The United States men’s national team beat their old World Cup rivals Ghana, 2-1, in a Gold Cup preparation friendly in East Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday afternoon. Two first-time USMNT goal scorers in Dom Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta led the U.S. to victory.
Early in the first half it was the Dom Dwyer Show and we all had front row seats. After missing on two half-chances to score, he received a third just before the 20-minute mark after some nice high pressure and he didn’t let it go to waste. A Joe Corona shot from distance deflected of Jorge Villafana, who had helped win the ball previously, and found its way to Dwyer’s left foot which lashed it into the back of the net with authority.
The U.S. controlled the majority of the play after the goal, led by Kellyn Acosta and Dax McCarty locking down the midfield and even forcing Ghana into a tactical switch around the half-hour mark. Dwyer continued to be a pest and should’ve forced the opposing goalkeeper to be sent off as he was sent in alone on goal only to be tackled by Richard Ofori in a highly dangerous manner. The referee only showed a yellow, presumably being lenient during a friendly.
Ghana would respond just before halftime when the referee gifted them a penalty after Jorge Villafana was called for a foul in the box that replays showed was a clear dive. However, Brad Guzan pushed Asamoah Gyan’s penalty away to preserve the 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
The second half started much of the same way with the U.S. getting a good chunk of the possession. They would double their lead not long into the half as Acosta would join the “first USMNT goal club” with a fantastic low curling free kick that left the Ghanaian keeper helpless.
Free kicks would be the soup du jour of the half as Ghana would cut the lead in half with a spectacular dead ball strike of their own through Gyan a few minutes after.
Various substitutions and tactical shifts by both teams slowed the play down to a crawl as many friendlies do.