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USA vs. Ghana - Brooks Stunner Hands USA 2-1 Win

Game Day

Game day is finally here. After years of preparation, the U.S. Men's National Team gets their World Cup journey underway tonight in Natal with their group stage opener against Ghana. Jurgen Klinsmann and his players have prepared extensively, so no matter rain or shine (and it could be either), they'll be ready. Follow along with the latest from the match right here, all day long.

Live coverage: 6 p.m. ET on ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision & ESPN Radio

Kit Watch: USA - Red, Red, Red / Ghana - White, White, White
How are kit colors decided? Read Here

  • DateMonday, June 16, 2014
  • VenueEstadio das Dunas; Natal, Brazil
  • Kickoff6:00 PM ET
  • Attendance39,760
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Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Ghana
Date: June 16, 2014
Competition: FIFA World Cup – Group G
Venue: Estadio das Dunas; Natal, Brazil
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 39,760
Weather: 81 degrees, cloudy 

Scoring Summary:  1          2          F
USA                             1          1          2
GHA                            0          1          1           

USA – Clint Dempsey (Jermaine Jones)         1st minute
GHA- Andre Ayew (Asamoah Gyan)            82nd
USA- John Brooks (Graham Zusi)                  86th

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler (6-John Brooks, 46), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 77), 15-Kyle Beckerman, 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley; 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.), 17-Jozy  Altidore (9-Aron Johannsson, 23)
Subs Not Used: 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 10-Mix Diskerud, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 16-Julian Green, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 21-Timmy Chandler, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann 

GHA: 12-Adam Kwarasey; 4-Daniel Opare, 19-Jonathan Mensah, 21-John Boye, 20-Kwadwo Asamoah; 17-Mohammed  Rabiu (5-Michael Essien, 71), 7-Christian Atsu (14-Albert Adomah, 78), 11-Sulley Muntari,13- Jordan Ayew (9-Kevin-Prince Boateng, 59);  3-Asamoah Gyan (capt.), 10-Andre Ayew
Subs not used: 6-Afriyie Acquah, 1-Stephen Adams, 23-Harrison Afful, 8-Agyemang Badu, 16-Fatawu Dauda, 2-Samuel Inkoom, 22-Mubarak Wakaso, 15-Mohammed Awal, 18-Abdul Majeed Waris
Head coach: James Kwesi Appiah 

Stats Summary: USA / GHA
Shots: 8 / 21
Shots on Goal: 6 / 3
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 7
Fouls: 12 / 10
Offside: 1 / 5 

Misconduct Summary:
GHA-   Mohammed Rabiu (caution)                 30th minute
GHA-   Sulley Muntari (caution)                      90+2 

Officials:
Referee: Jonas Erikkson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathias Klasenius (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Warnmark (SWE)
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (TAH) 

Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey

U.S. MNT Opens 2014 FIFA World Cup Against Ghana on Monday in Natal

U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Ghana
2014 FIFA World Cup – Group G
Estadio das Dunas – Natal, Brazil
June 16, 2014

U.S. MNT OPENS 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP AGAINST GHANA: The U.S. Men’s National Team will face a familiar World Cup foe when it takes on Ghana in the opening match of the World Cup for each team on June 16 in Natal, Brazil, at the Estadio das Dunas. The game will be broadcast live at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision and ESPN Radio. Fans can also follow live on Twitter @ussoccer.

With Ghana having beaten the U.S. in the past two World Cups, this meeting will mark the third consecutive World Cup in which the two teams will square off. Ghana eliminated the U.S. in the 2010 Round of 16 (2-1 USA loss in overtime) and beat the U.S. in the final game of the group stage in 2006, knocking the Americans out of the tournament (2-1 USA loss).

The U.S. is coming off its undefeated Send-Off Series, most recently beating fellow 2014 World Cup qualifier Nigeria 2-1 in Jacksonville, Florida. Forward Jozy Altidore scored his first two goals of the year to power the U.S. The Send-Off Series began as the MNT faced Azerbaijan, powered by Yingli Solar, and recorded a 2-0 victory on May 27 in San Francisco. The squad then beat Turkey 2-1 on June 1 in Harrison, New Jersey.

U.S. Men’s National Team By Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City),John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

2014 U.S. MNT SCHEDULE:

Date

Opponent

Result/Time (ET)

U.S. Goal Scorers/TV

Venue

Feb. 1

Korea Rep.

2-0 W

Wondolowski (2)

StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

March 5

Ukraine

0-2 L

--

Papadopoulos Stadium; Larnaca, Cyprus

April 2

Mexico

2-2 T

Bradley, Wondolowski

Univ. of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, Ariz.

May 27

Azerbaijan

2-0 W

Diskerud, Johannsson

Candlestick Park; San Francisco, Calif.

June 1

Turkey

2-1 W

F. Johnson, Dempsey

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.

June 7

Nigeria

2-1 W

Altidore (2)

EverBank Field; Jacksonville, Fla.

June 16

Ghana **

6 p.m.

ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision

Estadio das Dunas; Natal, Brazil

June 22

Portugal **

6 p.m.

ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision

Arena Amazonia; Manaus, Brazil

June 26

Germany **

12 p.m.

ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision

Arena Pernambuco; Recife, Brazil

Sept. 3

Czech Rep.

TBD

TBD

Prague, Czech Republic

** 2014 FIFA World Cup

2014 FIFA WORLD CUP – GROUP G

Team

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Pts

Germany

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Portugal

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Ghana

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

USA

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Monday, June 16
Germany vs. Portugal; Arena Fonte Nova; Salvador
Ghana vs. USA; Arena das Dunas; Natal

Saturday, June 21
Germany vs. Ghana; Estadio Castelao; Fortaleza

Sunday, June 22
USA vs. Portugal; Arena Amazonia; Manaus

Thursday, June 26
USA vs. Germany; Arena Pernambuco; Recife
Portugal vs. Ghana; Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha; Brasilia

For full standings and results, visit ussoccer.com’s 2014 FIFA World Cup homepage.

USA VS. GHANA SERIES:

  • The Group G opener will mark the USA’s 30th World Cup game and Ghana’s 10th. The U.S. MNT is 7-17-5 all-time and Ghana is 4-3-2.
  • This is the USA’s seventh consecutive appearance in the FIFA World Cup and 10th appearance overall.
  • Ghana is appearing in its third FIFA World Cup, all in consecutive cycles after previously qualifying in 2006 and 2010. Ghana advanced to the quarterfinals in 2010 before bowing out to Uruguay in penalties on July 2.
  • The U.S. is 0-2-0 in just two meetings against Ghana, losing by a score of 2-1 in the last game for the U.S. in each of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
  • The last meeting against Ghana, on June 26, 2010, came in the Round of 16 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan put a shot past Tim Howard three minutes into overtime for the game-winner as the USA fell short of a response for the remainder of the match. Ghana’s Kevin-Prince Boateng scored the game’s opening goal in the fifth minute from the top of the box, and the USA found the equalizer in the 62nd minute. Clint Dempsey drew a foul in the box and Landon Donovan converted the penalty kick.
  • In 2006, the U.S. needed a win against Ghana in the final group game to advance out of Group E. Dempsey scored for the U.S on an assist from DaMarcus Beasley in the 43rd minute, but Ghana’s Stephen Appiah converted a penalty kick during first-half stoppage time for a 2-1 advantage that would stand the rest of the way. With the loss, the U.S. finished with just one point in group play, as the USA had tied Group E winner Italy 1-1 in its second group match.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann scored two goals against Ghana during a 6-1 Germany victory on April 14, 1993. USA World Cup advisor Berti Vogts was Germany’s manager.

U.S. ROSTER NOTES:

  • The USA roster features five players who have played in a previous FIFA World Cup: DaMarcus Beasley (7 caps; 2002, 2006, 2010); Clint Dempsey (6 caps; 2006, 2010); Tim Howard (6 caps; 2010; on 2006 World Cup USA roster but did not play); Jozy Altidore (4 caps; 2010); and Michael Bradley (4 caps; 2010).
  • Beasley is the third USA player to be a part of four U.S. MNT World Cup rosters, joining Kasey Keller (1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006) and Claudio Reyna (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006).
  • Beasley is tied for 10th among U.S. MNT players with seven World Cup caps, matching Paul Caligiuri, Thomas Dooley, Frankie Hejduk and Tony Meola.
  • Dempsey’s two goals in the World Cup lead the current squad, having scored in each of the past two tournaments. He scored in the MNT’s first group stage match of the 2010 World Cup against England to earn a 1-1 draw, and he tallied the USA’s lone goal in the 2-1 loss to Ghana on June 22, 2006, in the last match of the group stage.
  • Bradley has one World Cup goal, an 82nd-minute equalizer against Slovenia that helped bring the U.S. back from a 2-0 halftime deficit and force a 2-2 draw on June 18, 2010, in the second of three group stage matches.
  • Altidore’s two goals in the U.S. MNT’s 2-1 victory against Nigeria on June 7 were his first two of 2014 for club or country. He now has 23 career international goals.
  • Fabian Johnson’s assist on Altidore’s first goal against Nigeria was his first of the year after leading the U.S. with three assists during World Cup qualifying
  • Johnson recorded his first international goal in his 21st appearance during the first half of the USA’s 2-1 win against Turkey on June 1.
  • During this qualifying cycle for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Dempsey led the team with 14 appearances in the USA’s 16 games while posting a team-high eight goals.
  • Howard was 9-3-1 during the qualification process for this year’s World Cup, posting five clean sheets.
  • Chris Wondolowski leads the U.S. MNT with three goals in 2014.
  • Bradley leads the U.S. with three assists in 2014.
  • The U.S. roster features 10 players who represent Major League Soccer sides, including three sets of club teammates: Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman at Real Salt Lake; Matt Besler and Graham Zusi at Sporting Kansas City; and Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin at Seattle Sounders FC.
  • Besler took home 2012 MLS Defender of the Year honors, a year after LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez earned the same award.
  • Altidore scored eight goals for the USA in 2013 and set a U.S. MNT record by scoring in five straight games as he earned 2013 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year honors.
  • Julian Green earned his first U.S. cap on April 2 against Mexico as a second-half sub. Born in Tampa, Florida, Green is a dual citizen of the United States and Germany. The 18-year-old played for Germany in qualifying for the UEFA U-19 championship, which required that he complete a one-time change of association that allows him to play for the U.S. National Team.

IN THE RECORD BOOKS:

  • With the 2-1 win against Nigeria, goalkeeper Tim Howard now has 54 wins in his career, setting a U.S. MNT record that was previously held by Kasey Keller (53). Howard is now 54-28-15 all-time; Keller had a 53-27-18 record during his brilliant career. (Please note: Earlier references incorrectly stated that Howard was the winner on June 1 against Turkey after playing the first 45 minutes of a 2-1 victory. Because the eventual game-winning goal was recorded in the second half, Brad Guzan was awarded the victory, and not Howard.)
  • Howard has 100 caps during his career, becoming the 15th MNT player to reach the 100-game milestone. He is currently tied with Tony Meola and Joe-Max Moore for 13th all-time. Howard is also two caps behind the goalkeeping caps record held by Keller (102 caps from 1990-2007).
  • Howard currently has 99 starts in his U.S. MNT career, tying the goalkeeping record held by Keller.
  • Howard is currently second in career shutouts with 35, trailing Keller’s record of 47. Howard passed Meola for second when he notched his 33rd career clean sheet on Oct. 11, 2013, a 2-0 victory against Jamaica to lead the USA to the top of its third straight Hexagonal.
  • Jozy Altidore’s 23 goals during his international career rank sixth all-time for the U.S. MNT. He had previously been tied with Bruce Murray (21 goals from 1985-93). Altidore is one goal behind fifth-place Joe-Max Moore (24 goals from 1992-2002).
  • Clint Dempsey became just the third MNT player to score at least one goal in 10 consecutive years after tallying the game-winner against Turkey on June 1. The only other two players to record a goal in that many consecutive years are Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda with 11 years each.
  • Dempsey has 37 goals for his career, second all-time behind Landon Donovan’s record 57 goals.
  • Dempsey is 10th all-time with 105 appearances and is one cap behind ninth-place Wynalda (106 caps from 1990-2000).
  • DaMarcus Beasley and Dempsey are tied for eighth place in assists with 13 and are one behind Moore and Tab Ramos who are tied for sixth with 14 assists in their National Soccer Hall of Fame careers.
  • Beasley’s 17 goals put him in a tie for ninth place all-time with Earnie Stewart.
  • Midfielder Michael Bradley sits in 20th all-time in appearances with his 86th cap against Nigeria. His next appearance will tie him for 19th with Steve Cherundolo (87 games from 1999-2012).
  • Bradley earned the 10th assist of his career on June 7 against Nigeria to tie for 12th-all-time in U.S. MNT history with Cherundolo, Chris Henderson, Brian McBride and Earnie Stewart.
  • Chris Wondolowski, who leads the U.S. with three goals in 2014, has nine for his career and is tied for 21st all-time with Dominic Kinnear, Jovan Kirovski, Alexi Lalas, Peter Millar, Willy Roy and Josh Wolff. With his next goal, Wondolowski would tie Eddie Lewis’ mark of 10 goals from 1996-2008.
  • The USA is coming off a record-setting 2013 campaign, posting the most victories (16) and best winning percentage (.761) in team history.
  • The U.S. MNT saw its record 13-game home winning streak come to a close with the 2-2 draw against Mexico on April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The 13-0-0 mark started with a 4-3 win against Germany on June 2, 2013, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and stretched through the USA’s 2-0 victory against the Korea Republic on Feb. 1 in front of a sold-out crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
  • U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (31-11-8) passed Bora Milutinovic for third on the all-time wins list. Ahead of him is Bruce Arena (71) and 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Bob Bradley (43).

USA IN BRAZIL:

  • The U.S. MNT is 1-4 all-time in Brazil, with the lone victory coming in a 1-0 win against England in Belo Horizante on June 29, 1950, during the 1950 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. lost to Chile 5-2 in Recife and to Spain 3-1 in Curitiba in its other two games in the 1950 World Cup. The U.S. will play in Recife against Germany in the third of three Group G matches.
  • The last time the U.S. played in Brazil was for an international friendly on Feb. 6, 1992, a 3-0 loss to Brazil in Fortaleza.
  • The MNT’s first trip to Brazil came on Aug. 17, 1930, when the U.S. played Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and lost 4-3.
  • The U.S. has an all-time record of 5-15-2 playing in South America. The U.S. last visited the continent in 2007 for the CONMEBOL Copa America in Venezuela, losing to Argentina, Paraguay and Columbia.

BY THE NUMBERS:

  • 3: Goals by Chris Wondolowski to lead the USA in 2014
  • 5: U.S. MNT Players with previous FIFA World Cup appearances (Altidore, Beasley, Bradley, Dempsey and Howard)
  • 14: USA’s FIFA ranking
  • 16: Victories during USA’s record-setting 2013 campaign
  • 24: Ghana’s FIFA ranking
  • 31: Victories under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann
  • 54: Career wins for Tim Howard, a U.S. MNT goalkeeping record

2014 FIFA WORLD CUP BREAKDOWN:

The U.S. Men’s National Team is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The USA opens Group G play against Ghana at 6 p.m. ET on June 16 in Natal. That is followed by a 6 p.m. ET match against Portugal on June 22 in Manaus and a 12 p.m. ET match on June 26 against Germany. For the full group standings and schedule from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, visit ussoccer.com.

Group Breakdown:

  • Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
  • Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
  • Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
  • Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
  • Group D: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
  • Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria
  • Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
  • Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic

Links:

ALSO ON USSOCCER.COM:

Videos

Features and Q&As:

Releases

JURGEN KLINSMANN FACT FILE: Jurgen Klinsmann became the 35th coach in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team on July 29, 2011. Here is a look at the program’s achievements since that time:

  • Overall, Klinsmann has a 31-11-8 record. He is third on the U.S. MNT’s all-time coaching wins list. The top five include Bruce Arena (71), Bob Bradley (43), Klinsmann (31), Bora Milutinovic (30) and Steve Sampson (26).
  • He won a record-setting 13 straight games at home.
  • He led the MNT to a 12-game winning streak in 2013, the longest in program history.
  • The U.S. finished 2013 with a 16-4-3 record. The 16 victories and .761 winning percentage are all-time U.S. MNT records for a calendar year.
  • The U.S. finished the final round of 2013 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying atop the Hexagonal with a 7-1-2 overall record, including an unblemished 5-0-0 home record that was achieved by pitching clean sheets in all five matches.
  • The team won six straight games en route to capturing the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, during which the squad scored a record 20 goals.
  • Committed to challenging the group against the best, under Klinsmann, the United States has a 2-1-1 record against teams ranked in the top 10 in the world. With Klinsmann at the helm, the U.S. has collected four historic victories:
    • Beating four-time World Cup champion Italy for the first time ever
    • Earning the first win against Mexico on Mexican soil
    • Defeating Jamaica on the road for the first time in World Cup Qualifying
    • Topping second-ranked Germany in U.S. Soccer’s Centennial Celebration Match
  • Klinsmann’s U.S. coaching debut was a 1-1 draw against Mexico on Aug. 10, 2011, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. During Klinsmann’s abbreviated 2011 tenure, the USA’s two victories included a 1-0 win against Honduras (Oct. 8) and a 3-2 victory against Slovenia (Nov. 15).
  • Klinsmann was named the Germany National Team manager in 2004 and guided Germany to a 20-6-8 record and a third-place finish in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He earned Coach of the Year honors in Germany, and two years later, he took over the head coaching position at Germany’s most high-profile club Bayern Munich.
  • As a player, Klinsmann played 17 club seasons from 1981 to 1998 with the following teams: Stuttgarter Kickers (1981-84), VfB Stuttgart (1984-89), Internazionale (1989-92), Monaco (1992-94), Tottenham Hotspur (1994-95, 97-98), Bayern Munich (1995-97) and Sampdoria (1997-98). During that time, he scored 226 goals in 506 appearances. He was named German Player of the Year in 1988 and 1994 and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1995.
  • Klinsmann earned 108 caps with the German National Team, scoring 47 goals. He participated in three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998) and won the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
  • Klinsmann was born on July 30, 1964, in Goppingen, Germany.

IN FOCUS: GHANA
Ghana Football Association
Founded: 1957
Head Coach: James Kwesi Appiah
FIFA World Ranking: 24
FIFA World Cup Appearances: 2 previous (2006 and 2010)
Best World Cup Finish: 2006 Quarterfinals (2006)

GHANA ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars)
DEFENDERS (6): Harrison Afful (Esperance), John Boye (Stade Rennes), Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Jonathan Mensah (FC Evian), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Christian Atsu (Arnheim), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Agyemang Badu (Udinese), Michael Essien (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Krasnodar), Wakasu Mubarak (Kasan), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan)
FORWARDS (4): Jordan Ayew (Sochaux), Asamoah Gyan (Al-Ayn), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), evin-Prince Boateng (Schalke)

GHANA ROSTER NOTES:

  • Ghana is currently ranked 24th in the FIFA world rankings.
  • Ghana returns seven players from the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, all of whom played in the game against the U.S. in the Round of 16.
  • Among the holdovers is Asamoah Gyan, who scored three goals for Ghana in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, including the game-winner against the USA in overtime.
  • Gyan led the Black Stars in 2014 World Cup qualifying with six goals.
  • Ghana will make its third World Cup appearance and third straight, finishing 13th in 2006 and seventh in 2010. Ghana ousted the U.S. MNT in both 2006 and 2010.
  • The Black Stars began their World Cup preparations by meeting with Ghana President, H.E. John Mahama and staging a farewell game at the Accra Stadium.
  • Ghana traveled to the Netherlands for a friendly with the Dutch in Rotterdam on May 24, which it lost 1-0 on a Robin van Persie goal.
  • Ghana concluded its World Cup preparations with a training camp in Miami, Florida, that included a friendly against Group H qualifier Korea Republic on June 9. Ghana beat Korea 4-0 in its last match before opening the World Cup against the U.S. on June 16.
  • In its two previous appearances, Ghana has compiled a World Cup Record of 4-3-2 (9 GF; 10 GA).
  • In 2014 World Cup Qualifying, Ghana finished 1st in CAF Group D, defeating Egypt 7-3 on aggregate in the CAF Playoffs (5-1-0; 18 GF, 3 GA).
  • In its second trip to the World Cup in 2010, Ghana qualified for the knockout round for the second time in row. Ghana tied Africa’s best performance by beating the U.S. to reach the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, Ghana lost in a penalty kick shootout to Uruguay, which denied the Black Stars from becoming the first African team to reach the semifinals of a FIFA World Cup.
  • Ghana’s roster populates 13 different leagues around the world, with the majority being stationed in Europe – both France’s Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A have five representatives on the Black Stars’ roster. Only one player, goalkeeper Stephen Adams, plays in Ghana’s domestic Premier League.
  • Ghana has won the African Cup of Nations four times; in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982.

LAST TIME:
On the field for the USA:
June 1, 2014 – EverBank Field – Jacksonville, Florida – International Friendly

USA     2   Jozy Altidore 31, Jozy Altidore 68
NGA    1   Victor Moses (penalty) 86

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 5-Matt Besler, 20-Geoff Cameron, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Timmy Chandler, 75); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Graham Zusi, 60), 15-Kyle Beckerman (10-Mix Diskerud, 72), 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley; 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (18-Chris Wondolowski, 87), 17-Jozy Altidore (3-Omar Gonzalez, 80)
Subs Not Used: 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 6-John Brooks, 9-Aron Johannsson, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 16-Julian Green, 22-Nick Rimando
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

NGA: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 2-Joseph Yobo (capt.), 5-Eric Efe Ambrose, 13-Juwon Oshaniwa, 14-Godfrey Oboabona; 10-John Obi Mikel (4-Ruben Gabriel, 46), 15-Ramon Azeez (25-Michael Uchebo, 74), 17- Ogenyi Onazi; 8-Peter Osaze Odemwingie (18-Michael Babatunde, 46), 11-Victor Moses, 23-Shola Ameobi (9-Emmanuel Emenike, 64)
Subs Not Used: 3-Elderson Echiejile, 6-Azubuike Emmanuel Egweukwe, 7-Musa Ahmed, 12-Kunle Odunlami, 16-Austine Ejide, 19-Uche Nwofor, 21-Agbim Chigozie, 22-Kenneth Omeruo
Head Coach: Stephen Keshi

On the field against Ghana:
June 26, 2010 – Royal Bofakeng Stadium – Rustenberg, South Africa – 2010 FIFA World Cup Round of 16

USA   1   Landon Donovan (penalty) 62
GHA  2   Kevin Prince Boateng 5, Asamoah Gyan 93

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Jay DeMerit, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 12-Jonathan Bornstein; 10-Landon Donovan, 4-Michael Bradley, 13 -Ricardo Clark (19-Maurice Edu, 31), 8-Clint Dempsey; 20-Robbie Findley (22-Benny Feilhaber, 46) 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Herculez Gomez, 91)
Subs Not Used: 18-Brad Guzan, 23-Marcus Hahnemann; 2-Jonathan Spector, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Stuart Holden, 14-Edson Buddle, 16-Jose Torres, 21-Clarence Goodson
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

GHA: 22-Richard Kingson; 2-Hans Sarpei (19-Lee Addy, 73) , 4-John Pantsil, 5-John Mensah (capt.), 7-Samuel Inkoom (11-Sulley Muntari, 113), 8-Jonathan Mensah; 6-Anthony Annan, 13-Andre Ayew, 21-Kwando Asamoah, 23-Kevin Prince Boateng (10-Stephen Appiah, 78); 3-Asamoah Gyan
Subs Not Used: 1-Daniel Agyei, 16-Stephen Ahorlu; 9-Derek Boateng, 12-Prince Tago, 14-Matthew Amoah, 17-Ibrahim Ayew, 18-Dominic Adiyiah, 20-Quincy Owusu-Abeyie
Not Available: 15- Isaac Vorsah
Head Coach: Milovan Rajevac

U.S. MNT Wins Best Moment at 2014 ESPY Awards

CHICAGO (July 16, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team won Best Moment at the ESPYs this evening for its 2-1 victory against Ghana in the team’s opening group match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Natal, Brazil.

U.S. MNT defender John Brooks scored the game-winning goal in the 86th minute to give the U.S. the dramatic victory after a hard-fought match that the U.S. had led for most of the way. Captain Clint Dempsey scored the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history when he tallied just 30 seconds into the match, but Ghana tied the game in the 82nd minute. The victory marked the first for the USA against Ghana, which had defeated the U.S. in the previous two World Cups.

Dempsey accepted the ESPY for Best Moment along with seven of his teammates live on stage at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Joining Dempsey on stage were Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Nick Rimando, Chris Wondolowski and DeAndre Yedlin.

Other nominees in the category were Mariano Rivera’s final game and Kevin Durant’s MVP acceptance speech.

The U.S. Men’s National Team also won Best Moment at the 2010 ESPY Awards for the dramatic 1-0 victory against Algeria in its final group match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ESPY Awards have been given out annually since 1993 and are determined by fan vote.

Conference Call Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard

On the attention he has received and how he is dealing with it:
“I think when you get in the public eye, you just try and figure out a way to deal with it. I’m old, so I’ve been dealing with it for a while. I keep my feet on the ground and just figure out a way to deal with it. Like I said, it’s nothing new when you’re in the public eye. It’s nice that America knows about soccer. I think that’s what’s most important.”

On being the subject of social media praise and photos:
“In today’s day and age with social media and all the rest of it, nothing surprises me. There are some very creative and funny individuals out there. If it makes them happy, I think it’s quite funny.”

On if he prepared differently or knew the game against Belgium would be different:
“That’s a good question. I’ve been asked that a couple times today. I always try and do the same things every day. I eat the same way, I train the same way, and I’ve found success doing that. I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for those types of performances. You just hope that if you work hard enough for long enough, you’ll get a little bit of luck.”

On his future with the U.S. Men’s National Team:
“I signed an extension which is a four-year contract with Everton. That excites me, all the good things that are going on at that club, which obviously is a club that I love. What happens going forward with the National Team? I don’t know. The emotions are too raw at the moment so I’ll let everything die down. I’ll speak to people who are close to me and the manager and decide what my future looks like. I don’t think it’s very black and white to be honest, so I need to figure all that out.”

On the attention the U.S. MNT gets and competing with the other sports in the U.S.:
“I tell you what, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Every four years, America gets behind this team, obviously we have a good following anyway, but gets behind this team and really drives us forward. I live in Europe and there are a lot of European countries that don’t. They’re very cynical. Their team goes to the World Cup and they don’t do very well and everyone says ‘I told you so.’ I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that all the attention is on us every four years and that people take notice. It’s hard to sustain that every day. Around the world in Europe and Africa and Asia and South America, soccer is either the No. 1 sport or the only sport. In America, we’re competing with football, basketball, baseball, hockey. It’s not as easy a question as that, but the support has been immense.”

On whether or not he might retire:
“There’s a lot that goes into the decision and right now emotions are high so I want to let things settle. There’s no doubt, barring injury, that I’ll be fit and willing to keep going, but there are a lot more things that go into that decision than just my physical health. It’s something that, in time, I’ll decide.”

On whether he was more tired after making a record-setting 16 saves than after a normal game:
“No, physically I was fine. Physically, I was great. I think when you’re active and you’re in the match a lot, you just go into a zone, your body goes into autopilot. I mean, those guys in front of me are incredible. How they run that long and that hard is beyond me. I’m driving them on, I’m cracking the whip and I can see they don’t want to do it but they keep pushing themselves and their performance was absolutely miraculous. It’s very tough to do what they did for 120 minutes.”

On the influence of Roberto Martinez on his goalkeeping and playing the ball out of the ball back with his feet more:
“That’s a great observation. I think it’s laughable that I find myself in the games sometimes thinking, ‘I’m only doing this because Roberto wants it done, you know?’ He’s just been incredible. He has given me the confidence to not only play out of the back but to control the rhythm and to see how the build-up works from a goalkeeping standpoint. He’s been fabulous. He and I were introduced to each other at 34 and I thought that was it, I thought I had learned everything I needed to learn. He’s been a breath of fresh air in his style and the way he has encouraged me to play.”

On his thoughts regarding the young talent coming into the Men’s National Team:
“The talent pool is rich. This was a very young team and even if guys didn’t play serious minutes, they were a part of this experience and they’ll be so much better for it in the coming years whether that be Copa America, Gold Cup, Confederations Cup, World Cup qualifying and on to the next World Cup. As we saw with Julian Green last night who came on with a goal that we desperately needed, but I think more so DeAndre Yedlin has just put a big smile on my face. He comes into the game and faces Eden Hazard and he never looked back, and Eden Hazard is the best player in the Premier League, or was one of them last year, and he’s a threat to anyone and DeAndre got his head down and dared him to come at him. I think it’s very exciting for U.S. Soccer.”

World Cup Quote Sheet: Jurgen Klinsmann Final Press Conference

U.S. MNT head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
Thanking the media and those in Brazil who helped the MNT on the trip:
“First of all, before we get into the questions, we really would love to thank São Paulo FC for hosting us during those couple weeks. It’s been tremendous. It’s been an amazing experience for all of us. Also, [thanks to] the setup of the hotel in the city and the people there. Everywhere we went we were just welcomed with open arms. It’s been a special time here. We want to thank you guys for hanging in there with us. It’s been almost seven weeks now. A lot of you were already up in Stanford and the whole journey through New York to Jacksonville down here, then obviously city by city here in Brazil. A big thank you to all of you, the way you approach everything very, very respectfully. A great relationship. We are all in this together, as we always say. We all try to make this game grow in our country and get it to the next level and working hard on it. It doesn’t mean you can’t have critical questions or critical comments or critics. It’s all totally fine. I think it’s been a great time. Unfortunately it came to an end last night with that game against Belgium. We have to accept that. But overall I think everybody’s proud of their team that went to their limits. Everybody can take a lot from those six, seven weeks that we spent together.”

On how to continue developing the team and soccer in the U.S.:
“I think it’s hugely important for us to make the game grow, the players grow, and really find ways to improve on every front. Having next summer’s Gold Cup with that, hopefully being qualified for the Confederation’s Cup in 2017; in 2016 having an Olympics that is very, very important to us. We’ve got to do much better than the last cycle there. Having a Copa America in the United States, it’s pretty much the second biggest competition you can have. I understand the European Championship is huge, but Copa America is huge as well. Hosting that means a lot to us. That’s another huge platform to make the team grow, make players grow and obviously hopefully qualify for the Confederations Cup. Every year you have big benchmarks that you can approach. In all that, the relationship with MLS is extremely important. It’s very good. We bounce so many things back and forth. We’re constantly communicating with each other. We’re trying to get on the same page more and more schedule-wise, which is important so we hopefully can get all the players that we need in order to be internationally successful.”

On how each of the players can grow from the World Cup experience:
“After analyzing every game of this World Cup, and we will do that, we will watch them over and over again and then look at details and communicating those details then to the players, in a couple weeks from now after they have their break, we’ll tell you in which areas we need to improve, in which areas we have to learn. When you play a tournament like that, I mentioned it last night, you play every four or five days, so you have to be on top of your game in every one of them. In the tournament, the maximum is seven games, but if you go through an entire season and you play in a rhythm of every four days, that is really demanding. This is about consistency, it’s about living the right way, all these on and off topics. It’s about keeping the highest tempo, the highest level of concentration, not giving away anything. It’s about the spirit of the group, being connected, helping each other out everywhere.”

On helping players regardless of where they play their club soccer:
“We always said that if they play in Mexico, if they play in MLS, or if they play in Europe, our job is to help them to play to their highest capabilities, to reach their highest personal level. When we get the players, we will try to push them. I think quite a lot of the players reached their highest level in the last couple weeks. I think we saw outstanding performances. This is our job as coaches. We are not there not to control their personal paths in terms of what clubs they play in and how they structure their careers. We don’t really have that much of a say in them. I mentioned it many times, I maybe sound like a broken record – do we want them in the biggest clubs possible? Do we want them in the highest competitions possible? Yes. I think that’s just normal. It’s in every sport the same way. But no matter where they are coming from, if we are convinced that they have the potential and they have the quality to be part of the senior National Team, we’re going bring them in no matter where they play and help them to raise the bar again.”

On injuries, the medical staff and the rigors of the World Cup:
“We knew that bringing Jozy on the bench was not meant to have Jozy on the field. He still needs a couple more days. But he’s healthy now. He’s ready to go back and build. We kept them on the edge with training and demanding because we knew that we’re going to play the best in the world every four days, so you’ve got to maximize every little area you have. Our fitness coaches did a tremendous job. Out medical staff was on top of the players every day. They worked day and night on all the players. This is what a World Cup is about. It’s a non-stop thing. It’s 24/7 for these couple of weeks.”

On Tim Howard’s performance against Belgium:
“I think it’s been a fantastic performance by Tim. He kept us in the game and he made it possible that we could have won this game or at least equalized in the last couple of minutes and go into a penalty shoot-out. It would be better for him to answer that question, maybe it was the best game that he played in his career, but only he can tell us. I didn’t watch all of his games. It’s fantastic because it also shows you how all the games of the World Cup were received back at home. Many people watched this competition, maybe more than four years ago in South Africa. It’s fun to see that and he deserves every compliment for his game last night.”

On the intensity of the knockout round:
“It’s little things that decide if you go on in the knockout stage or not. All of the knockout stage games were great, with two or three exceptions, but other ones were very, very close games and went into overtime, went into even penalty shootouts. Brazil had to go through that right away. It shows you that things are doable. In order to make them happen, it’s little things that make the difference. A little bit of luck, also maybe a little bit of individual plays that put the ball in the net or not.”

On the mentality and accountability of players changing with the growth of soccer in the U.S.:
Overall, we’re going in the right direction. I think the players understand – we often talk about this grinding attitude or mentality. You’ve got to wear a team down. You can’t loosen up. You can’t relax, never in a game. In CONCACAF, you can go and think it’s going to be an easy game; it’s no easy game anymore. All the teams globally caught up. They know how to train. They know how to play an all year-round season. They have strong domestic leagues. Their best players play in Europe, most of them. Therefore, you know how challenging it is. I think with the competition that we have now happening every year, it will help us to understand that we need to become more consistent. It’s also more demanding, more demanding on the players. Not just letting them get away with things, getting critical in certain moments, and make it clear that if you would have put that ball in the net yesterday, we would be in the next round. So think about that for a second without making it too harsh, but they need that sense of accountability, a sense of criticism, and people around them care about it. It’s good. We discussed that many times. We all have different opinions. We all would play 11 different players from the beginning on, but that is good because it gives a sense of people caring about the game. This is what happens right now in the United States. Fans and the media, you care about it and you bring in your own opinions and different opinions that the coach or the players have, it makes them feel accountable and not just walk away from a bad performance and nothing happens. No. If you have a bad performance, people should tell you that so you can make sure the next game is not bad anymore and you step it up and be alert about that. This is the growth of the game in our country. People now are starting to care about it. Fans care about it. They comment on social media, they comment everywhere about it. And that’s good. We need to make this grow and make that continue, that they get a sense of that.”

On if he feels vindicated looking back on the tournament now about his comments that the U.S. wasn’t ready to win the World Cup:
“I think saying that we come into the World Cup [that we are going to] win the World Cup is not right because you would raise the expectations to a level that is just over the moon. Is it possible to come through the group that we were in? Yes, because we did it. It is doable, it is possible. Is it possible now to go game by game and maybe even win four games? Yes it is possible. But, you can go in there and say we are going to win the World Cup because you have teams like Brazil, Germany and all the big, big countries in there. You have to take it one step at a time. If we equalize the [Belgium] game, if Wondo’s ball goes in and you win it 1-0 in the last minute, you play now Argentina and is Argentina beatable? Absolutely. If you go through Ghana, Portugal, Germany and Belgium then you take on Argentina. Absolutely we would have taken on Argentina. Crazy enough, Greece won the Eruos in 2004, and everybody though this is unbelievable. But it depends on how you create the focus in our own environment going into a tournament like the World Cup, and I thought it’s not the right thing for me to say that we’re coming to Brazil to win the World Cup. Is this a dream for everybody? Absolutely.

On what the expectations would be when the U.S. is a regular top eight or top four team in the world:
“This is definitely something we want to break into rather sooner than later. Was it our goal to come here and make it to the quarterfinals? Absolutely. Or, Maybe even surprise some people more and make ti to the semifinals? Absolutely, yes. After the ending last night we have to wait another four years for trying to do that, but I think we can only grow. Our upside is far bigger than a lot of other countries because the game is breaking through on all levels. We have to help the game grow in many different ways: with coaches educations, with referee education , with player development, with connecting the dots between the professional leagues and with U.S. Soccer as well. It’s still a work in progress, but why not try to get into those top eight? We tried before the tournament to get friendlies against different countries, they said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘We don’t want to play this U.S. team because we don’t know how to take them; they might beat us.’ They don’t want to go with a negative experience to the World Cup. Now after this World Cup, a lot of countries look at us differently and say OK, and they give us a game. If it’s South American countries, or it’s European countries; they’re not taking us lightly anymore no matter where we go. So, we’re building that respect more and more. Hopefully, we are ready now to say we are in those top eight, top 10 teams rather sooner than later.”

On which players over 30 he sees being part of the team moving forward:
“There’s no, ‘Thank you and bye.’ It’s always defined by performance, by what you bring to the table. I think there’s a good thing about going into the next year is that we have the opportunity to see a lot of young players come into our platform, into the senior team and we can give them time to show where they’re at right now. So the more experienced players, we can tell them now for the next couple of months, listen, ‘Play in your club environment. We know you inside and out. We know what you bring to the table.’ But, maybe right now for the next couple friendlies that come up and for the next year, we want to see the young players grow and see how far they can make it. Then obviously comes the Gold Cup. We want to go to the Gold Cup with the strongest team possible. Then it’s going to be similar to a World Cup or the last Gold Cup; we want to play our best team possible. We want to see how many of the more experienced players are still in it and how many of them are out. This transition year now coming up is definitely an opportunity to bring a lot of young players through the ranks and see what they are capable to do already.”

On if U.S. players are good enough to win more World Cup games on a talent level and how he can help make them better over the next four years:
“We get benchmarked at the World Cup and our benchmark ended last night. There’s definitely stuff we have to improve and get better in. It’s many things off the field and many things on the field. Playing at that kind of a tempo, at that kind of a rhythm every four days – this has to become the norm, which [it is not yet.] Maybe an example is Fabian Johnson with Hoffenheim, he never played every four days because they don’t play Europa League or Champions League. So he played every week just one game. Now suddenly you hit this kind of level at the highest tempo and your body gives you signals [that it’s too much.] Even though we trained the Send-Off games, players are not used to it yet. So our job as coaches is how can we make it clear that in order to get further and further we need to add the work load, we need to add the competition level, we need to make them understand what recovery time means, what their life off the field plays a role in many things you can achieve in your career. We have to continue to communicate that, to show them and especially start to implement that with our Under-17, Under-18, Under-20, Under-21, which will be the future Olympic team because that’s the next Generation that’s going to break in. The more we get that message to those kids, the more we will benefit a couple of years from now. When you go out in the Round of 16, clearly it gives you the message you have a lot of work still ahead of you.”

On how he can get the players to play higher up the field, toe-to-toe with top teams:
“I think it’s a mentality topic that we have to break through in a certain way because the interesting thing is every time we go down a goal, we shift it up. Then suddenly we build the pressure higher up and give [our opponent] a real good game. There’s still this sense of too much respect often. That’s why I try to play friendly games against European teams. Yes you respect your opponent, but to leave that respect off the field and go and give them the real games. A good example was in Bosnia. We were down 2-0 at halftime and I told the guys, ‘You have a game here. You just have to take it. You Have to shift it up there, put them under pressure and they will be surprised.’ We turned that game around, won 4-3, and Bosnia after the game said, ‘Yeah, actually [the U.S. can do that.’ So, it is still a mentality topic that we are working on. Not dropping to deep, not giving the opponent the first move all the time. Once you concede a goal, what’s your reaction? Now you have to chase the game and suddenly we are capable to do it. We could have turned [the Belgium] game around in the last 15 minutes of extra time. Absolutely, we had enough chances to win it 3-2 in extra time. But why not do it earlier? This is a constant discussion we have. This is why it’s so important that I have [U.S. U-20 MNT head coach] Tab Ramos with us, [U.S. U-18 MNT head coach] Javier Perez with us, [U.S. U-17 MNT head coach] Richie Williams with us, to make them clear that we have to start this process earlier with younger players, so we are not reacting to the opponent, and we try to take the game to them. Play it. Play it and here and there if you lose a game you get a lesson and that will be it. I believe it’s more a mental topic that we have to work on then it is a talent topic.”

On how losing Jozy Altidore changed the team’s tactics for the subsequent games:
“It had an impact definitely because he’s a big part of our spine. He’s a player that keeps two center backs on their toes, he can hold the ball and he gives Clint then more space and more freedom to roam around him and to get the whole game higher up the field. Not having Jozy was not ideal for us; it had an impact, but it’s not a complaint. It is what it is. Injuries happen to other teams as well, so it’s not at all an excuse, but definitely it had an impact.”

On the positives to take away from the World Cup and the first thing to start working on:
“We look into the younger generation first of all. We look into what comes through now in the U-21s, U-20s and U-18s. We have had discussions already with Tab and Javier, and we want to see how much of the talent there is going to be close to break into the senior National Team. This year coming up is an opportunity to work on many different fronts and the next benchmark will be the Gold Cup next summer. We are eager to keep working. We have a tremendous staff built now; a staff that not only works within the United States but works internationally. I think the help of Berti Vogts this last couple of weeks was a real pleasure. It was outstanding with his wisdom that he brings to the table and his eyes on things from the outside was very helpful to us. We have an established network now in Europe that can observe our young players coming through the ranks in Europe, which we have a couple of very good talents coming there as well. We built all that now over the last two, three years. It’s there, it’s working and we continue to build on it, but still in every area we discuss about player development we can do better.”

On how he views the record viewing numbers in the U.S.:
“We are all very excited about that. We are excited seeing soccer breaking through or just getting a lot of recognition in the United States now. A lot of people being on TV and being at fan festivals and getting that connection to millions of people. The game has always been very popular in the United States. Millions of children play soccer. It’s popular in high school, college and the league now is a national league that does tremendously well being built 20 years ago, getting better and better. At the end of the day, like in every country, the locomotive of getting to the next level is the National Team. The National Team, whenever a World Cup comes along, it has to do well, it has to inspire the home country to jump on board. This team now inspired the fans back at home to jump on board and have fun, to enjoy those dramatic games that they saw and keep their fingers crossed and go through emotions positively and negatively. It has been huge what happened the last couple of weeks and the connection to the fans in the United States through you media people. They should be proud of that, the players should be proud of that and the fans should be proud of that too. We saw this building the last two, three years with the American outlaws coming with more and more chapters throughout the country. Our World Cup Qualifying games were all sold out, we had a huge response there. Our Send-Off games before the World Cup, we’re finishing them in Jacksonville in front of more than 50,000 people. That all shows you that soccer’s breaking through. That is deserved recognition without taking anything away from the other big American sports. I think it’s important that people identify themselves with how the American team is playing. The energy and the commitment and tempo that we played with made people proud at home and surprised a lot of people outside of the United States, maybe in Brazil or in Europe. I got many emails and comments from European people in Italy, France and Germany who said, ‘Wow, we never saw this before that you were so close to beat the big ones.’ That’s a compliment and we take that compliment but it makes us even more hungry for the next time.”

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