Hurray USA!

Brooks is congratulated after scoring the winning goal (USA Today)

Congratulations to the U.S. for defeating Ghana 2-1 in their opening World Cup appearance!

Like many Americans, I watched the game with excitement, anticipation and—most of all—worry. Granted, Clint Dempsey’s goal in the first 30 seconds gave us some early breathing room—and represented the sixth fastest goal scored in World Cup history—but nearly the entire game passed before another goal was scored.

Sadly, it was scored by the opposing team in the 82nd minute, but it wouldn’t last for long.

Plagued with injuries—including a bloody nose for Dempsey, a hamstring injury for Jozy Altidore and several others—and dominated in time of possession by the Ghanaian team, the Americans pressed on and never lost hope.

Jones, Bradley and Beckerman kept the midfield in check, while Beasley, Besler and company held Ghana to only one goal, a rare slip past outstanding keeper Tim Howard, who otherwise played a near-perfect game.

Dempsey strikes early to put America on top (CBS Local-Baltimore)

Substitutions were the name of the game for America, given all the injuries on the pitch. Fortunately, the addition of Graham Zusi in the 77th minute brought fresh legs to the team. And it was substitute John Brooks who helped anchor the defense and eventually scored the winning goal off a Zusi corner kick in the 86th minute.

Yes, it was a game for the ages—from an American perspective, at least—as well as the best World Cup start for the U.S. team since its 2002 victory over Portugal. Ghana was clearly the better team—controlling 59% of possession, completing 445 passes and posting 65 dangerous attacks to America’s 22—but the U.S. had one important advantage: heart.

Of course, the World Cup has just begun and the road ahead will be long and difficult for the U.S. They still have some big games remaining in the group stage—including matches against powerhouses Germany and Portugal—but you couldn’t ask for a better start to their run.

So congratulations, U.S. men! And keep this train rolling, okay? We’re pulling for you!

Posted on June 17, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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