The United States Men's National Team begins group stage play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Monday with a match against a familiar foe, Ghana. The nations have met in the last two FIFA World Cups, with Ghana winning 2-1 in 2006 (group stage) and by the same score in 2010 (Round of 16).
Ghana, playing in their third consecutive FIFA World Cup, are led by captain Asamoah Gyan. The striker has recorded four goals in eight FIFA World Cup appearances, including the game-winner against the United States in the 2010 Round of 16. The Black Stars breezed through 2014 FIFA World Cup CAF qualifying with a 7-1-0 record as Gyan scored six goals.
The United States qualified with an impressive 7-2-1 record in the hexagonal round of qualifying and are appearing in their seventh consecutive FIFA World Cup. Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi are among 10 players from Major League Soccer on the USMNT's 23-man squad.
Besler, 27, has made 17 appearances for the United States since debuting in January 2013 and most recently appeared alongside Zusi in the United States’ 2-1 win over Nigeria on June 7. The United States is 12-1-3 with Besler in the starting lineup. Zusi has earned 23 appearances for the Americans with three goals and four assists in his international career. He scored in the final two FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, highlighted by the game-winning goal against Jamaica at Sporting Park, to secure a first place finish in the Hexagonal for the United States.
The United States' next group stage match is set for Sunday, June 22 at 5 p.m. CT (ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision) against Portugal, while Ghana faces Germany on Saturday, June 21.
Fans can check out Monday's match at the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City as part of the Summer in the Soccer Capital, presented by The Sprint Framily Plan. Admission to the KC Power & Light District for Summer in the Soccer Capital will be free for all ages. Food and drink specials will be available for supporters, as well as limited edition “For Club and Country” merchandise.