The warmup for the upcoming Gold Cup went as planned for coach Bruce Arena and the US national team Saturday. Goals on either side of the break from Dom Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta lifted the Americans to a 2-1 victory over visiting Ghana.
It was a wonderful debut for Dom Dwyer who stole the headlines by volleying home a deflected shot in the 19th minute to put the US 1-0 up. Dwyer became the 48th American player to score on his debut, and the first U.S. player to accomplish the feat since Paul Arriola did it in a friendly against Puerto Rico back in 2016.
Arena was full of praise for the talented midfield, especially the central trio of Dax McCarty, Acosta, and Joe Corona, who were forced to battle against a technical and physical Ghana side.
"I thought Dax and Kellyn were very good," said Arena. "It was a real battle in there, real challenging. I think they held up well."
Arena added: "Joe Corona I thought was very good. He got a little bit tired at the end, he had a little bit of time off Club Tijuana and was just getting back into the swing of things. I thought he gave us 70 good minutes."
In terms of the defense, Arena was full of positives as well, especially for right-back Graham Zusi, who is still gaining experience at the spot after spending most of his career in midfield.
"I thought he had a real good game," said Arena. "I remember one play in the first half when he stood up [Frank Acheampong], who is an outstanding player, very quick, and Graham did a good job.
"The game for our back line was outstanding. For Matt [Hedges] it was his third cap, and he did a terrific job. I thought [Matt] Besler held up well. Jorge Villafana, our left-back, this was his third or fourth cap, he's just getting better and better."
As for where the US need to improve for the Gold Cup, Arena highlighted a couple of areas. He felt his side conceded too many fouls and could have managed the game better in the game's latter stages.
"I think we fouled in some areas of the field where Ghana was very dangerous on set pieces and scored a terrific goal," he said. "We conceded too many free kicks in dangerous spots. We got caught a couple of times on the counter, which is to be expected.
"When we play Ghana they have excellent pace all over the field and they get at you a couple of times, and they certainly did that today." Overall, Arena felt that the game served its purpose ahead of the USteam's Gold Cup opener against Panama next Saturday.