June 22, 2006
UCLA's three U.S. World Cup players - Carlos Bocanegra, Jimmy Conrad and Eddie Lewis - started against Ghana at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but the U.S. was eliminated from the tournament after a 2-1 loss in the Group E finale.
The U.S. needed to win the game in order to have a chance to advance to the next round, but a penalty kick at the end of the first half proved to be the winning goal for Ghana.
Ghana struck first in the 22nd minute when Haminu Draman picked Claudio Reyna clean near the U.S. goal and scored past Kasey Keller. DaMarcus Beasley and Clint Dempsey got the U.S. even in the 43rd minute. Beasley forced a bad pass in the back and sent a cross to Dempsey, who one-timed it past Ghana keeper Richard Kingson for the equalizer. However, in stoppage time just before the half, the U.S. was called for a dubious foul in the box, and Ghana's Razak Pimpong scored on the penalty kick for the winning goal.
Lewis, playing well on the left side, created the team's best chance in the 66th minute, sending in a perfect cross to Brian McBride in the box, but McBride's header went off the left post. Conrad, making his first World Cup start, headed away a goal-scoring opportunity in the first half and then blocked a second-half shot that would have given Ghana its third goal. Bocanegra played solid defense once again in his second consecutive start.
Lewis played for UCLA from 1992-95 and led the Bruins in scoring with 32 points in 1995. Conrad was a walk-on at UCLA in 1996 and 1997 and a starter on the 1997 NCAA Championship squad, along with Bocanegra, who played in two College Cups in 1997 and 1999. Lewis was playing in his second World Cup, while Bocanegra and Conrad were in their first.