The USA are off to a great start, something they’re not used to in World Cups, beating Ghana 2-1 thanks to goals from Clint Dempsey and the winner by John Brooks, giving them a great advantage heading into their next to matches in Group G against the stronger European sides. Ghana might have been the better team for most of the match, but that one goal from Andre Ayew wasn’t enough.
Dempsey, with a touch that was part skill part luck managed to slip through the Ghanaian defense and put the United States in the lead after only 30 seconds. This was perfect for an American team that had no plan to win the possession battles or move the ball patiently behind. Their game plan was pressing high, waiting for the Ghana mistakes and use their speed up front to create chances.
We didn’t see too many opportunities coming from Klinsmann’s team, but Ghana struggled despite the talented players to make something happen. Asamoah Gyan had to do things on his own most of the time, getting a couple of saves out of Tim Howard with his head and from long range. Only after the young Jordan Ayew and Christian Atsu did Ghana start looking more dangerous, eventually leading to their goal.
Gyan didn’t score the equalizer in the 82nd minute, but his name was all over that goal. He provided the assist with a backheel and it was his movement that opened up the space for Ayew to get close to Howard and score with a massive shot from his left foot. The stadium in Natal, mostly favoring the African side, erupted into colorful celebration, only it didn’t last for very long, as Ghana made a silly mistake.
Graham Zusi who entered the match a few minutes earlier provided a cross and terrible defending by Jonathan Mensah left Josh Brooks wide open to head the ball to the ground and see it bounce out of reach for Adam Kwarasey. In a match with barely any chances for the American side, it was fitting that their winning goal would come from a set piece, which has been so vital for team in this tournament.
Jermaine Jones might not be young, but he was the best player on the pitch with an incredible effort on defense and holding up play from time to time, helping Michael Bradley navigate the ship towards something of a revenge win against a team that has beaten the United States twice in a row in the World Cup, giving themselves a fighting chance heading into the next two matches against Germany and Portugal. Ghana find themselves in big trouble after losing in their must win match.