The anticipation for the USMNT’s first game in World Cup 2014 could not have been any more intense, and the game certainly lived up to the hype. From the get go, the US was attacking full force. So much that Clint Dempsey slivered through the Ghana back line, and put one in the back of the net within the first 30 secs of the game. The fastest World Cup goal in the history of the USMNT and the fifth quickest World Cup goal ever! Talk about a fantastic start, but hold your horses folks. It wasn’t all good for the men in the red, white, and blue. On a good ball from Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore was hawking it down only to pull up from what discovered to be a strained hamstring, a huge loss for the United States. Furthermore, Clint Dempsey later on got incidentally kicked in the nose and is reported to be broken. However, being the tough Texan he is, Dempsey finished the game and will continue to play in the next game against Portugal. The last of our injuries was to Matt Besler due to cramping up. His replacement at the time was a head scratcher for me, John Brooks. Never heard of the kid in my life. Apparently he barely made the team and this is his first World Cup. Oh joy.
Ghana answered in the 82nd minute on a absolutely beautiful combo of touches(to be completely unbiased here). I was nervous the whole game, wanting the US to make it a 2 goal game so I could feel better about the lead. With the game now tied, and needing to win this game for us to have any realistic chance of making it out of the Group of Death, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach flying around in there. It didn’t look good. Ghana has all the momentum. Four minutes later(86th minute now), Fabian Johnson took a run down the right flank and drew a corner kick, which surely Zusi would take because that’s one of his specialties. As Zusi set up to take the corner kick, I remember thinking to myself, we have to drain this or else we are screwed. As the ball was in the air, I could tell it had a good chance if someone could connect on it. Next thing I know, I see a body in a USA jersey head it in!!! I immediately sprung from my seat, yelping on the top of my lungs! Wow. That just happened. I then came back to sanity and realized the great American hero that saved the day was none other than John Brooks. The man I was just questioning not but 30 minutes ago. You can’t write a story like that; that’s a prime example of the beauty of sports.
Moving forward, a huge concerning factor at least for me was the US did not have control on the game at all except for in the very beginning, and in the very end. You could definitely say we squeaked away with that one. Ghana controlled possession 60% of the game, put up almost 3X more shots than we did(21 to our 8), had over double the amount of corner kicks(7 to 3), however the only stat that mattered was in our favor, 2-1. The final score.