John Brooks celebrates his game-winning goal in the 89th minute.  Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

USA Tops Ghana in World Cup Opener!

An unlikely hero arose in the 86th minute to carry Team USA over Ghana in an electrifying World Cup opener.

The last World Cup win for the United States was the last game in the group stage in 2010 against Algeria.  Faced with elimination, USA needed a win to get out of Group C and into the round of 16 for the first time since 2002.  And despite outplaying an Algeria team that was already mathematically eliminated from making the next round, they couldn’t break the ice and get the one goal they needed to break a scoreless tie.

That is, until longtime US soccer star Landon Donovan was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a lucky bounce and score in stoppage time, a stunning goal that was heralded as probably the biggest single goal in the history of United States soccer.  It was the first time the US won their group since 1930.

Clint Dempsey celebrates his goal in the first minute of the game.   Photo Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Clint Dempsey celebrates his goal in the first minute of the game. Photo Source: Michael Steele/Getty Images

The legacy of that goal among other big ones Donovan has scored for the country over the years made it hard for American soccer fans to accept his being left off the roster for this World Cup.  Still, the US roster features a few household names fans may recognize like Sunderland forward Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, and Everton goalie Tim Howard.

But it wasn’t any of them that came up big in the clutch last night.  Dempsey did have a fantastic goal 30 seconds into the game, making him the first American to score in the three World Cups.   But after a late Ghana goal to tie it, it was 21-year-old Hertha Berlin defenseman John Brooks, a long and lanky 6’4″ defenseman who has been with Team USA for less than a year, who redirected a header off a corner throw-in to put the US ahead 2-1.  It was his first goal for Team USA in any kind of match.

Here's evidence of the World Cup doing what it does so well; bringing the people of a nation together to root for a singular cause.  Many fans chose to watch and celebrate the game at public places, like sports bars, or at one of countless watch parties.  Photo Source: theguardian.com

Here’s evidence of the World Cup doing what it does so well; bringing the people of a nation together to root for a singular cause. Many fans chose to watch and celebrate the game at public places, like sports bars, or at one of countless watch parties. Photo Source: theguardian.com

Brooks’ goal overshadowed the fact that the US had been outplayed for a vast majority of the game.  Howard bailed his team out numerous times.  Ghana had 21 shots to the US’ eight and held possession 60% of the time.  Repeated turnovers from the US gave the Ghanaians plenty of chances to tie it and they finally did.  Marseille forward Andre Ayew scored in the 82nd minute to tie it before Brooks’ four minutes later.

The win earns the US three points in the Group G standings, joining Germany at the top.  Portugal and Ghana now cannot lose in their next games to stay alive.  Ghana plays powerhouse Germany on Saturday and Portugal plays the US on Sunday.  If Germany wins or draws with Ghana, the US can clinch a berth in the round of 16 by beating Portugal.

Gold Coast Tickets is feeling the national pride this month, and we hope you are too!  Let’s go Team USA!

 Photo Source: Javier Soriano-AFP/Getty Images  
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