Soccer  > World Cup  > Extra-time goal dooms United States
June 27, 2010, 08:44 AM
RUSTENBERG, South Africa - The United States rallied after surrendering an early goal for a third time in four games, but was eliminated from the World Cup in a 2-1 extra-time loss to Ghana on Saturday.

Asamoah Gyan ran on to a high, bounding ball out of the back, settled the ball with a touch of his left shoulder and volleyed it with his left foot from the middle of the penalty area past U.S. keeper Tim Howard in the 93rd minute.

It was the second straight time Ghana has eliminated the Americans, having sent the United States home in 2006 with a 2-1 result in group play. Ghana next faces Uruguay on Friday in the quarterfinals.

After an early mistake by Ricardo Clark resulted in a fifth-minute goal by Kevin-Prince Boateng, Landon Donovan converted a second-half penalty to further enhance the United States' reputation or late comebacks. But its final defensive lapse in extra time was too much to overcome.

"It's been our mantra, but unfortunately you can only do that for so long and eventually you're going to pay," Donovan said referring to the United States' penchant for comebacks. "We tried as hard we as we could but we just couldn't find the second goal."

Manager Bob Bradley echoed the same theme that falling behind quickly so often is too much for any team.

"A goal early again, one too many times," Bradley said, "I really felt when we got to 1-1 that there were some chances there for us. But again early in the overtime we go down again, and it was just, at that point, with everything that we had put into the game physically we just didn't have enough after that. "

The United States was trying to reach the quarterfinals for the second time in three tries. Its best finish was third place in the inaugural World Cup in 1930.

"At the moment, it's just a stinging tough defeat," Bradley said. "We felt that as we went through the first round that we had gotten to the point where we were ready to go deep into this tournament. We knew Ghana was a good team and yet tonight we didn't get the job done."

The result left one CONCACAF nation remaining in the World Cup, Mexico, which was to play Argentina in its second-round match on Sunday.

Ghana's two goals matched its total scoring in its first three games, both of which came on penalties.

It went ahead when Clark - who did not play the previous two matches -- turned the ball over in midfield, colliding with Kwadwo Asamoa that sent the ball to Boateng.

The Portsmouth midfielder raced to the top of the penalty area with Clark chasing, and as he reached the top of the penalty area challenged by center back Jay DeMerit, unleashed left-footed shot that skidded between Howard and the near post.

"Today was a product of a giveaway in the midfield," Bradley said. "They do a good job of pressing. The finish was good. We certainly hurt ourselves with that too many times."

The Americans seemed outmanned in midfield in the first half, giving away numerous balls and allowing Ghana to have the better possession.

The United States managed its best opportunity in the 35th minute when Robbie Findley, back from a one-game suspension for accumulated yellow cards, was sent in alone on Ghana keeper Richard Kingson.

Findley, included on the roster for his speed, was able to get behind the Ghana defense but Kingson was able to block his shot with his extended left foot.

The United States inserted midfielder Benny Feilhaber for Findley to start the second half and almost immediately paid dividends.

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