The U.S. beat Ghana 2-1 in wildly entertaining fashion, first scoring just 29 seconds into the match thanks to captain Clint Dempsey and then responding to Ghana's 82nd minute equalizer with a goal off a corner kick from one of the most unexpected of sources in defender John Brooks. Because of the early goal, Ghana were on the attack for the vast majority of the game, maintaining possession and firing shot after shot. They finally broke through with Andre Ayew's late goal, but the U.S kept their composure and Brooks became the U.S.'s first substitute to score in the World Cup just four minutes later.
It was revenge for the U.S. after Ghana beat them in each of the last two World Cups and a massive statement at the start of a tournament where the deck was stacked against them.
Man of the Match
Clint Dempesy, USA — When you score your country's fastest ever World Cup goal and then get kicked in the face, you better win Man of the Match.
Brooks' late goal had U.S. fans feeling pretty buzzy.
— USATODAYSportsImages (@USATsportsImage) June 16, 2014
Clint Dempsey scores the U.S.'s fastest World Cup goal ever. Ghana not quite sure if the match even started yet.
This was an imperative three points for the U.S., as they will now face Portugal and then Germany. Hamstring injuries to Jozy Altidore and defender Matt Besler will need to be monitored, but Portugal had injury problems of their own — losing striker Hugo Almeida and defender Fabio Coentrao for the rest of the group stage, as well as defender Pepe to a one-match red card ban, in their 4-0 loss to Germany. Given that, the U.S. now has an undeniable shot at advancing to the knockout stage, although Portugal will likely still be favorites to finish behind Germany and advance. Ghana will next face a formidable looking German side and risk going into their final group match with zero points.
After this first round of results, Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com suddenly gives the U.S. a 63 percent chance of advance.
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) June 17, 2014