Jun 16, 2014 9:24 PM by Richie Melby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NATAL, Brazil - Americans can breathe easy, at least now they can. The U.S. men's national team needed every minute of Monday's match against Ghana, a 2-1 victory in favor of the United States.
Clint Dempsey scored in the opening minute, 34 seconds to be exact, putting the U.S. on top 1-0. But Ghana kept attacking, coming closer and closer with each attempt. Andre Ayew would score in the 82nd minute, giving the four-time African champions hope. But John Brooks didn't let them hold it long.
Brooks, a 21-year-old born in Germany, scored the first goal by an American substitute in World Cup play. His header in the 86th minute was the eventual game-winner as the U.S. held off five minutes of stoppage time for the 2-1 victory.
The good news comes at a price, as star striker Jozy Altidore left the match with an apparent hamstring injury. He left the match on a stretcher, grimacing in pain. His status has yet to be determined, but if serious, he could miss the rest of the World Cup. Teams are not allowed to replace an athlete once the tournament has started, leaving many fans upset Landon Donovan was not chosen for this year's roster.
Still, the Americans gained three points in group play, a big advantage heading into Sunday's match against Portugal. The U.S. and Germany are tied atop the standings in the Group G stage.
Sunday's match against Portugal is set for 3pm.