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USA vs. Ghana: Scouting Ghana

The World Cup rivals battle once again, with each side missing several regulars.

Portugal v Ghana: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team takes on Ghana in a Gold Cup tune-up on Saturday, July 1st. Ghana is missing several of its European stars, including Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, and Afriyie Acquah. The Black Stars are 2-2-1 in their past five matches. Ghana typically looks to play quickly and is unlikely to sit back and let the USMNT control the match.

Ghana Roster:

Goalkeepers: Addo Joseph (Aduana Stars) and Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars)

Defenders: Lumor Agbenyenu (Munich 1860, Germany),Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew SC), Nicholas Opoku (Berekum Chelsea), Jerry Akaminko ( Eskiserhispor, Turkey), John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumalia (Al Gharafa, Qatar), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC), Samuel Sarfo (Liberty, Ghana)

Midfielders: Mohammed Abu (Columbus Crew SC), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Ofori Ebenezer (Stuttgart, Germany), Kwadwo Poku (FC Miami), Winful Kwaku Cobbinah (Hearts of Oak), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), Thomas Agyepong (NAC Breda, The Netherlands), Gershon Koffie (New England Revolution)

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Alhi, UAE), Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Majeed Abdul Waris (Lorient FC, France) and David Accam (Chicago Fire)

It‘s unclear who will start in goal for Ghana. Both Addo Joseph and Richard Ofori are inexperienced and neither appears to have a clear edge over the other. Expect Columbus Crew center back Jonathan Mensah to anchor the backline for Ghana. Mensah is strong in the air, but his positioning is often poor. Look for center back John Boye to partner with Mensah. Boye is a strong tackler but struggles with the ball at his feet.

Columbus defender Harrison Afful should get the nod at right back. Afful accelerates very quickly and will look to join the attack. Ghana has few natural left backs on the roster which will likely lead to the debut of Lumor. The 1860 Munich youngster can play either left back or left midfield and is a surprisingly skilled dribbler.

In central midfield, look for Gershon Koffie and and Ofori Ebenezer to start. Koffie is a solid two way midfielder who features for the New England Revolution. The battles between Koffie and probable U.S. starter Kelyn Rowe could be key.

Stuttgart’s Ofori Ebenezer is a hard tackling defensive midfielder with an excellent first touch.

Look for Frank Acheampong and Thomas Agyepong to start on the wings. Acheampong has blistering pace and a high work rate, although his passing and finishing need to improve.

Thomas Agyepong has never played for Ghana, but this would be a perfect match for him to debut. Agyepong is similar to Acheampong, as both are naturally left footed players with great potential. Agyepong is an excellent dribbler, but his shooting is poor.

Chicago Fire forward David Accam has blistering pace and impressive dribbling skill. Accam is tied for third among MLS scoring leaders. He will look to use his speed to stretch the U.S. backline. Striker Asamoah Gyan will be vital to the Ghanaian attack. He is Ghana’s all time leading goal scorer (50) and scored the match winner to eliminate the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup. Gyan is deadly inside the eighteen.

On paper, the USMNT is marginally more talented than Ghana. Expect a close match that should serve as a good Gold Cup warmup for the USMNT.