The Americans certainly will compete for the "Most Dramatic" award should FIFA put together a yearbook for the 2010 World Cup.

The "Most Likely to Succeed" prize, however, still eludes them.

Asamoah Gyan scored a magnificent goal in the first of two extra time periods to lift Ghana to a 2-1 victory and a spot in the quarterfinals Saturday evening in Rustenburg, South Africa. This is the second straight World Cup in which the United States was eliminated by Ghana, which will face Uruguay in the next round.

PHOTOS: Ghana defeats United States, 2-1

The U.S. came back from a second-half deficit once again, but Gyan's third goal of the tournament sent the Americans home with their heads hanging. The Ghanaian striker chased down a long ball and withstood a tough challenge from Carlos Bocanegra in the box, but stayed on his feet. Before Jay DeMerit could provide assistance, Gyan fired a missle past Tim Howard for the go-ahead goal.

The United States looked like the inferior team in the first 45 minutes, but flipped the switch at halftime. It had numerous chances in the second half, but only one found the back of the net.

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In extra time, the U.S. threw everything it had at the Ghana goal -- even goalkeeper Tim Howard. In a photograph you'll rarely see, Howard moved forward in the final minute and even soared to challenge Ghana goalie RIchard Kingson for a header just out of his reach. Alas, the effort proved fruitless and the tying goal never came.

Of course, the U.S. was gaining a reputation for its comeback ways, but that was only made possible by its knack for conceding the early goal.

The U.S. did it again -- this time in the 5th minute -- on a strike by Kevin-Prince Boateng. After Ricardo Clark lost the ball in the midfield, Boateng raced down and struck his shot inside the near post for the early lead. It was Clark who lost his man during England's early goal in the first game. He picked up a yellow card -- maybe in frustration -- on a tackle two minutes later and was subbed out for Maurice Edu in the 31st minute.

Landon Donovan leveled the match in the 62nd minute when he pinged a penalty kick off the right post and in for his 45th career national team goal and third of the tournament. He's tied with Gyan, Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain, David Villa of Spain and Robert Vittek of Slovakia for the tournament lead.

The United States finished the tournament 1-1-2. Winning Group C, which included England, has to be considered a success for the Americans, but it surely will rue the missed opportunity it had to advance deep into the tournament with its favorable draw.


Starting lineup:

Edu for Clark (31)
Feilhaber for Findley (46)
Gomez for Altidore (91)