Hello there! My name is Kelby Ferrell. I was recently offered a chance to keep you informed and up to date on all of the excitement that is happening in Brazil during the World Cup 2014 this summer. I graciously accepted the offer. Just a little about myself before we get started. I'm a graduate of Belfry High School in Kentucky where I captained the varsity soccer team my junior and senior years. As you can imagine, I live and breathe soccer. I am a passionate follower of the United States Men's National Team (USMNT), and I would love to share my knowledge and analysis of the team and the entire World Cup with you. So let's get started.
If you follow the US team at all, then you're probably aware that coach Jurgen Klinsmann excluded American superstar Landon Donovan from the World Cup roster. Donovan has scored more goals and recorded more assists than any other player in USMNT history. American fans have become outraged at the coach's decision, doubting his judgement. Regardless, they had to accept that they would not be cheering on their favorite player this summer.
On June 16, the USMNT faced a familiar foe for their first game of the World Cup 2014 -- Ghana. In the last two World Cups, (2006 & 2010), Ghana not only beat The US, but they were the team that eliminated them from the competitions. Most USA fans will agree that Ghana is their most hated team, and are desperate for revenge. On the evening of the 16th, their dream of revenge was fulfilled.
The game opened up quickly -- very quickly, actually. In just 34 seconds, American captain Clint Dempsey calmly slotted a left footed shot into the net. The goal is the fastest of the World Cup so far. The Americans held on to their 1-0 lead for almost the entire game.
With roughly eight minutes left of the 90 minute match, Ghanaian forward Andre Ayew finally beat the US defense and scored the equalizing goal. With a draw, the US would only earn one point instead of three. With four minutes remaining, 21 year old John Brooks headed a corner kick delivered by Graham Zusi into the goal. The US held on for the 2-1 victory and earned all three points.
Along with the positives, the game also produced its share of negatives for Team USA -- including one BIG negative. Twenty-three minutes into the game, Jozy Altidore dropped to the ground, clinching the back of his thigh. Altidore is arguably the best goal-scorer on this US squad, so this is obviously a huge blow to the team. He was later diagnosed with a hamstring tear. The severity of the tear is still unclear, so it's possible that he could return for World Cup play. I'll be sure to keep you updated on Altidore's injury.
Overall, it was a fantastic start to the tournament for the US. On June 22, they'll face Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of Portugal in their second game of the Group Stage (which I'll explain more in my next post). A win for the US would be absolutely fantastic.
Stay tuned, Kelby