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World Cup 2014: Ghana 1 USA 2

I am sure out friends over Stars and Stripes FC have a ton to say on the topic but I need to weigh in. Sticking my nose where it may not belong is the American way after all!?

Michael Steele

While I understand this is not Milan related, it is worth the discussion and they did play against Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, and Kevin Prince Boateng.  Truth be told Ghana fielded more Milan players then Italy did on the weekend, but a different topic for a different day.  The real issue I need to bring up is the United States performance and what it meant to a Nation and what it means for the progress of football, or soccer, in this country!

A few weeks back Jurgen Klinsmann said something resonated with me, the US needed change their culture of expectation.  Losing to Ghana in the first knockout round should not have been something to proud of, it should have been a travesty.  He is right, 100% right!  Now I for one and all about getting win, winning ugly, and I can even appreciate that the lack of American identity in football means this sort of resiliency is welcome and enjoyed.  My point is that we as fans need to know look at this performance with a critical eye, we can high give and celebrate, but we need to also breath of sigh of relief because  that was an ugly fortunate performance that garnered victory!

The formation made sense, and the injury to Altidore was tragic.  Johanssen removed any possibility of hold up play and possession, given the opportunity again Klinsmann probably plays Wondolowski, but I say that in the benefit of hindsight. Bradley was his usual busy self, but Beckerman and Beasley were not existent on both sides of the ball and they, or more importantly their position can be improved.  My biggest gripe though was not that they only really played 10 minutes of fluid football, it was that when the going got tough they couldn't muster a response.  They couldn't pass out of the back, they couldn't hold the ball, and they couldn't win the ball in the center of the pitch.

Now it wasn't all bad, they defended well and took advantage of their only two truly clear cut chances.  Few teams can say that this World Cup, but if the US is going to be taken seriously the team and fans shouldn't celebrate this win as the end all.  It needs to be a building block to something better, yes we won, but we were fortunate do so and the team needs to improve.  It is that simple, many are getting it:

Klinsmann: "It showed us a lot of areas we have to do better the second game. We gave Ghana too much of the game."

Now we as fans have to get it too, a moral victory and two bad losses is a ticket home.  It won't be easy, not with the hamstring pulls worse than Milan, but this team has confidence now and that is a start.  We as fans do too and I couldn't be more proud of my friends and people leaving work to watch the World Cup...the game is gaining ground!