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USA vs Ghana, 2017 friendly: What we learned

A few players made strong cases for themselves.

Ghana v United States Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

In their only game before the Gold Cup, the United States defeated their World Cup nemesis Ghana 2-1. Although the game meant nothing in the grand scheme of things, it is always nice to beat Ghana. But, going forward, there was a lot to take from this game.

Here’s what we learned from the USMNT’s performance:

Arena’s Tactics

No matter the players and no matter the occasion, Bruce Arena sets out a very organized team. Every player knows his role and they all perfected it versus Ghana.

In this particular game, Arena was able to use a one forward system, which allowed him to use three center midfielders. Having Dom Dwyer up top was huge because he does have the ability to play up front all by himself. But, by playing with three center mids, the USMNT completely outnumbered and suffocated Ghana in the middle and by doing so, they controlled the game.

This game really showed Arena’s ability to adapt and conquer. We saw him play different formations and styles versus Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago too. It shows Arena can change the system and the tactics but still have the players focused and organized. This is completely different from the Jurgen Klinsmann era, where not one player knew what they were supposed to do.

It is not so much that Arena is a tactical genius, but he does a very good job at setting his team out. He has great attention to even the smallest detail and every USMNT squad from here on out will be set out with a winning gameplan.

The Dwyer and Acosta Show

We know this Gold Cup is really a trial run for some players. With that being said, not all will make the team in Russia if the U.S. qualifies. However, there were two players that really stood out and made strong cases for themselves.

Dom Dwyer scoring on his debut was something a lot of young Americans dream about.

He showed not only his ability to lead a one-man frontline for the U.S., but he showed he can be their guy going forward. He was energetic, created chances, was a menace to deal with, and ultimately scored a significant goal. If one thing is certain, that was the best forward display we have seen from a USMNT forward in recent games. Dwyer still has a lot to prove, but he got off to a great start versus Ghana.

The USMNT might have just found their Michael Bradley replacement and their center midfielder of the future in Kellyn Acosta. Acosta completely bossed the midfield for the U.S., doing everything you could possibly want from a center mid, not to mention his stunning free kick goal.

Acosta has a real shot to be a key figure for this team for the next couple of years. He is very young and a really promising talent.

Dwyer and Acosta both showed us they can be key contributors for this team going forward. That is what we learned from this friendly versus Ghana, what did you take from this game?