21 year old, John Brooks, playing in his first World Cup, and coming in off the bench to replace an injured Matt Besler, was able to head in the winning goal late in the match, to give the US a 2-1 win over Ghana in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The game started off quickly for the US, as Clint Dempsey dribbled his way through the defense and put the ball into the corner of the net just 32 seconds into the match.
Most of the rest of the match, the US would be on its heels trying to hold off Ghana.
In the 21st minute, forward Jozy Altidore grabbed his left hamstring and fell to the pitch. As he was carried off on a stretcher, he covered his eyes with his hands. Klinsmann, at Altidore’s side, cradled his striker’s head. A strained hamstring would keep him out the rest of the game. Aron Johannsson would replace him. Matt Besler would leave at halftime with a hamstring issue also. Later in the game, Alejandro Bedoya would also leave with an injury.
In the 82nd minute, Andre Ayew finally broke through for the Black Stars, smashing the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was brilliant most of the game.
Just four minutes later Brooks headed Graham Zusi’s corner kick for the winning goal, becoming the first substitute to ever score for the United States in 30 World Cup games over 84 years
The US would smother the final chances for the Black Stars and leave with three points and a good chance to advance to the knockout stage.
Earlier in the day, Germany dominated Portugal winning 4-0. Also, Portugal defender Pepe was ejected and will miss the game against the US on Sunday in Manaus.
A win in game one was huge. Since the 1998 World Cup, when the tournament expanded to 32 with two teams per group advancing, only 9% of teams that lost their first World Cup game (4 of 46) advanced to the knockout stage.
Four years ago, Ghana eliminated the USA in the 2010 Round of 16 by the same score – 2-1 in overtime. In 2006, Ghana sent the USA home in group play.