The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) delivered a convincing performance against Ghana in a friendly match on Tuesday night at GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tennessee. The USMNT scored four goals and kept a clean sheet against the African side, who had been their nemesis in previous World Cup encounters.
Reyna shines with a brace
The star of the show was Gio Reyna, the 20-year-old midfielder who plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany. Reyna scored two goals and assisted another, showing his creativity and flair on the pitch. He opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a curling shot from outside the box that left Ghana’s goalkeeper Abdul Manaf Nurudeen helpless. He doubled his tally in the 34th minute with a powerful header from a corner kick by Christian Pulisic.
Reyna also set up the third goal for the USMNT in the 51st minute, when he dribbled past two defenders and squared the ball for Folarin Balogun, who tapped it in from close range. Balogun, who plays for Arsenal in England, was making his second appearance for the USMNT after switching his allegiance from Nigeria.
Pulisic returns to action
Another highlight of the match was the return of Christian Pulisic, the captain and star player of the USMNT. Pulisic had missed the previous friendly against Germany due to a hamstring injury, but he was fit enough to start against Ghana. He played 63 minutes and showed his quality and leadership on the field. He delivered a perfect corner kick for Reyna’s second goal and also had a few chances of his own, but he was denied by Nurudeen or the post.
Pulisic, who plays for Chelsea in England, is considered one of the best players in the world and his presence is vital for the USMNT’s hopes of qualifying for the 2024 World Cup in Qatar. He received a warm ovation from the fans when he was substituted by Tim Weah.
Turner keeps a clean sheet
The USMNT’s defense was also solid and did not allow Ghana to create many opportunities. The goalkeeper Matt Turner, who plays for New England Revolution in MLS, made some good saves and kept his third clean sheet in four matches for the USMNT. He was well protected by a back four of Sergiño Dest, Kristoffer Lund, Thomas Robinson, and Antonee Robinson.
Turner, who is eligible to play for Lithuania through his grandparents, has been impressive for the USMNT since making his debut in January 2023. He has been competing with Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath for the starting spot in goal.
Ghana struggles to cope
Ghana, on the other hand, had a night to forget as they were outplayed and outclassed by the USMNT. The Black Stars, who are ranked 52nd in the world by FIFA, have a rich history of soccer and have qualified for four consecutive World Cups from 2006 to 2018. They have also faced the USMNT three times at the World Cup, winning twice (in 2006 and 2010) and losing once (in 2014).
However, Ghana has been going through a rough patch lately and failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. They also lost their previous friendly against Brazil 3-0 on Saturday. Their coach Charles Akonnor made several changes to his lineup against the USMNT, but they did not make much difference. Ghana’s best players were Thomas Partey, who plays for Arsenal in England, and Jordan Ayew, who plays for Crystal Palace in England. They tried to create some chances, but they were either off target or saved by Turner.
The USMNT will play their next friendly match against Mexico on November 12 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This will be another test for Gregg Berhalter’s team as they prepare for the final round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers that will start in June 2024.
Ghana will play their next friendly match against Canada on November 14 at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada. This will be another opportunity for Akonnor’s team to improve their performance and regain their confidence.