Published in the Akron Beacon Journal on June 27, 2010
Ghana eliminates United States from World Cup
World Cup analysis with University of Akron men's soccer coach Caleb Porter on the United States Round of 16 game, a 2-1 loss in overtime Saturday to Ghana that eliminated the Americans from the tournament.
ABJ: What are your thoughts on the game?
CP: ''I think overall it was disappointing. I think the U.S. will feel good about the fact they got out of the group, but they had an opportunity to move further and do something special. The goal was to go further in the tournament, but, unfortunately, it was the same old story — allowing an early goal and having to go into halftime and adjust your shape. At the end of the day, it came back to haunt them. You knew eventually their luck was going to run out. The U.S. came out in the first half and was very flat. Ghana was able to get on the ball and get a goal early and create other chances. This team psychologically had something missing for them to completely lose focus early in games.''
ABJ: U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan scored a goal off a penalty kick in the 62nd minute. It was his third goal of the tournament. What can you say about his overall performance in the World Cup?
CP: ''I thought Landon was tremendous, and he showed why he is being recognized as one of the top players we have ever produced in the U.S. His experience showed and he did some special things. I thought Clint Dempsey had a great tournament as well. Those two guys were the guys that carried us.''
ABJ: How do you think the Americans' performance in this World Cup will affect the sport of soccer in the U.S. in the coming years?
CP: ''I feel good as a country, because I think we are making progress. Our standards are getting higher. I know Coach [Bob] Bradley and the players are not satisfied. I think clearly visibility has been raised, and the excitement and attention surrounding this team is at an all-time high. There will be a lot of positives to come from this World Cup. I think we gained some respect from fans in our country and fans around the world.''
ABJ: What happened on the two goals the Americans allowed to Ghana's Kevin Prince Boateng and Asamoah Gyan?
CP: ''Good teams will punish you if you make mistakes. It was disappointing when Ricardo Clark lost the ball in a dangerous area (near midfield). They turned that into a great play (by Boateng in the fifth minute). In the back, we have to be better individually. We have to put out those fires. I think individually they might have been more athletic than us. That was a bad way to start a game. On the second goal (by Gyan in the 93rd minute), we fell asleep. It was a great play on (Gyan's) part.''