USA vs. Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg South Africa 2:30 PM EST Saturday June 26, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: USA 2.55 / Ghana 2.70 / Draw 3.20
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: USA +145 / Ghana +185 / Draw +210
In the late playoff game on Saturday night the USA takes on Ghana and the winner will advance to the semifinals. To say the Americans made the round if 16 in dramatic fashion is an understatement, as they needed a goal from Landon Donovan in the 91st minute to beat Algeria. Ghana lost in their last group match, but luckily the Australians scored an upset against Serbia, which vaulted Ghana to the knockout stage.
Even though many though Ivory Coast, Nigeria, or Cameroon had the best chance out of any African nation to do well in South Africa it is Ghana that is the only team from Africa that made the round of 16.
The Americans may have a little payback in mind, as Ghana is the team that knocked them out of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
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In their last group matches on Thursday the USA beat Algeria 1-0 and Ghana lost 1-0 to Germany.
In the Americans win over Algeria the time of possession was pretty even and so were the shots on goal. However, the USA had more scoring chances and they blew a few golden opportunities to score in the match. They cannot let that happen against Ghana, as they have to take advantage of the scoring chances they get. They blew a few defensive assignments, yet again, and if the Americans do that against Ghana it may cost them.
Ghana did lose their last group match to Germany, but the time of possession was pretty even and they took more shots than the Germans (17 to 13). They had a few chances to score, but their lack of a world-class striker hurt them and may do again in this match. They played defensively the second half and looked a little tired even though they are a young squad.
Since Ghana is the last remaining squad from Africa they will have a big home field advantage and the Americans will have to brace for that.
USA Recent Form:
6/12/2010 USA 1 England 1 (World Cup)
6/18/2010 USA 2 Slovenia 2 (World Cup)
6/23/2010 USA 1 Algeria 0 (World Cup)
Ghana Recent Form:
6/13/2010 Ghana 1 Serbia 0 (World Cup)
6/19/2010 Ghana 1 Australia 1 (World Cup)
6/23/2010 Ghana 0 Germany 1 (World Cup)
Defender Oguchi Onyewu did not play in the Algeria match and the Americans could really use him against Ghana. He will be a match time decision.
Landon Donovan has scored 2 goals in the American’s last 2 matches and he will be counted on to provide some offense again. He has been creating space for himself and making some good runs and I think he will score in this match.
Ghana striker Asamoag Gyan has scored both of the goals for his squad in the tourney and the US defense has to key on him. The USA defense has been decent, but in their last 2 matches they have made some big errors and luckily it did not cost them a goal against Algeria. The back line cannot give the ball away, as they have done too many times in South Africa.
USA G Tim Howard has played well in the World Cup and he made a great save off a point blank shot and started the counter-attack, which Donovan finished with the injury time goal. Since the defense will shore up for this HUGE match Howard will keep a clean sheet for the second match in a row.
Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey both had a few chances to find the back of the net in the Algeria match and they have to tickle the twine when they are given the opportunities. Look for one of them to score in this match.
Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu played great in the midfield against Algeria and they will do that again in this match and press forward on offense.
Ghana G Richard Kingson will have to play well, as he will likely get peppered in this match, but he will not keep a clean sheet.
Jason’s Pick: Ghana will have the home crowd behind them so the USA will have to keep them from scoring an early goal. I think they will do that, as the USA has tons of confidence and will not waster their scoring chances like they did against Algeria. Look for the USA to lay better defense, control the ball in the midfield, and win this match by a score of 1-0 or 2-0 advancing to the quarterfinals.