It showed today against Ghana. What an odd game—both teams, seemingly, could only threaten the goal when moving right-to-left. Ghana’s early goal on a US defensive blunder was hardly a surprise to anyone who’s watched the Americans play in this tournament, but their domination of possession for the entire first 45 minutes was a bit more unexpected. The US did surge back in the second period—obviously, Benny Felhaber and Maurice Edu, who both should have started, changed the balance of power in midfield. I don’t think Ghana recorded a legitimate chance on goal between the 35th and the 95th minute, while the USA generated several. In extra time, though, the entire team seemed to wilt all at once. For all the talk about the Americans’ superior fitness, after the 90th minute the their entire offensive approach devolved into the lazy/optimistic long ball for Herculez Gomez.
I suspect that in some sense the USA, with its best men on the field, is a better team than Ghana, with more attacking depth and capacity for midfield control. (I’d like our chances in a 7-match series) But the Ghanaians were mostly the better side today—far better, in fact, in the critical OT period—and their victory was thoroughly deserved.
UPDATE: Zonal Marking breaks down Ghana's "narrowest of victories."