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2014 World Cup: Ghana's opponents USA defeat Azerbaijan 2-0 in friendly

Published on: 28 May 2014
The USA defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 in the friendly

Ghana's World Cup group opponents the United States kicked off preparations for the FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park on Tuesday night.

Substitutes Mikkel Diskerud and Aron Johannsson found the back of the net in the second half as the USA emerged triumphant in San Francisco - the first of their three international friendlies before Brazil 2014.

With the match seemingly petering out to a draw, Norwegian-born Diskerud came off the bench to break the deadlock in the 75th minute after Michael Bradley's effort was cleared off the line and Johannsson made sure of the win, heading home from close range just six minutes later.

The result spared Jurgen Klinsmann's blushes following his decision to overlook the USA's all-time leading scorer Landon Donovan for his final 23-man squad.

It also extended their unbeaten streak on home soil to 14 games, having not lost in the USA since their 4-2 defeat to Belgium in a friendly last May, while Azerbaijan are 10 matches without a win on the road.

With Klinsmann coming up against Azerbaijan coach Berti Vogts it was always going to be an interesting affair with his fellow German also working as a special advisor for the USA ahead of the World Cup.

And the match provided some decent highlights early on as both teams were presented with opportunities to hit the front during a free-flowing start, though the USA undoubtedly had the best chance.

Graham Zusi whipped in a free-kick from the right after Fabian Johnson was fouled in the third minute, but an unmarked Chris Wondolowski, who was a late replacement for injured captain Clint Dempsey, could only guide his diving header straight at Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev .

Tim Howard was then called into action three minutes later, with star man Vagif Javadov, Azerbaijan's second highest all-time leading goalscorer with nine goals in 51 games, unleashing from distance.

The visiting team continued to cause the USA problems and they again come close to breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute after Mahir Shukurov's free-kick clipped the outside of the post.

Up the other end, Wondolowski was in the thick of the action and he almost redeemed himself, though his 15th-minute header was tipped over for a corner.

As the half wore on, the home side began to assert their dominance without making it count on the scoreboard as the game remained level at the interval.

The USA were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty just two minutes into the second half after substitute Brad Davis appeared to be fouled inside the area, but the referee only whistled for a free-kick.

And just as the USA appeared to run out of ideas, the introduction of Diskerud proved to be a stroke of genius with 15 minutes remaining.

The 23-year-old, a replacement for Alejandro Bedoya, reacted quickest to scramble the ball past Agayev.

Klinsmann's men then made sure of the win six minutes later courtesy of yet another substitute Johannsson, who found himself unmarked in the area to head home Davis' cross from close range.

The USA will face Turkey on Sunday and Nigeria (June 7) the following week before flying out to Brazil.


This article has 10 comment(s), give your comment
  • Benito says:
    May 28, 2014 11:34 am
    OMG...this USA team is horrible,this is not a team that can beat us,they labored all night against a less fancied team,we have a quality team,very talented,their defense is awful and I can't see how Beasley can stand the speed of dede and asamoah on the flanks .i foresee the repeat of the kumasi slaughter of Egypt..
  • banger says:
    May 28, 2014 11:14 am
    I watched the game and to be honest the us team is way less better than the squad they Had 4 yrs ago.they were struggling to play against a team made up of 4th division and second division. They will really get slaughtered by the stars.their defense is horrible.our striking force will make a dinner out of their defense,
  • Union Leader says:
    May 28, 2014 01:05 pm
    banger your analysis of their defense is spot on. Besler and Cameron were way below average. With the kind of strikers they'll be coming up against in Brazil , they'll be in for a long night when the tournament gets underway. However , they were very effective with their set- pieces. The two goals they scored were as a result of set pieces. Bradley was ok. One assist on the night. He got his wish, playing on top of the diamond with the freedom to roam. Behind him doing all the cleaning up was Jermain Jones, robust but often erratic in the middle. If Gh were able to put 6 past Egypt , I think we can put at least 4 past these shambolic defense of theirs. But the big question is ; who scouted this game for Gh? Berti vorgts will be scouting our game against the Netherlands on Saturday for Klinsman . We need to get serious of we want to advance in this tight group.
  • spellBOUND says:
    May 28, 2014 12:35 pm
    Watched the game as well. if we don't hammer the yanks, we don't deserve to get out of the group. aaaah, our midfield will overwhelm them. and with that, the attack should get a lot of chances at goal.
  • selfmade says:
    May 28, 2014 01:26 pm
    The USA vs Ghana game in south Africa was the MOST WATCHED MENS WC MATCH EVER in the united states attracting viewers of 14.9 million according to Nielsen rantings from ABC! The only match that beat the USMT-BS match in south Africa was their women's national team 1999 WC final match against China which attracted 17.4 million viewers according to Nielsen rantings from ABC AND ESPN! The Ghana vs US match has more viewers than england-US match in south Africa which ended in a draw! The only two other matches that came near ghana-Us is their quarter final match against Brazil and the italy-brazil finals! The fact of the match is that, soccer wise, Ghana is the most POPULAR AFRICAN NATION IN THE US and we all know what that means in terms of attracting investors and US businesses into our dear nation! The WC is the biggest THEATRE on the planet watched by diverse people and GHANA-USA is becoming another classic WC encounters in the WC! There ll be a lot of interest from united states in this particular WC in Brazil becasus of its proximity to the brazil and due to the fact that there is a lot of BRAZILIAN AMERICANS who ll root for the americans so we have to take this match seriously becasus GHANA-USA MATCH in Brazil ll probably BREAK THE ALL TIME RECORDS of the most watch EVENT IN THE ANNALS OF USA HISTORY and can even break their election audience!! In Germany, the us president and his family watched live the GHA-USA match at home where we beat them! In south Africa, BILL CLINTON who happens to be the president when Ghana beat the USA didn't watch it at home but came all the way to south Africa to watch the match live at the stadium with MIKE JIGGA! Obama watches the match in a mist of INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ROOM! In Brazil, the US VICE PRESIDENT, JOE, ll be in the stadium!! Amazing stuff for Ghana and the SPOT LL BE ON GHANA ONCE AGAIN AGAINST THE WC MOST POWERFUL NATION!
  • papa nkrumah says:
    May 28, 2014 06:39 pm
    Damn Self made!!! You really aren't bad at all. It would be good if our leaders were to take advantage of the now obvious this spotlight presents Ghana. God bless man
  • Dr Who says:
    May 28, 2014 07:59 am
    Winning friendly matches at home doesnt give you a true reflection of your teams performance. Getting a draw game in away friendlies is better than winning at home.This is why I wouldnt be so disturbed if we lose to Netherland because its their home.Whatever scoreline we get,I bet you,it will not be the same when we meet them in Brazil.
  • theobanks says:
    May 28, 2014 11:36 pm
    SELFMADE.... A real THINKER! Dude is turning out to be the only thinker on GSN! What an insightful piece
  • futbolmad says:
    May 28, 2014 01:42 pm
    Both goals came from set piece plays. So set piece defending will be key for the Black Stars in their game against the US. In addition, set piece taking (FK, corners and PKs) need fine tuning not to allow any mistakes in taking them. If the US play the way they played yesterday against such a weak team, there is no way they will get past the B/Stars.
  • Pow says:
    May 28, 2014 03:08 pm
    SELFMADE Great job on your analysis. However, Bill Clinton wasn't the president of USA when Ghana beat them but on the whole, you're a genius.