The U.S. national team’s future is looking quite alright after all, if Saturday’s 2-1 victory, over Ghana, by Bruce Arena’s “B-team” Gold Cup squad is any indication.
Dom Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta got the goals for an experimental side which should see plenty of minutes starting next Saturday when the 2017 CONCACAF tournament kicks off.
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The story of the first half was Dwyer. The 26-year-old English-born striker became an American citizen in March and made his USMNT debut on Saturday. After missing a pair of chances inside his first 15 minutes in the Red, White and Blue, Sporting Kansas City’s star striker hit pay dirt in the 19th minute (WATCH HERE).
Joe Corona fired from well outside the penalty area, his shot blocked and sent high into the air by a Ghanaian defender. Dwyer, who was only held onside by a late-arriving defender, lashed at the waist-high ball with his left foot, smashing it past Richard Ofori Antwi for a debut goal.
Ghana’s way back into the game came and went in first-half stoppage time, as Jorge Villafaña got wrong side of his man and tugged at his jersey, gifting the Black Stars a penalty in the process. Brad Guzan bailed out the Santos Laguna left back with a save at his left-hand post to deny Asamoah Gyan with the final kick of the opening 45 minutes.
The story of the second half way the continued emergence of Acosta as arguably the USMNT’s best central midfielder, at the age of 21. Partnering Dax McCarty in the middle of the park, Acosta showed complete control of the game’s tempo and got himself on the scoresheet with a stunning free kick in the 52nd minute.
Ghana pulled a goal back right on the hour mark, as Gyan’s free kick upstaged that of Acosta. Perfectly placed and hit with power, Guzan was never getting to the upper-90 to deny Ghana’s all-time record goalscorer.
The Yanks kick off their Gold Cup campaign next Saturday, in Nashville, against Panama.