Michael Essien

Hand of God II
July 03, 2010

I lived in Ghana back in 1998, so their match against Uruguay was a real threat to my usual pan-Latin American approach to World Cup soccer fandom. I respect their game, and adore the country. I felt uncomfortable rooting against them, and I would’ve supported them against any team besides the U.S. or a Latin American side. Like everyone else, I was hoping to see an African side go through, and who knows what this marvelous, hard-working team might have accomplished with a healthy Michael Essien in the midfield.

On the Map: The World Cup at Home, Abroad
June 24, 2010

Yesterday’s dizzying stoppage-time goal by Landon Donovan put the U.S. World Cup squad through to the next round of the tournament, and that dramatic finish probably created a new crop of American soccer fans in the process. Up next for Donovan and company is Ghana, a physical team that, despite an injury that sidelined their star midfielder Michael Essien before the tournament, should test the U.S.

The Trials and the Elation
June 23, 2010

When Landon Donovan finally slammed the Jabulani into the net, 91 minutes after the kickoff, there was one part of me that wondered “Will it count? Will it count?” And not, Alex, because I think there’s been a massive anti-American conspiracy, but simply because the refs in this group stage have been terrible. Contrary to popular prognostication, Koman Coulibaly, according to FIFA's official report, called back Edu’s goal for a foul not by Bocanegra, but by Edu (who didn’t commit a foul); there's a reason FIFA gave Coulibaly a "poor" rating and dropped him for the second round.