United States 2 Ghana 1: Debutant Dwyer stakes a claim

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Bruce Arena remains unbeaten upon his return as United States head coach and now has a welcome selection issue to consider ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup after striker Dom Dwyer scored on debut in a 2-1 friendly win over familiar foes Ghana.

Born in England but a naturalised American citizen - and married to US women's national team star Sydney Leroux - Dwyer seized his chance with a tireless and threatening display at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.

Kellyn Acosta made it 2-0 with an opportunistic free-kick seven minutes into the second half in Connecticut and, though Asamoah Gyan - having missed a first-half penalty - pulled one back with a considerably more eye-catching set-piece effort, the away team were unable to force an equaliser.

All four meetings between the teams have now ended 2-1, the Black Stars winning at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, before USA gained revenge in Brazil three years ago and again here. 

Arena's attention now turns to the Gold Cup opener against Panama in Nashville next weekend, while Ghana, struggling in World Cup qualifying, are not back in action until an African Nations Championship preliminary game against Burkina Faso in August.

Man of the moment Dwyer had threatened twice in quick succession early in the game, shooting at goalkeeper Richard Ofori, before his second opening was stymied by Lumor Agbenyenu and John Boye.

Ghana did not heed those warning signings and, in the 19th minute, Dwyer deservedly broke the deadlock. Jorge Villafana did the hard work, driving into the area from the left flank and laying the ball off to Joe Corona. His shot struck rampaging full-back Villafana and the rebound fell conveniently for Dwyer, who volleyed past Ofori. 

The Ghana shot-stopper was lucky to stay on the pitch four minutes later, somehow only seeing yellow when his wild lunge felled the goalscorer on the edge of the penalty area.

Gyan missed a golden opportunity to send his team in level at the break, the captain's penalty in the final moments of the half was saved by Brad Guzan after Villafana tugged down Frank Acheampong inside the area.

United States made a strong start to the second half and could have been awarded a penalty of their own when Jerry Akaminko barged over debutant Kelyn Rowe on the threshold of the box, but protests turned to celebrations when Acosta stepped up to bend the free-kick into the bottom corner, leaving Ofori motionless.

Gyan made amends for his earlier penalty miss when he curled home a brilliant free-kick to reduce the deficit in the 60th minute.

Arena introduced another intriguing fresh face with 19 minutes to go in the form of ex-Israel international Kenny Saief, who secured FIFA permission to change allegiance to the country of his birth.

Ghana struggled to test Guzan despite dominating the final exchanges, while at the other end substitute Alejandro Bedoya had a close-range header well saved by Ofori, as Arena's players squared the ledger in the inadvertent rivalry between the teams.