In the last two World Cup tournaments, the United States national team was sent packing by Ghana. In 2006, Ghana were debutants who beat the U.S. in a group stage match and at least partially contributed to the Americans' early, winless departure from that year's World Cup. In 2010, the U.S. team managed to make it beyond the group stage, but lost again in a meeting with Ghana in the round of 16. Based on those two occurrences, many were wondering if the same fate would befall the USA 2014 World Cup away jersey.
A Quick Lead
Luckily for fans of the United States team, the third time really was the charm. Team USA had clearly come to play this time around, and within 32 seconds of taking the field at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, the Americans were up 1-0.
Clint Dempsey the captain of the United States team, and a talented forward and attacking midfielder netted the all-important goal. Immediately, the crowd which clearly had more than a few fans of the USA soccer jersey in attendance went wild, and Dempsey was running, jumping, and shouting in triumph. It was the most exciting opening to any match played thus far in the World Cup, and it started the United States and their fans out on the right note for a successful World Cup run.
After Dempsey scored his goal and showed off the true glory of the red, white, and blue USA away jersey, the Monday evening match between the United States and Ghana turned mostly into a display of the teams' respective defenses. At 18 minutes, USA striker Jozy Altidore almost brought his team's lead to 2-0, but was narrowly denied by the Ghana defense. Similarly, Ghana striker Jordan Ayew nearly earned his team an equalizer just before halftime, but a less-than-perfect shot at the goal line kept Ghana scoreless going into halftime.
Beyond the 32-second goal and the defensive action, the biggest moment of the first half took place at 35 minutes, when Dempsey took a kick to the face courtesy of Ghana right back/center back John Boye. The kick didn't result in a penalty, but it did get a bit of blood on Dempsey's USA soccer jersey and reportedly resulted in a broken nose for the American captain. It was a show of true spirit, resilience, and leadership that Dempsey opted to stay on the field for the remainder of the match.
Second Half Action
The defensive action remained the story of the match after halftime. Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan had a flurry of close goal opportunities near the start of the half, with a pair of headers at 55 and 57 minutes, respectively, just missing the mark. The first flew just over the bar, while the second was saved in a tremendous move by American goalkeeper Tim Howard.
At 82 minutes, Ghana finally netted the equalizer, with winger Andre Ayew scoring the goal. Just like that, it looked like USA's chances were slipping away and that the match would be a draw, earning each team a single point. The USA 2014 World Cup away jersey held strong, though, with defender John Brooks Jr. putting a header into the net at 86 minutes to reaffirm the American lead. After that, the USA merely had to ride out the final four minutes of the match to finally best Ghana in a World Cup meeting.
Is the USA's victory against Ghana a sign of promise and prosperity for what is to come at this year's World Cup, or will the team fall when it faces harsher competition from the likes of Germany in upcoming matches? We will find out soon, but until then you can head over to Soccer Box and pick out a USA soccer jersey to support the American team.