As Americans gear up for Monday opener with Ghana, they take note of referees' key decisions

The Associated Press

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard, center left, talks to members of the media while military police officers, top right, stand guard outside of the team hotel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Associated Press + More

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

SAO PAULO (AP) — The U.S. players are preparing for any circumstance when it comes to calls by the referees in the World Cup.

They saw just what can happen in Thursday's opener, when Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 with the help of a debated call by referee Yuichi Nishimura of Japan.

It was on the Americans' minds Friday as they prepared to depart from their Sao Paulo headquarters for Natal. They play their Group G opener Monday night against Ghana, which eliminated the U.S. the past two World Cups.

Midfielder Jermaine Jones says he especially must be careful considering his penchant for yellow cards.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.