The US vs Italy match was painful to watch–a lot of fouls, a lot of intensity, a lot of scary attacks on goal by the Italians, especially the last 20 minutes, where the US was obviously tired and they were playing 9 men against Italy’s 10. It was heartening to see the US team actually struggling this time and battling without looking scared and nervous like the first game–but let’s be honest here: we didn’t even score that one goal we got against Italy (although Beasley’s withdrawn goal was certainly a legit strike). It was an ugly battle, I felt drained afterwards–all the red cards and whistle blows. I was happy we played the way we did–and we still have a chance to advance. Ain’t nothing wrong with a draw game. But still–I don’t feel like the US team has yet shown much soul behind their playing–they don’t play like they really want it. They play like they’re hoping it will fall into their lap.
Ghana, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh life into Group E. Their upset over the Czech Republic wasn’t luck–they dominated that game, they looked hungrier and more spirited–they played the way I wish the US team could play. They play with heart. Whatever the commentators might have said, in the Italy vs Ghana match, I thought Ghana played amazing, especially considering it was their first World Cup game. Again, they played with fire and energy–unfortunately, they just couldn’t connect their goals, and Italy could. But they certainly gave Italy a match, and they learned from that match and came over the Czech Republic with the same passion.
This may sound unpatriotic–not that I care–but I think there might be a part of me rooting for the Ghana team when they play against the US on Thursday. They’re playing like they want it, they’re playing like a team. The US–I think we could play like a team. But I don’t think it helps when our coach calls out players to the media. Yeah, our players played horribly against Czech. But that doesn’t mean the coach needs to name them out on television. That’s real encouraging and positive for the team. Honestly, I think the guy is a douche bag.
Anyway, cheers to Ghana for their spirit thus far, and here’s to hoping they can draw out the US team to play the same.