HOUSTON -

Ghana has had the US teams number during the last two World Cups. However, I feel things are going to be different this time around. 

The Americans are coming into this game with one of its most athletic teams that will be able to match Ghana for pace. If you use the last warmup game the US had against Nigeria, a team similar to Ghana, as a measuring stick for this, you will see that Ghana will not enjoy the advantage they have had in this area in past games.

A major positive and a relief for American fans was Josie Altidore finding the back of the net after a 27-game goalless slump. His confidence is going to be important for the US in attack. The more effective he can be in creating chances for himself and holding the ball up, he will open up more opportunities for Dempsey and others. 

Another big factor will be the play of Michael Bradley getting into the attack. He will need to continue to push forward in the attack to find those passes that put the attacking players in spaces to succeed.

Ghana has the youngest team in the tournament but have some extremely talented attacking players. This could prove dangerous for an American back line that has not played many games together.

It is going to be important for Jermaine Jones to help protect the back four from a dangerous Michael Essien, the AC Milan midfielder. I think it will come down to how well the US back four can improve from their warmup games to the kickoff with Ghana.

I am going to say this will be a draw 1 to 1.

The US and Ghana take the pitch Monday afternoon.

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