The World Cup has begun and everyone in the United States is extremely excited about the win over Ghana in their opening match. Especially since Ghana has beaten the US in the past two World Cup matches. This was a big win for the US Men’s National Team and I’m just as excited to see them grab three points for the win but I’m going to bring everyone back down to earth a little bit.
Even though they came up big against Ghana in their opening match they were extremely lucky. I normally say that a win is a win but watching the US Men’s National Team play yesterday was an eye opener.
Ghana gave them everything they could handle. They had the US running around like patients in an insane asylum. The United States did not control the pace of the game, they couldn’t retain possession of the ball after the first ten minutes and they only had eight total shots. Conversely, Ghana held the ball for 60% of the game and had 21 shots. The United States looked slow, lethargic and lacked the one on one ball skills to create shot opportunities.
They allowed Ghana to play their game instead of controlling the pace and tempo themselves. Even though I am extremely happy to see the US come out on top in their opening match that was the easiest of the three teams they will face in the Group Stage.
Their next match will be Sunday against Portugal. Even though Germany completely dismantled Portugal in their opening match the US will have their hands full on Sunday. The US does have the goal keeper that can keep them in the game but their defense and midfield cannot play like they did against Ghana. If they do, the outcome will not be pretty.
They are also reaching deep on their bench because of hamstring injuries suffered by a couple of their starters. We’ll see how their game plan changes but they need to play with a sense of urgency against Portugal and Germany if they want to make it out of the Group Stage alive.
I am cautiously optimistic about the next two games for the US. I will be cheering them on when they take the field but for those of you that don’t normally follow soccer, you need to know that if they don’t control the midfield, crate more opportunities and take more shots on goal against Portugal and Germany there won’t be much to cheer about.