25 minutes: Hey folks! Sorry I'm late! Was over at City Hall finishing a story (the mayor does not time his announcements around World Cup games, sadly). Then I ran down to Fado's to catch the game, but lo and behold, they're at capacity and wouldn't let me in! So I'm at the Owl and Thistle instead.
So: it's 1-0 and I hear we scored in the first minute! But, I just heard a shout that we'd be further ahead if Landon Donovan was on the field, which is true, I'm sure.
27 minutes: Here's the goal—the fifth fastest in World Cup history, scored by the Seattle Sounders' own Clint Dempsey:
30 minutes: Lots of "oooohs" from the Owl and Thistle crowd as a Ghana player elbows an American defender in the face. He is reprimanded with a yellow card.
32 mins: OUCH!!! Dempsey takes a kick to the face as he lunges for a header. He's on the ground with a bloody nose, getting treated. That is a really high kick. No card from the referee?
35 mins: Wow, just saw a replay of the Dempsey goal. Brilliant individual play from the team captain. And phew—he's back on the field, looking hungry for more goals.
37 mins: When did the US jerseys get so ugly? These are horrendous.
42 mins: A promising US counter-attack ends with a whimper: Dempsey plays a neat through ball, but the cross is behind the onrushing forward. Dempsey half-volleys towards the net but it bounces harmlessly into the Ghanian keeper's arms. Good stuff, though.
45 mins: Ghana's keeper gets a strong hand to punch out a free kick whipped in from the left side. The Ghanians aren't offering much forward threat right now. It's all pressure from the Americans.
46 mins: Surprised Ghana's Sulley Muntari wasn't booked there. He cuts through Jermaine Jones with raised studs, then sits over him instead of getting up and playing on. The ref only gives him a talking-to.
Halftime! Ghana has a final go, but their striker scuffs his shot. I'm reading that Jozy Altidore was injured early on?! Nooooo...
There's Landon Donovan, the best and the best known US soccer player right now... wearing a suit, commentating for ESPN via satellite from Los Angeles during halftime. Maddening.
Second half kicks off: If the updates get more infrequent, it's because my Internet connection here suddenly feels very slow. Altidore has a hamstring injury, the national team has confirmed, so he's likely out for the whole tournament. One substitution from the US at halftime—I'm not a close enough follower of the US team to know the significance, quite honestly.
And Ghana, it seems, cannot send a high enough cross into the box. Two of them, in a row, are low and simply bounce off defenders.
50 mins: A sloppy clearance from a US defender almost results in a chance at goal, but the Ghanian forward shoves a little too hard on his way to the ball and is called for a foul.
Oh and, here's the player we lost to injury. Fnarf in the comments says his replacement, Johannson, is inexperienced. This cannot be good:
2012-13 @jozyAltidore scored 31 goals at @AZAlkmaar, record for #USA in EUR. His Story http://t.co/oxDIfcEo1Z pic.twitter.com/vQVb8abYaj
— Vladimir Laguerre™ (@vladlaguerre) June 16, 2014
53 mins: This is much the opposite of the England-Italy match, a patient encounter full of highly accurate, controlled passing and build-up play. Today's game is a scrappy, physical, and altogether less beautiful affair.
56 mins: Ghana star Muntari takes a strong left-footed shot and the ball goes rasping inches past the goalpost. Seconds later, Ghana finally deliver a decent cross into the box but the striker can only head the ball over the net. Better stuff from Ghana here. The US need to be careful not to let the game, which they had controlled in the first half, slip away. An equalizing goal would change everything.
66 mins: Still 1-0. But if this keeps up, not for long. The introduction of Kevin-Prince Boateng has given Ghana the creative spark they need. They are hammering Tim Howard with shots right now.
74 mins: A lot of tense faces on the fans here at the Owl and Thistle. Ghana are enjoying a sustained spell of possession in the US half, knocking the ball around the penalty box and playing one-twos with each other. So far—luckily for the Americans—they haven't been able to find the final product.
76 mins: Jurgen Klinsmann, the US coach, is not happy. He substitutes Salejandro Bedoya for Graham Zusi. Any of you know much about Zusi? Is this an effort to "park the bus" a la Chelsea and soak up the Ghanian pressure without allowing a goal? Or does Zusi offer more on the offensive end? He's a midfielder, so maybe neither?
86 mins: Ok guys, so the wi fi here has been pretty terrible over the past ten minutes. And now it's 2-1. Ghana scored after some lackadaisical defending, but we've just hit back with a bolt of a header off a corner!
94 mins: A chorus of boos for a lengthy five minutes in stoppage time. Can Ghana find a last minute equalizer?
Fulltime: Wow. Final score: 2-1. Highlights here. We were early and late with our goals in that game. Next up? On June 22, at 4 p.m. PST, we play Portugal—who lost 4-0 to Germany this morning. That leaves us in a great spot, sitting second in our group. German is a great team, but I was surprised by Portgual's lopsided loss, given Ronaldo's form as of late. I imagined they'd mount a serious challenge for the trophy this year. They'll be out for blood against us next Sunday.
So. If we put a huge effort in next game and beat Portugal, and Germany beats Ghana...which is likely. We can take it easy on Germany.
— Seatown (@seatown_h) June 17, 2014
Soccer fans from Latin America just asked me why US soccer fans not running in streets after win. Seemed confused. #USAvGHA #WorldCup2014
— Joshua Trujillo (@joshtrujillo) June 17, 2014
The scene at the Owl and Thistle after that second goal:
And I spotted a few people waving US flags in the wind in Pioneer Square. Here's hoping Dempsey's nose heals up okay... Until next time! Remember: Hate FIFA, love the game.