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Ghana goalie block U.S. attempt to score Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson saves a shot from United States' Benny Feilhaber during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between the United States and Ghana on June 26, 2010. (Photo: Alessandra Tarantino/AP Images)

Knockout Blow

The U.S. team's overtime loss sends it out of the World Cup

By Sean Price | null null , null
Jun 26, 2010 - Manhattan, New York, USA - Fans look on as the US loses to Ghana, 2-1 in the 2010 World Cup at Nevada Smiths on Third Avenue (Photo:  Zuma/NewsCom)<br />
Jun 26, 2010 - Manhattan, New York, USA - Fans look on as the US loses to Ghana, 2-1 in the 2010 World Cup at Nevada Smiths on Third Avenue (Photo:  Zuma/NewsCom)

The U.S. players had been the escape artists of the World Cup tournament. Time after time, the Yanks narrowly avoided losing. But their come-from-behind magic finally failed against Ghana. The Black Stars beat the U.S. in overtime Saturday, 2-1.

This U.S. team became famous for last-minute heroics. The Yanks came from behind against England to tie. In the second game, the team scored two goals in the second half to tie Slovenia. Then the U.S. pulled out a win against Algeria with just three minutes left.

That victory put the Yanks into the tournament's second, or "knockout," round. The U.S. seemed to start the game on the wrong foot. Ghana scored a goal five minutes into the game. But U.S. forward Landon Donovan tied things up 1-1 early in the second half on a penalty kick.

The game remained tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time. Then Ghana scored in the third minute of overtime. The Yanks tried furiously to match Ghana's goal, but their efforts came up short.

Replay of World Cups Past

In some ways, the game felt like a replay of four years ago. In 2006, Ghana defeated the United States to send the Yanks home in the first round of the World Cup.

But this defeat seemed like a bigger blow to American players. They had hoped to at least reach the quarterfinals, as they did in 2002.

"There's a pretty empty feeling right now," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "I think coming out of the first round, we felt that there was a real chance of doing something bigger."

Whatever happens with the U.S. soccer team, it succeeded in getting Americans to pay attention to the sport. The U.S.-Ghana game earned the third highest television ratings in the U.S. of any men's World Cup game.

Soccer Excitement Still to Come

Meanwhile, soccer fans can look forward to plenty of great games left in this year's World Cup. Traditional powerhouses like Germany and Argentina remain in the tournament. Up-and-coming countries like Ghana and Uruguay will be challenging them. The tournament continues through the championship game, on July 11.


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