Former Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey scored inside of 32 seconds while John Brooks delivered the clincher in a 2-1 win for the United States over Ghana in Group G play on Monday.
Dempsey’s first minute finish put the Americans in control early before a lively Black Star attack allowed Andre Ayew to equalize in the 82nd minute. But Brooks, who filled in for an injured Matt Besler during the second half, decided it on an 86th minute header to give the U.S. the victory that had eluded them in their previous two tournament tilts against Ghana.
The U.S. wasted no time in bolstering its chances of beating their recent World Cup nemesis when Jermaine Jones played a ball into the final third for Dempsey, who cut into the box with an eye toward the back post. With the target locked, the U.S. skipper tucked it through to give his team the immediate advantage.
Down a goal before they knew it, Ghana immediately sent waves crashing through their opponents’ end. Asamoah Gyan and Jordan Ayew wreaked havoc for the U.S. defense for much of the first half, with Attleboro’s Geoff Cameron and fellew center back Besler absorbing much of the pressure.
The spirits of the U.S. took a massive hit when Jozy Altidore pulled up with a hamstring injury in the 20th minute while chasing down a long ball from Jermaine Jones. The knock forced the target man out of the match, and Aron Johannsson was called upon to fill void up top.
A number of close calls and near misses allowed the U.S. to surivive the first stanza unscathed, but it was just a matter of time before Ghana would get the goal they craved.
In the 82nd minute, Gyan played a pretty backheel pass to Ayew inside the 18, and with little else to do but to finish, the Black Star forward completed the task after Tim Howard watched the ball fall into the back of the net.
It appeared that Ayew’s goal would send the match to a one-all draw until Brooks used a Graham Zusi corner to snap an 86th minute header through, sending the U.S. on their way to a thrilling victory.
The U.S. returns to action on Sunday to face Portugal in Manaus for their second Group G game. Kickoff is set for 6pm ET.