Watch: Dwyer, Acosta score, Guzan saves PK in USA's Gold Cup tune-up win vs. Ghana
With the start of the Gold Cup just days away, Bruce Arena's USA beat African power and World Cup nemesis Ghana in Connecticut on Saturday, with Dom Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta scoring in the 2-1 win in a tune-up friendly. Arena left a number of U.S. veterans and European-based players out, giving plenty an opportunity to prove their worth ahead of the competition–and perhaps beyond, with the Gold Cup used by many as a launch pad to World Cup roster spots.
Dwyer and Acosta are two of them, and their goals, plus Brad Guzan's save on Asamoah Gyan's penalty kick helped the U.S. enter the Gold Cup with positive momentum.
Dwyer, the English-American making his USA debut after securing his citizenship earlier this year, had the Americans' first chance in the 14th minute, sneaking in behind the back line to run onto a flicked-on ball from Dax McCarty through the midfield. His first touch took him wide right, though, and his pulled-back chance on goal was saved easily.
Dwyer made good on a chance five minutes later, though. With a deflected ball from Joe Corona looping into his path via Jorge Villafaña, Dwyer turned in a gorgeous volley from close range to give the USA the 1-0 lead in the 19th minute.
The goal made waves in the Dwyer household, where his wife, USWNT and FC Kansas City striker Sydney Leroux, and USWNT co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn celebrated the strike a little too hard for Dom and Sydney's infant son, Cassius.
Minutes later, Dwyer was taken down by a sliding Richard Ofori, with the Ghana goalkeeper fortunate to see just yellow in conceding the free kick.
Ghana had a golden chance to equalize just before halftime when Villafaña was whistled for pulling down Frank Acheampong inside the box, but Brad Guzan tipped Gyan's chip to the far post wide and to safety, preserving the lead heading into the locker room.
Acosta doubled the USA's lead in the 52nd minute with his first career international goal. It came off a set piece, with the USA earning a free kick on the very edge of the Ghana box. Acosta curled a low drive through the outside of the wall and by Ofori to make it 2-0.
Ghana cut into the lead through Gyan, who made up for his penalty miss with a sublime free kick from 25 yards. His curling effort gave Guzan no chance, finding its way into the upper right-hand corner to make it 2-1 in the 60th minute.
The USA had a great chance to put the match away in the 86th minute, with substitute Jordan Morris crossing for fellow substitute Alejandro Bedoya at the far post, only for Ofori to deny the point-blank header with a tremendous save.
The USA saw out the match, though, maintaining the trend of 2-1 results in USA-Ghana matchups. All four games going back to the 2006 World Cup have ended with that scoreline, with the teams splitting the two results.
In addition to Dwyer, midfielders Kelyn Rowe and Kenny Saief made their debuts, with Rowe starting and Saief coming on in the 71st minute, days after having his one-time switch from Israel approved by FIFA.
Here are the rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Kenny Saief (Gent), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution),Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
GOALKEEPERS: Joseph Addo (Aduana Stars), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars)
DEFENDERS: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew SC), Lumor Agbenyenu (1860 Munich), Jerry Akaminko (Eskiserhispor), John Boye (Sivasspor), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC), Nicholas Opoku (Berekum Chelsea), Samuel Sarfo (Liberty Professionals), Rashid Sumalia (Al Gharafa)
MIDFIELDERS: Mohammed Abu (Columbus Crew SC), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht), Thomas Agyepong (NAC Breda), Winful Cobbinah (Hearts of Oak), Ofori Ebenezer (Stuttgart), Gershon Koffie (New England Revolution), Kwadwo Poku (Miami FC), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor)
FORWARDS: David Accam (Chicago Fire), Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich), Asamoah Gyan (Al-Alhi), Majeed Waris (Lorient)