World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.

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World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.
« on: June 26, 2010, 10:41:02 am »
U.S.-Ghana: Five things to watch

By Martin Rogers

IRENE, South Africa – Ever since its eventful World Cup opener against England, now nearly two weeks and half a lifetime ago, the United States has been playing do-or-die soccer.

The rollercoaster ride that has gripped a nation hits its latest stomach-churning loop in Rustenburg on Saturday. If the past few games are anything to go by, plenty more thrills and spills can be expected.

The Americans take on Ghana, deep into Bafokeng tribal country, where the platinum seams run deep and Bob Bradley’s team chases a prize more precious than most USA fans could have dreamed of – a quarterfinal spot.

Here are the things to watch.

1. Sweet revenge

Ghana has the ninth worst-rated economy in the world, according to Forbes, and has a political party that uses the rather unambitious slogan: “So far, so good.” Expectations of the national soccer team are somewhat higher, though, and fiscal firepower has little bearing on World Cup matters.

A more significant factor dates back four years to the USA’s loss to Ghana at the 2006 World Cup. The Ghanaians knocked the U.S. out of the tournament and the loss still rankles with many of the American players.

Look out for: The men who remember. Out of the USA’s likely starters, four players have harbored painful memories of Ghana for the past four years. Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan, Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey were all on the field in Nuremberg, and they will relish the opportunity to settle the score.

2. Boos for Bornstein

Jonathan Bornstein claims he didn’t hear the jeers that rained down upon him from the Loftus Versfeld stands on Wednesday night, citing those ever-present vuvuzelas as the reason. Yet the U.S. defender can’t help but notice the negative vibes American fans hold toward him after he was brought into the lineup against Algeria.

Bornstein adds pace from his spot at left back and, as a former striker, he can get forward at a good clip. However, his defensive positioning and tackling ability often have been called into question and there will be some nervous moments when Ghana attacks down that flank.

Look out for: Howard’s calming presence. At the end of a difficult first half against Algeria, when both the crowd and Bornstein’s own teammates were getting frustrated with him, Tim Howard took his colleague to one side and had a quiet word in his ear. By rationally explaining what Bornstein needed to do, instead of ranting at him, Howard calmed the defender’s nerves and a better second-half performance followed.

3. The battle with Boateng

There are few more controversial figures at the World Cup than Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ghana’s right-sided midfielder.

With more tattoos than most self-respecting Hell’s Angels, a spiky attitude and a physical style that wrecked the ankle of Germany captain Michael Ballack before the tournament, Boateng will be a man to watch on Saturday.

Look out for: Dempsey getting tough. Dempsey is not a man to take a backward step, having ended up bruised and bloodied in the last game. Keep an eye on his confrontations with Boateng – the results could be explosive.

4. Howard’s hurls

One of the forgotten aspects of Donovan’s incredible winner against Algeria was the man who set it all up. No, not Michael Bradley or another outfield player – but Tim Howard, all the way from the U.S. goal.

If it wasn’t for Howard’s swift thinking and 50-yard throw that found Donovan in full stride, American soccer’s modern history could be looking very different right now.

Look out for: More of the same. Howard, a former high school basketball star, has one of the biggest arms of all the World Cup goalkeepers. Furthermore, his throws are fast, accurate and often far more effective than an aimless kick upfield.

5. The driving force of Donovan

Few players ride a wave of confidence as well as Landon Donovan, who has historically been able to channel momentum to good effect.

He certainly is on a roll now and is full of the joys of life after his dramatic winning goal and an emotional telephone conversation with his estranged wife, actress Bianca Kajlich, after the game.



Look out for: A decisive Donovan. When his confidence is up, Donovan acts a fraction of a second quicker and makes surging aggressive moves even when not in possession of the ball. Such actions will be vital if the USA is to stretch the Ghana defense and keep it under pressure.

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willyramasola

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Re: World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2010, 08:43:39 pm »
Ghana beats US, 2-1.

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Re: World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2010, 01:28:19 am »
Ghana beats US, 2-1.

no revenge happened huh

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willyramasola

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Re: World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2010, 05:50:45 am »
game over....

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Re: World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2010, 06:00:35 pm »

World Cup roller coaster continues for U S
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2010, 03:14:50 pm »
it only seems to lose its magic when the team you support gets knocked out, i doubt if the team you support made it to the final youd say it had lost its magic that goes for the "rumbulows" cup also
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Re: World Cup roller coaster continues for U.S.
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2010, 03:29:14 pm »
He certainly is on a roll now and is full of the joys of life after his dramatic winning goal and an emotional telephone conversation with his estranged wife, actress Bianca Kajlich, after the game.