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Local soccer coaches weigh in on USA-Ghana matchup

The fifth day of the World Cup brings the matchup soccer fans around the United States have been waiting to see for four years: USA vs. Ghana at 6 p.m (ET) tonight in Natal, Brazil. The game will air on ESPN.

Ghana knocked the USA out of the World Cup in the 2006 tournament in Germany and again in 2010 in South Africa.

Three local college men’s soccer coaches who will be watching with great interest are the University of Dayton’s Dennis Currier, who plans to watch the game with players at his soccer camp, Wright State’s Bryan Davis, who’s going to watch at the public viewing area set up in Fountain Square in Cincinnati, and Wittenberg’s Steve Dawson, who watched his native England lose to Italy on Saturday with friends in Columbus and plans to watch tonight’s game at a sports bar in Springfield. Where are you watching the games? Here are 5 places to watch World Cup soccer.

Here are their thoughts on the game and the tournament:

Currier: “I always thought the matchup with Ghana wasn’t great for us. But the way we’ve been playing, the Nigeria game we played in the friendlies a couple weeks ago, we looked very strong. Our attack is on the same page. I feel this time around, unlike the last two times, we match up well with them. This time around, we’re a little bit more prepared. It’s the first game. I think the U.S. is going to have a lot of energy going into the game.

“I think it’s a very difficult group. I do feel although there’s a lot of unknowns with the team, especially over the last few weeks with the selections and the different players coming together, the US does a very good job with the team camaraderie. Over the last few years, they’ve really grown. I do think they can get out of the group. I think as with anything they need a little luck here.”

Davis: “I think it’s a unique (matchup). It’s a great test to see how far we’ve come so far as a soccer nation. We should win on paper, but it’s a team that’s had our number. When you play teams that have that on you, it’s a challenge no matter what. If they score a goal, you start to think, ‘What if?’ and things like that. It’s a great psychological test.

“I think the (U.S.’s) chances are very good for two reasons. The World Cup is every four years. It’s a different team. Two, we’ve had the best year in the history of our country in soccer in terms of wins and how we’re playing. We’re playing a very attractive and successful brand of soccer. That puts the odds greatly in our favor. I’m pretty excited to see it.”

Dawson: “I think it’s going to be a close game. The thing about the World Cup now or soccer in general around the world, it’s not like 30-40 years ago, when you had some teams that were just absolutely awful or couldn’t compete. There are no cupcakes anymore. This game is pretty well-matched game, a pretty even game.

“The United States will be organized, very drilled. (Coach Jürgen) Klinsmann has them well prepared. They’ll be very prepared physically and mentally. Their strength likes in their ability to stay in the game, stay together and maybe catch them on set pieces. They deliver the ball well. They’ve got some good size. Ghana’s strength is their speed, but it’s not a great difference. Technically, (Ghana) has one or two players who can turn a game.”

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