Sports News of Sunday, 2 July 2017
Ghana suffered another friendly defeat on Saturday whey they were beaten 2-1 by the USA in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Dominic Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta scored both goals for the Yankees with Asamoah Gyan getting the consolation for the Black Stars.
Here the five things we learned from the game.
1. Nicholas Opoku proves home-based talents can make a difference
The former Ghana U20 centre back who plies his trade locally with Berekum Chelsea made a huge statement for his colleagues in the Ghana Premier League who are currently in the national team.
The US men’s national team netted very early in the game and were making a lot of incursions to get a second which made Ghana’s head coach Kwesi Appiah introduce Nicholas in the 40th minute of the game.
The 21 year old’s performance on his maiden debut convinced many he should have even started the game since Ghana were without defenders like Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful, Daniel Amartey amongst others.
His clearances, blockages and interceptions helped Ghana to keep the scoreline at 2-1. It could have been more.
2. Richard Ofori needs to do more as No.1
Ghana’s 2-1 loss to the United States of America gave another opportunity to assess the two times Ghana Premier League best goalkeeper as the search for a substantive first choice for the Black Stars continues.
The 24 year old shot stopper after keeping a clean sheet in the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 qualifier against Ethiopia was expected to at least prove he is ready to man Ghana’s post as the number one but the second goal he conceded against the Yanks raised question marks.
The Wa All Stars goalie has a lot more to do if he wants to remain the first choice goalkeeper for Ghana’s national team.
3. Asamoah Gyan loves to do things the hard way:
Ghana’s all time top scorer is always known for making things better or bad the hard way during matches and the international friendly against United States of America is no exception of such.
The Al Ahli Dubai striker vowed not to take penalties in regulation period of matches after missing a penalty kick in the last minute of Ghana’s quarter finals fixture against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
It was Gyan once again as he broke his own vow when Ghana were awarded a penalty in the last minute of the first half of the friendly against the Yanks on Saturday. He stepped up but missed the spot kick.
In the 60th minute, the 50+1 goal hero redeemed himself with a sublime free-kick as the consolation for the Black Stars.
4. Kwesi Appiah must build a formidable second string side
Ghana faced the United States of America with a team full of new faces after most of the first team players missed the trip to the North American nation.
It was more of a second string side that lost 2-1 to the Yanks team ‘B’ on Saturday.
Earlier on, Ghana had lost 1-0 to a home based Mexico national team with same set of players even though there were few changes against the United States.
Both defeats have indicated the head coach of the Black Stars, Kwesi Appiah must focus on building a strong team ‘B’ for Ghana going forward.
5. Ghana’s football rivalry with the USA to stand for years to come
Ghana and United States of America engaged in many friendlies before the first competitive one in the group stages of the World Cup 2006 in Germany where the former triumphed with a 2-1 scoreline.
Four years on in 2010 at same football event, World Cup they were 2-1 winners over the United States of America once again this time in the round of 16.
Ghana’s match winner was scored in the extra leaving many Yanks in pain.
Four years later, the USA got a sweet victory over the Black Stars in Brazil at the World Cup.
Saturday’s friendly was the best opportunity for the Yanks to equalize the head to head and they got just that after their 2-1 win.
The game was so important to the United States of America despite it being a friendly.
The next game between the two teams whether competitive or friendly will still be very important and crunchy.