US World Cup Chances Going, Going, Ghana

After our 2-1 extra time loss to the only African side to make the knockout rounds.  One too many inexcusable early goals, as the goal allowed early in the game, along with early in the England and Slovenia games, was augmented by giving up a goal early in extra time.  It is hard to overcome defensive lapses like those at this level of competition.  And after fighting so hard just to beat Algeria and advance, and having to use 2 substitutes early in the game for tactical reasons, it was apparent we had a fatigued club in extra time.  When we didn’t get a 2nd goal in regulation time, we probably needed to hold the tie into penalty shots and hope that Howard could save our butts.  When they scored getting the equalizer was not in the cards.

Still, it was an entertaining run for the Americans.  Landon Donovan lived up to the expectations.  Howard got scored on more than you would have preferred, but he also made a great outlet to start the US goal against Algeria.  The best goaltender/goalkeeper at starting a breakaway that I can think of since Tom Barrasso.  But for some reason this team could never get off to a fast start, indeed not even a mediocre start.  On the other hand, 4 good to great 2nd halves lends you to think the team was well coached, as does Bradley’s willingness to correct a tactical mistake like playing the wrong player.

But its a disappointing end, as things were set up perfectly for the winner of Group C to make a run to the semifinals.  The group itself was not a killer, then to have a non-German team out of Group D, with the quarterfinal being a non-Argentine member of Group B or the winner of the essentially seedless (host team getting the seed spot) Group A.  Oh well.


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