After the USA thrilling 2-1 victory over Ghana much is being said over injuries to stars Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, and Matt Besler but we must first recap.
Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal in USA World Cup history in just 29 seconds to start the game. The run from Clint Dempsey was poetry in motion. Dempsey bobbed and weaved through multiple Ghanaian defenders before striking the ball off of the post and into the net. Then the USA kept pressure on Ghana for about the first twenty minutes of the match.
The Ghanaian attack was in full force in the second as they continued to press the USA into turnovers and were very aggressive. Ghana was able to equalize in the 82nd minute on some beautiful passing.
Then in the 86th minute the USA struck again. This time a corner kick from Graham Zusi was headed in by John Anthony Brooks. Brooks was the substitute for Besler. Zusi was the substitute for Alejandro Bedoya. Brooks’s goal was the first ever by a substitute for Team USA Soccer in a World Cup.
The United States scored a 2-1 upset win over Ghana but it didn’t come cheap. The trouble started when USA forward Jozy Altidore was chasing down a ball and felt tightness in his left leg and pulled up. Altidore was diagnosed with a strained hamstring and today was ruled out for the game against Portugal. Altidore is vital for the USA attack going forward and without him the US attack lacked spark against Ghana.
Further hampering the US attack is the injury to Clint Dempsey. Clint Dempsey suffered a broken nose in the first half of Monday’s upset and although he continued to show grit and determination was clearly hampered by the injury. Dempsey told USA Today that he can breathe out of one nostril and should be fine for the match against Portugal.
Ghana controlled the time of possession for just about the entire second half after the injuries to the US. A trend that could be troubling in the US reserves can’t match the intensity of their star strike Jozy Altidore.
It took a goal in the final minutes for the United States to upset Ghana. For Team USA to beat Portugal they will have to play with intensity they showed in the first half against Ghana. Without that intensity they could find themselves giving back the comfortable position they found themselves in following Monday’s upset win.
Tony Fischer contributed to this post