July 01, 2017

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Forward Dom Dwyer and midfielder Kelyn Rowe made their international debuts when the United States played Ghana in an exhibition game Saturday ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

U.S. coach Bruce Arena changed eight starters from the lineup in the June 11 World Cup qualifier at Mexico, retaining only goalkeeper Brad Guzan and midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola.

Dwyer, 26, was born in Cuckfield, England, and gained U.S. citizenship in March. Rowe, 25, played for U.S. youth national teams.

Preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the U.S. started right back Graham Zusi; central defenders Matt Hedges and Matt Besler; and left back Jorge Villafana.

Kellyn Acosta and Dax McCarty were in central midfield of the 4-5-1 formation, with Arriola on the right, Rowe on the left and Joe Corona more advanced.Hedges was making his first start and third appearance, while Corona played for the first time since the 2015 Gold Cup third-place match against Panama that July 25.

Seven U.S. starters entered with fewer than 10 international appearances: Acosta (nine), McCarty and Villafana (seven apiece), Arriola (six), Hedges (three) and Dwyer and Rowe (one each).

The U.S. was knocked out of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups by Ghana, then beat the Black Stars in the Americans' 2014 World Cup opener. The only U.S. holdovers from that game in Natal, Brazil, were Besler and Zusi, whose corner kick led to John Brooks' tiebreaking goal.

The Americans wore new uniforms, with red and blue horizontal stripes. The open the Gold Cup against Panama on July 8 at Nashville; then play Martinique on July 12 at Tampa, Florida; and Nicaragua on July 15 at Cleveland.

Ghana started goalkeeper Richard Ofori; right back Rashid Sumalia; central defenders Jerry Akaminko and John Boye; and left back Lumor Agbenyenu.

Mohammed Abu and Ebenezer Ofori were in defensive midfield, with Frank Acheampong and David Accam in advanced midfield, and Raphael Dwamena and Asamoah Gyan at the top of the 4-4-2 formation. Only Ofori, Bowe and Gyan started the Black Stars' last competitive match, a 5-0 win over Ethiopia in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on June 11.

Gyan scored the extra-time goal that beat the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup second round in South Africa.

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