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.