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Ghana rout of South Korea puts U.S. weekend in different perspective

Jun 9, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

ghana_fans AP

After two days of considering what a 2-1 win over Nigeria meant for the United States’ World Cup readiness, a Group G rival has put that result in a more modest perspective. On Monday, Ghana, who has eliminated the U.S. from the last two World Cups, posted a decisive result over World Cup-qualified South Korea in Miami, with three goals from Jordan Ayew leading the Black Stars to a 4-0 win at Sun Life Stadium.

Coming of the bench early for an injured Majeed Waris, Ayew put his team in front in the 13rd minute  with a shot that deflected off midfielder Ki Song-Yeung. Captain Asamoah Gyan’s one-man transition just before halftime doubled Ghana’s lead moments before intermission.

In the 53rd minute, Ayew, whose brother André started for Kwesi Appiah‘s team, scored from outside the area to extend his side’s lead. One minute from full-time, a close range finish completed the Marseille attacker’s hat trick, giving Ghana a four-goal win in the team’s final showing before facing the U.S. on June 16.

Appiah’s reaction after the match, courtesy of the Associated Press:

”It was a good friendly match,” coach James Appiah said. ”It was important we put out a good team. Everyone who paid to come in here got his money’s worth.”

Even so, Appiah said Ghana’s not quite ready for its game against the United States next Monday in Natal, Brazil.

”It’s fine we won, but we still have some work to do,” Appiah said.

Work to do or not, the bottom line was impressive for the Ghanaians, but for a U.S. fan, impressed may be one of an array of reactions to the lopsided result. Curiosity, concern, trepidation – after seeing what’s become a bogey team rout another World Cup qualifier one week before they face the U.S., fans would be rightfully concerned how their team’s shown against Nigeria compares to Ghana’s current level.

These are just friendlies, so there’s only so worried anybody should get about the results, yet the opponent Ghana routed makes it hard to dismiss outcome. Whereas two weeks ago the U.S. was having trouble breaking down Azerbaijan, Ghana just embarrassed a team that’s going to Brazil – one that made it to the Round of 16 four years ago. And though the Black Stars lost 1-0 to the Netherlands last week, that was a close match against a level of competition the U.S. hasn’t in its buildup. Given that match was in Rotterdam, the scoreline looks borderline impressive.

There’s a bottom line here that serves as a wet blanket for U.S. expectations. After a performance against Nigeria that was mildly lauded, the Americans don’t look so great anymore. That feels harsh  given these are only friendlies, the teams aren’t facing each other, and the game that counts is still seven days off, but there just isn’t any good news for the U.S. in a 4-0 win by Ghana.

If he and staff were likely on site in Miami, Jurgen Klinsmann got a new idea of what his team will be up against next Monday in Natal. Regardless, Ghana certainly looks more dangerous now than they did a few hours ago.


  1. doe22us - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Bang bang USA you are up next.

  2. mknow406a - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Of that goals I saw (I only saw the first 3), there were two that a typical 3rd division keeper could have stopped… or at the very least gotten close to. The third goal was very weak. The second not much better. Nothing would happen for long stretches, with neither team creating anything, then Ghana would get a break, take a weak shot from outside the 18 and goal. The Koreans got very rattled and lost all shape… which happens to a team when it thinks it must prevent any and all shots from reaching the frame. Overall, the scoreline maybe flattering, but IMO it is very difficult to gauge anything about Ghana, either positive or negative, from a match like this… and let’s keep this in perspective. In qualifiers, Korea lost to Iran at home and drew with Lebannon and Uzbekistan… that’s not exactly setting the soccer world on fire.

    • scoochpooch - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      South Korea got rattled because they play a terrible brand of soccer that makes the World Cup inferior to solely European and SAmerican competiitions. They basically bunker in, reduce any scoring chances, while hoping their opponent grants them an own goal or some other terrible mishap occurs. Once the opponent scores, they basically have no clue what to do.
      I’m dreading watching any matches involving South Korea, Greece, and a few others that embrace this boring strategy.

  3. jdfsquared - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    The score on Monday, June 16 is the only one that matters.

  4. tridecagon - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    When I read the headline, I expected to see something like 8-0. This is not worrying. At all.

    See you Monday, Ghana….

  5. psuhoffman - Jun 10, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    USA beat South Korea 2-0 with a b-side a few months ago. This article is a huge over reaction. Sure it would have been better if Ghana looked awful but its not like they beat Italy 4-0. Chill out

  6. footydoc - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Reblogged this on Pitch Perfect and commented:
    Here is more to think about.

    In the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Nigeria beats Mali 4-1 and Mali goes on to a third place finish by beating Ghana 3-1. So there’s that.

    One thing that is always true about African teams is they are wildly unpredictable – going from brilliant to absolutely awful depending on the day.

    In that same tourney, Ghana beats Burkina Faso on PKs! After a 1-1 finish.

    • tosinho - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Actually, Burkina Faso beat Ghana on penalties… after they dominated Ghana in the match. It was dodgy refereeing decision that kept Ghana in the game prior to penalties in the first place.

      • footydoc - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        You’re right, I typed it backwards!

  7. doe22us - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    I expect to see all of you back here next week Monday or a related article.

  8. el timo - Jun 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Every US player knows for sure that, come Monday, Ghana will play like their lives depend on it. They always do. If the US team match that intensity, we will win.

  9. jucam1 - Jun 10, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I alwYs find it funny when ANYONE who roots for a Concacaf team says that other conferences had an easy way in to the cup. Concacaf is a joke to the other conferences that have to play good teams to get in. This is not the US’s fault, but it us the main reason why Mexico has never gotten past the second round. South Korea might have had an easy way in to the cup, but not easier than the US or Mexico who did everything possible not to qualify. I think Ghana handles the US 3-1 because the US defense win’t be able to handle their speed on the wings and up front. But this is an experience building cup for the US anyway, they won’t win a game in this cup but come back with a vengeance in ’18

  10. reformed2012 - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    Klinsmann knows that he needs to get 4 pts in the first two games so that he can throw the 3rd game for his fatherland.

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