USA star disagrees with Ghana rivalry ahead of Saturday showdown

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Besler says the Black Stars are not the Stars and Stripes' nemesis despite consecutive meetings at the last three WC tournaments

Ahead of the USA's international friendly against Ghana on Saturday, the likes of coach Bruce Arena, former captain Landon Donovan and Ghana’s James Kwesi Appiah have all featured in various previews of the big game.

Unsurprisingly, all opinions seem to suggest that there is some form of rivalry brewing between the two teams, who have met three times at senior level.

Matt Besler, one of three players in the current squad to have featured in the last encounter between the Black Stars and the Stars and Stripes at the 2014 World Cup, has, however, fallen short of agreeing with the popular opinion.

“Not really,” Besler said when asked about Ghana’s status as a rival. “This is another game for us. It’s going to be a big challenge.

“Ghana is a very talented team and they’re going to present a lot of challenges for us. 

“It’s a great team to face as we prepare for the Gold Cup.”

Ghana and the USA first met in the 2006 World Cup group stage where a Stephen Appiah penalty ensured a 2-1 win for the Africans.

The Black Stars repeated the scoreline against the USA in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals, before the Stars and Stripes finally registered a win in their third meeting at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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Interestingly, the last meeting also ended in a 2-1 scoreline.

Saturday's showdown comes off at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut.


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