After being eliminated by Ghana in the last two FIFA World Cup tournaments, the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated their African competition 2-1 at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil in their group opener on Monday. The USMNT capitalized on an early goal that took the Black Stars off guard.
The USMNT quickly took control of the scoreboard. With only three touches, the Yanks put the ball in the net. Clint Dempsey received a pass into the area and outran his marker firing low to goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey’s left to score Brazil 2014’s fastest goal so far at 31 seconds. The U.S. took over the board 1-0.
In the 15th minute, Ghana managed to take possession of the ball and on a run from Asamoah Gyan, came close to worrying the American defense. Tim Howard made his first intervention and managed to clear the ball. The Africans slowly took over the ball, forcing the U.S. into a defensive position.
A counter run by the USMNT in the 18th looked like a goal. Jozy Altidore received a center but the Ghana defense was there to clear the ball. Two minutes later, Altidore was carried off the pitch after he went down on a counterstrike holding the back of his leg. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann was forced to make a substitution, putting Aron Johannsson on the pitch.
The Americans gave up control of the field allowing the Ghanaians to move up on attack. The Black Stars took over control as the USMNT set themselves in a defensive position waiting on a counterstrike opportunity. After 45 minutes of attacks from the African squad, the game went to break with the USMNT leading 1-0.
The second half was no different than the first with the USMNT letting the Black Stars do as they pleased on the pitch. The game was played on the U.S. side of the field with the American defense being the protagonists of the game. The Ghanaian attack was facing what at times looked like a six-man defense to hold that last line.
But living dangerously did not help the Americans out in the 82nd minute. Gyan took the ball in and heel tapped back to Andre Ayew who moved past Fabian Johnson to fire to Tim Howard’s right to close the gap 1-1.
The Americans were quick to react and in the 86th minute John Brooks headed the ball past Kwarasey on a corner kick to give the USMNT the 2-1 lead. Ghana pressured for the remainder of the game, but the Americans held out and took the game.
The USMNT moved into the second place in Group G behind Germany, team that defeated Portugal 4-0 earlier in the day. The American will take on Portugal in their next game, Ghana will face Germany.