On Thursday morning, thelocker room was divided publically for one of the first times ever.
“It’s a friendly rivalry, and it’s funny: This morning, it’s the whole team for the U.S. and those two for Ghana,” said Dynamo midfielder and former U.S. youth international Danny Cruz. “It’s definitely good banter.”
Despite being outnumbered, Oduro can hold his own in trash talking.
“Obviously, the U.S. should be scared of Ghana,” said Oduro. “We have all of Africa behind us, hopefully, and it should be a great game. We both have struggled to qualify, so we’re both underdogs, but Ghana should have the advantage with all of Africa behind us. It should be a good game, and hopefully [Ghana] will get the magic out of this game.”
While Oduro and Cruz anticipate coming up with a wager for the match, Appiah doesn’t feel quite as confident as Oduro.
“[The home-field advantage] shouldn’t affect the U.S. that much; they are professionals and should be able to handle it, as it is nothing new to them,” noted Appiah. “I’m holding onto my money. The U.S. is playing well and scoring [in the run of play], so I am going to hold on to my money right now.”
Cruz and his roommate Mike Chabala anticipate relaxing and watching the match quietly at home. Oduro, though, hopes to crash the party.
“I’m trying to go to one of the guys' houses and talk some trash,” said Oduro. “We have a bet with Danny, but he’s not ready for it. He looks scared, so we’ll probably go to [Chabala’s] … and talk trash while the game is on.”
It definitely helps Oduro’s trash talk that Ghana defeated the U.S. in the 2006 World Cup. Appiah believes that result will fuel the U.S. fire this year.
“It happened four years ago, and the U.S. is going to come out for revenge,” said Appiah. “Hopefully Ghana can score, as I think we’ve struggled doing that. So if we can find the back of the net, we will be fine.”
The rooting interests for both sides believe that if their countries can play like they did in their last group games, their team will come out on top.
“We have to play like we did against Germany,” noted Oduro. “We have to hold the ball well and just finish our chances. We had some good chances against Germany and couldn’t put the ball in the net. The next round is the knockout stage, so we have to give it our all.”
“If the U.S. plays the same way they played [against Algeria], they can make a [deep] run,” said Cruz. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.