d expect the same against us. Would be nice to have an outlet that’s useful with the ball at his feet. Could start Dempsey as a SS/AM behind Jozy, obviously.

    Reply

  12. Posted by DanPA on 2010/06/25 at 8:19 AM

    Unless Ghana come out with some tactical surprise and really push forward, I think the key for our defense is going to be not getting beat individually. Ghana appeared to favor creating dangerous attacks by having the 4 midfielders behind Gyan trying to break defenders down 1 v 1 (at least in the 2 group games i watched, Serbia & Ger). As you point out, most of their midfield passing is generally low risk-low reward passes with the end result being Gyan or one of the midfielders trying to beat a defender around the top of the box or to the end line in a narrow position.

    That said, Bradley/Edu (although Clark is a possiblity) will have to be disciplined in closing down space as Ghana moves the ball around the midfield, central defenders will have to be very keen positionally to help/discourage 1 v 1 breakdowns while tracking Gyan, and we will have to score at least 3 to win if Bornstein starts.

    Reply

  13. Great insight Matt

    Wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on how to man-mark Gyan and how to put consistent pressure on Annan. Both of these situations as you pointed out will take team D.

    As far as Gyan I assume Demerit will mainly be tasked but he will be switched off to whomever is closest (Onyewu, Boca, etc.) so as to maintain form in the backline. I think this means Onyewu and Demerit will stay back with Gyan which leads into the second point….

    If Edu is then tasked with shutting down anyone in the space above the CB’s (i.e. Asamoah and to some extent Boateng) then Bradley will be pinballing between Annan and Boateng (with the majority of the time spent harrasing Annan if things are going our way. The question is how far does Donovan come in to help shut down the lane between Sarpei and Boateng?
    Followup question: Is Findley tasked with coming back to put pressure on Annan if both MB and Edu are in a farther back postion at some point during the game? How often should Findley push back to provide that pressure if he is also suppose to stretch and hold the Ghanian backline from coming to far up? When should Altidore be dropping back?

    Obviously we want to avoid the 2 vs. 3 CM situation in order to win the center battle. It seems like this game will be won if we can pressure and harrass Annan. Depending on the side the ball is on I see Demps or Donovan moving inward for support a little bit without sacrificing the width too much. MB is ready and I have full faith in his abilities should be a fierce competitive game.

    http://shinguardian.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/ghana_1.png

    Reply

  14. Great insight and comments

    Wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on how to man-mark Gyan and how to put consistent pressure on Annan. Both of these situations as you pointed out will take team D.

    As far as Gyan I assume Demerit will mainly be tasked but he will be switched off to whomever is closest (Onyewu, Boca, etc.) so as to maintain form in the back-line. I think this means Onyewu and Demerit will stay relatively back with Gyan/step up on Boateng or Asamoah when they pose a threat. which leads into the second point….

    If Edu is then tasked with shutting down anyone in the space above the CB’s (i.e. Asamoah and to some extent Boateng) then Bradley will be pin-balling between Annan and Boateng (with the majority of the time spent harassing Annan if things are going our way. The question is how far does Donovan come in to help shut down the lane between Sarpei and Boateng?
    Followup question: Is Findley tasked with coming back to put pressure on Annan if both MB and Edu are in a farther back position at some point during the game? How often should Findley push back to provide that pressure if he is also suppose to stretch and hold the Ghanian backline from coming to far up? When should Altidore be dropping back?

    Obviously we want to avoid the 2 vs. 3 CM situation in order to win the center battle. It seems like this game will be won if we can pressure and harass Annan. Depending on the side the ball is on I see Demps or Donovan moving inward for support (a little bit) without sacrificing the width too much. MB is ready and I have full faith in his abilities should be a fierce competitive game.

    http://shinguardian.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/ghana_1.png

    Reply

  15. Posted by John on 2010/06/25 at 11:34 AM

    Am I the only one who thinks that Rico starts?

    Reply

  16. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/06/25 at 11:50 AM

    is everyone of the mind that the usa wants to advance far in this event. for me, the second round is not enough. sure we can be glad to have gotten out of the group and it was great drama, to be remebered for many years. i cant speak for everyone, but i want usa going to the finals, then i will be happy. going to the finals and winning, whats the point otherwise. usa have four more games to go. this game against ghana is one game.

    is jozy going to play against ghana? of course he is. does he have to start? can people believe that usa has so much talent, that it is not out of the question to sit altidore. be it for rest, or for a tactical change. usa can beat ghana with altidore, or with him on the bench. feilhaber has been the key in the last couple of games. feilhaber and edu, once those two players get on the pitch, usa becomes a different team. once usa runs its gameplan through feilhaber, this team becomes very dangerous. i want altidore in there, but more than that, i want altidore running on all cylnders for the whole event.

    put a smart team on the pitch against ghana, a smart team with some pace and the ability to play good team defense. this is team that will absolutly destroy ghana. two strikers can beat ghana also, but jesus, everyone sounds like they are talking offense and as if this is the usa team from 18 months ago. this usa team does not have to worry about getting goals. when a team has two defensive mids scoring goals, that is a team that does not have to worry about goals, its giving up goals, that this team needs to worry about. be they from the run of play, or off of a PK. dont give up a goal to ghana and usa wins, plan and simple.

    Reply

  17. Posted by dikranovich on 2010/06/25 at 11:50 AM

    is everyone of the mind that the usa wants to advance far in this event. for me, the second round is not enough. sure we can be glad to have gotten out of the group and it was great drama, to be remebered for many years. i cant speak for everyone, but i want usa going to the finals, then i will be happy. going to the finals and winning, whats the point otherwise. usa have four more games to go. this game against ghana is one game.

    is jozy going to play against ghana? of course he is. does he have to start? can people believe that usa has so much talent, that it is not out of the question to sit altidore. be it for rest, or for a tactical change. usa can beat ghana with altidore, or with him on the bench. feilhaber has been the key in the last couple of games. feilhaber and edu, once those two players get on the pitch, usa becomes a different team. once usa runs its gameplan through feilhaber, this team becomes very dangerous. i want altidore in there, but more than that, i want altidore running on all cylnders for the whole event.

    put a smart team on the pitch against ghana, a smart team with some pace and the ability to play good team defense. this is team that will absolutly destroy ghana. two strikers can beat ghana also, but jesus, everyone sounds like they are talking offense and as if this is the usa team from 18 months ago. this usa team does not have to worry about getting goals. when a team has two defensive mids scoring goals, that is a team that does not have to worry about goals, its giving up goals, that this team needs to worry about. be they from the run of play, or off of a PK.

    Reply

  18. [...] Redemption 2010: USA vs.Ghana In a late twist of fate and ecstasy, the United States gallantly and finally slipped one through the posts on Wednesday [...] [...]

    Reply

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