June 27, 2010

Ghana 2, USA 1 [OT]: This might be a sign of the emerging base of true soccer fans in America: that a tactical mistake by the coach of the national team could be a subject of discussion, as a cause for blame for the team's early departure. Bradley's decision to start Ricardo Clark would have a questionable move the first time it happened, since there is nothing in his pedigree or career that suggests he belongs on the national team to begin with, much less start in the World Cup (even if he was a superstar, he's missed most of the last year with injuries, and has not been able to get into the lineup on his club team in Germany).

Another sign: I saw the game at a diner/bar in Valdez, Alaska, where the assembled mass of riggers, teamsters and their families watched the game in rapt attention. I don't know how they reacted when Gyan scored in extra time to put Ghana ahead, or when the ensuing futility of Team USA's comeback bid proved itself out, as I was on a long coach ride to the Copper River Valley, but I take it I didn't miss a thing. FWIW, Ghana is going to have to elevate its game enormously to beat Uruguay in the quarterfinals next Friday.

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