17 June 2014

World Cup: USA 2 - Ghana 1: Reaction

(US Soccer)
John Brooks headed in the game-winning goal in the 86th minute to give the United States a 2-1 victory over Ghana in its first game of the 2014 World Cup Monday night in Natal.

“It was a grind, but it was a wonderful one at the end of the day,” head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “Ghana is a damn good team. But we got the three points and we can move on.”
Tied 1-1, Brooks, who was a halftime sub for Matt Besler, scored on a header four minutes after Andre Ayew equalized the match for Ghana in the 82nd minute.
The U.S. held a 1-0 for the majority of the game after Clint Dempsey scored just over 30 seconds into the match off a throw-in, slicing through three Ghana defenders to score his third FIFA World Cup goal.
After Dempsey’s first-minute goal, the U.S. sunk back into defensive mode for the majority of the match, losing the time of possession battle 59 percent to 41 percent and withstanding 21 Ghanian shots, mostly from Asamoah Gyan and Christian Atsu.
Despite picking up the critical three points and defending the barrage of Ghana shot attempts, the U.S. battled humidity and injuries to persevere and win. Forward Jozy Altidore suffered a left hamstring injury in the 21st minute while both Besler and Alejandro Bedoya were subbed off due to tweaked hamstrings.
Fatigue played a factor for the U.S. when the Ghana attack finally broke down the U.S. defense. The midfield played timid and conservative instead of pressing forward like it did during CONCACAF qualification and the countless number of friendlies.
Brooks became the first substitute in U.S. history to score in World Cup competition. It was his first goal in only his fifth appearance on the national team.
The U.S. will face Portugal Sunday, June 22 in Manaus with slight advantage because of Pepe's red card and numerous injuries to Portugal's squad, but the U.S. has a team on the heels of a 4-0 loss and a guy named Ronaldo.

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