The USMNT got a measure of revenge against Ghana with a 2-1 friendly win in front of 28,494 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, CT, in a tune-up for the Gold Cup. Dom Dwyer made his debut and provided every bit the danger you’d expect from the former Orlando City (USL version) striker, scoring a goal, drawing what should have been given as a penalty, and generally creating havoc that the Ghanaian back line struggled to deal with throughout the game. Kellyn Acosta added a goal on a superb free kick, Brad Guzan stopped a penalty
Bruce Arena sent out a 4-2-3-1 look with Brad Guzan in net and a back line of (L-R) Jorge Villafana, Matt Besler, Matt Hedges, and Graham Zusi, with Kellyn Acosta and Dax McCarty in the defensive midfield. Kelyn Rowe, Joe Corona, and Paul Arriola were the attackers under Dwyer up top.
It didn’t take long for Dwyer to get involved. He had a number of near misses early but finally took advantage of Villafana’s hard work to score the opener. Villafana took the ball away, dribbled into the area and found Corona. His shot was deflected and Villafana got a touch that popped up for Dwyer to volley into the top of the net in the 19th minute.
The Yanks and Black Stars played a fairly open game, with Ghana getting forward and earning several early set pieces. But neither side could find the net for the rest of the first half. It was the Black Stars with the best opportunity in first-half stoppage time. The Ghanaians were awarded a penalty and Asamoah Gyan stepped up to the spot. He sent his kick to Guzan’s left but the U.S. keeper was able to get a hand on it to keep it 1-0 at the break.
The USMNT doubled the lead just seven minutes after the restart. Rowe took a pass from Dwyer and cut back against the grain to set himself up for a shot, only to be knocked down just outside the area. Acosta curled the kick around the Ghana wall inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Dwyer got in again in the 58th after a Ghana turnover allowed him to get in behind. Richard Ofori made a sliding save to keep the deficit at two. It was an important save, as it turned out.
Just two minutes later, Villafana took a silly foul above the box, setting up a free kick for the Black Stars. Gyan stepped up again and this time he made a brilliant strike into the upper 90. Guzan got the barest of touches on the curling effort but he didn’t get enough of it to stop it going in.
At 2-1, the game opened up and Bruce Arena made several substitutions, including giving Kenny Saief his first cap with the USMNT. The Black Stars got down both wings but had trouble finding the final ball into the box.
The U.S. had a golden chance to put it away late when substitute Jordan Morris got loose down the left and crossed to the back post for a wide-open Alejandro Bedoya, who headed it with power, but Ofori made a huge save to deny the Union midfielder.
That was the last quality chance for either team and the whistle eventually blew on a somewhat cathartic U.S. win. It was just the second win for the USMNT over the African nation (2-3-0).
Next up is a Gold Cup group stage battle with Panama a week from today in Nashville at 4:30 p.m. ET.