USA - Ghana: Positional breakdown

Americans should continue Cup run past Black Stars


 

 

What else can be said about Tim Howard? Let's fawn over the way he talks to his defense. There is no confusion as to what he wants, and the way he roars, nobody is going to reject him.

GOALKEEPING

 

Wigan netminder Richard Kingson is all about excitement. He can be a cold-blooded shot stopper, but he also has a habit for the silly error, as we saw against Australia.

Things have been largely quiet around Carlos Bocanegra in two slots. It remains to be seen which one he takes up versus Ghana. Jay DeMerit has had slow starts in all three games, but rallied well each time. Steve Cherundolo has been thoroughly outstanding.

DEFENDERS

The back right are familiar faces; wingback John Pantsil (Dempsey's Fulham mate) and John Mensah faced the U.S. four years ago. Lefties Lee Addy, who's stepped in for Isaac Vorsah, and Bundesliga veteran Hans Sarpei have been solid.

Another huge match, another chance for Michael Bradley to shine. The play of his central partners has been hot and cold. Attackers Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan have three goals combined, and have actually deserved a few more.

MIDFIELDERS

Traffic director Anthony Annan and seam-searcher Kevin-Prince Boateng have impressed. Left winger Andre Ayew (son of Abidi Pele) and bookend Prince Tagoe are a handful even when not producing goals.

Jozy Altidore has shown persistence and then downright bullishness, sometimes willing the U.S. attack to life - but he hasn't scored yet. His mates have each had their moments in build, but no goals.

FORWARDS


Asamoah Gyan is one of the streakiest forwards in Europe. Carlos Bocanegra should be able to clue in the US backline on the striker, as they are Rennes teammates.

Like Frankie Blue Eyes, Bob Bradley has done it his way. The first
American manager to get a swell European job? Don't laugh. People notice
how hard this team plays for each other.

MANAGER

Milovan Rajevac is seven years older than the U.S. boss, but has bit less of a résumé. The Serbian was actually second choice back in 2008, but his precise tactical work has him very popular in Ghana.

Ball control midfielder Benny Feilhaber has played quite well in relief. The bench forwards are still in search of a star moment, but capable. Versatile reserves Stuart Holden and Jonathan Spector have hardly been used so far.

BENCH

There are some very useful game-turners here. Captain Steven Appiah is one of the best two-way midfielders around when the mood suits him. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie is a lightning winger and Matthew Amoah is a wily forward the US remember from 2006.
Thanks to hard work, a happy draw and a little justice, the 'Nats find themselves in a great position to run deep. Job one has been done and they are now loose in candyland. For better or worse, they often look best when under duress.

OVERALL

Ghana are not the most potent offensive team, but they aren't meant to be. Like the Americans, they are built to play smart and use speed in transition. They are also going to be the last African flag carrier, which could give them extra purpose.