NEW YORK: A United States national team that’s unbeaten since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as coach entertains World Cup nemesis Ghana on Saturday as a tuneup for next month’s Gold Cup.
The Americans play host to the Black Stars — whom they have beaten once and lost to twice in the past three World Cups—in a Saturday friendly at East Hartford, Connecticut.
t’s a warm-up for the Gold Cup, the North American (CONCACAF) championship tournament in which Mexico and the host United States are perennial favorites.
The Americans face Panama on July 8 in their opener with other group-stage matches against Martinique and Nicaragua ahead of the knockout rounds.
“Winning the Gold Cup is one of our priorities in 2017, so this is an important opportunity,” Arena said.
“Ghana is certainly a team that brings different challenges and it’s the type of competition we need as we continue to develop.”
Ghana knocked the Americans out of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. A 2-1 group-stage win ousted the US side in Germany 11 years ago and a 2-1 extra-time win for the Africans eliminated the Americans in the last 16 in South Africa.
The US took a measure of revenge in the 2014 World Cup, beating Ghana 2-1 in their opener in Brazil.
Ghana lost a friendly to a second-string Mexico 1-0 on Wednesday at Houston, Texas, even as the Mexicans’ primary side competed at the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Arena’s squad has three wins and four draws this year, including two wins and two draws in World Cup qualifying to stand third in the six-team group, the last spot that gives an automatic berth to next year’s finals in Russia.
Klinsmann was fired last year after a poor start to the campaign, falling 2-1 at home to Mexico and 4-0 in Costa Rica.
The Americans resume World Cup qualifying in September.
US Soccer said Thursday that goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was approved by FIFA to play for the US. The American-born stopper who played for FC Dallas in Major League Soccer played for Mexico in an under-20 event.