US Scores Late Goal to Defeat Ghana 2-1 in World Cup

The U.S. saw its first action against an old nemesis in the World Cup

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    NEWSLETTERS

    US soccer fans filled Hermosa Beach pier Monday during a viewing party hosted by the LA Galaxy for USA s first game in the 2014 World Cup. Kim Baldonado reports for NBC4 News from Hermosa Beach Monday, June 16, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014)

    The U.S. blew a late lead against Ghana in its World Cup opener, but came back on a goal by John Brooks in the 86th minute for a 2-1 victory.

    Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal by an American in World Cup history and the fifth-quickest ever, putting the United States ahead after 32 seconds of play.

    U.S. fans were screaming for revenge after the Black Stars eliminated the Americans from the last two Cups.

    They got it. At a price.

    Dempsey scored the shocking goal a half-minute in, but the U.S. couldn't make it stand up. Andre Ayew tied the score in the 82nd minute after a brilliant back-heel pass from Asamoah Gyan, who had eliminated the U.S. four years ago.

    And then, just four minutes later, 20-year-old Brooks rose to head in Graham Zusi's corner kick from 8 yards -- the first substitute to ever score for the United States in 30 World Cup games over 84 years. The defender, an unexpected addition to the American roster, was so overcome he fell to the field and was unable to move even after teammates climbed off the dog pile. He had made his national team debut only last August, and Brooks hadn't scored in four appearances.

    U.S. players ran onto the field to celebrate at the final whistle, jumping as supporters chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

    Now the Americans are in good position in Group G, where Germany opened with a 4-0 rout of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

    U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann had said this would be like a final. Jozy Altidore was hoping it wasn't his finale.

    The forward was carried off on a stretcher after his left hamstring gave out in the 21st minute when he tried to control a long ball. He awaits tests that will determine whether he can return for this World Cup.

    Dempsey went down too on a balmy late-autumn night but stayed in the game. The U.S. captain ended the first half with a tissue up his nose to stop the bleeding after John Boye's kick to his face during a battle for a header in the 31st minute, and he was struggling for breath in the second.

    Matt Besler came out at the start of the second half after feeling tightness in his right hamstring. It was his replacement, Brooks, who scored the winning goal. Zusi was also a sub, coming on for the hobbling Alejandro Bedoya in the second half.

    By the time of the final whistle, the U.S. lineup had Brooks in central defense and a virtually invisible 23-year-old Aron Johannsson at forward.

    Now the odds favor advancement. But that might depend on which players are able to make it on the field for Sunday's game against Portugal in the hot and humid Amazon rain forest capital of Manaus.

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