USMNT's Ghana scouting report: We both have a lot of work to do to meet in the semis

World Cup history decrees that if the USMNT and Ghana qualify for the same tournament, they must play each other. It happened in 2006, 2010, 2014 and then both mutually agreed to miss 2018. In 2022, the two nations couldn't possibly meet until the semifinals, so that's what's going to happen.

The U.S. needs to take its opening 45 against Wales and repeat it eight more times to make it, and Ghana revealed its course of action Thursday when opening against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal: The Black Stars are going to begin games with a 5-4-1 steel trap and then, at captain André Ayew's signal, they'll unleash hell.

Portugal ran straight into Ghana's jaws in an uneventful opening 45, and it seemed like a smart game plan from Black Stars manager Otto Addo with Os Navegadores going forward through Ronaldo, João Félix, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva. So Ghana's five-man backline was well shielded by Thomas Partey and Salis Abdul Samed while Mohammed Kudus looked to advance forward on the dribble. Further forward, Ayew spent his 111th cap looking for the golden snitch while lone striker Iñaki Williams put in the hard yards.

How will the USA counteract this Ghana setup?

If we follow Portugal's example, we should allow the steel trap to snap shut on our ankles in the area, giving Pulisic a chance to convert from the spot and hit the "SIUUU!" Interesting fact: if Pulisic wants to match Ronaldo's record of scoring in five World Cups, he'll need to accomplish it at the 2038 event when he's 39 years of age. It's doable. 

It's unavoidable that Ayew will score one from there. Like Portugal, we just can't be phased.

Then we're going to need our versions of Félix and Rafael Leão to deliver. I think Giovanni Reyna is our answer to Félix (if Gio ever plays), but Jordan Morris is probably our version of Rafael Leão out on the left and cutting inside on his right so we might be in trouble there.  

We also have to be worried about Sergiño Dest doing exactly what João Cancelo did here to let Ghana pull one back late through Osman Bukari.  

It's shaping up to be an exciting semifinal and another great chapter in the Special Relationship.

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