Preview: Ghana to salvage pride against USA
Black Stars coach, Chris Hughton, is determined to guard Ghana’s reputation when his charges take on USA in another international friendly at the Nashville SC’s Geodis Park at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.
The Stars will go into this game hoping to salvage some pride following their 0-2 loss to Mexico last Sunday.
After the Mexico defeat, a disappointed Hughton promised not to go down for the second time. He is, therefore, expected to deploy a new strategy that would help him tame the Americans in their own backyard.
Thankfully, the Black Stars seem to have what it takes to defeat USA, having won four out of the last six clashes against The Yanks, who have been lucky twice.
Ghana’s famous victory over USA at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is still fresh in the memories of most Ghanaians, while USA’s sweet revenge in their rubber match at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil remains a blot.
Before then, the Stars had burst the bubble of the yankees with a memorable 2-1 win at the Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup, courtesy goals by Haminu Draman and skipper Stephen Appiah.
After Brazil 2014, The Yanks again beat the Black Stars 2-1 in an international friendly in 2017 at the Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, making it two straight defeats over Ghana in their last two encounters.
But even though today’s game is a warm-up exercise merely for the records, both teams will certainly play their hearts out to secure the bragging rights.
Just as Ghana lost to America’s neighbours Mexico, Germany also defeated USA 3-1 in a similar friendly last Saturday. Both teams will, therefore, fight for an important victory to boost their recovery.
For the Black Stars, it will be an opportunity to avoid a third straight defeat in the hands of the Yanks, while the host would be looking to make their home fans happy after last Saturday’s disappointing defeat.
This time around, the team would be without talents such as Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley and Tim Howard who contributed to the Stars’ defeat at Brazil 2014.
However, Coach Gregg Berhalter will still have the luxury of featuring other young talented stars, including Ivan Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Mark McKenzie, Johnny Cardoso, Chris Ricards and Sergino Dest in this tough assignment.
Coach Hughton, on the other hand, could opt for a two-prong attacking option, comprising hard-running Antoine Semenyo and Inaki Williams, with support from Jordan Ayew and Ernest Nuamah on the flanks, while Kudus Mohammed, Thomas Partey, and Salis Abdul Samed form a strong link between the defence and the attack.
Obviously, Hughton, who tasted his first defeat last Sunday, will do everything in his power to avoid another setback against sworn rivals USA in enemy territory.
And with barely three months to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire, skipper Thomas Partey and his colleagues need to play above themselves to ensure a morale-boosting result.