Much can be said about the United States Men’s National Team’s opening performance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Some negative, some positive, but the common feelings are those of relief after the United States shocked Ghana for the first time in the past three World Cups, 2-1. The US began and ended the contest with fantastic individual efforts. It all started with Captain Clint Dempsey, who beat three defenders before stinging the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Dempsey’s goal occurred just 30 seconds in, the fifth fastest in World Cup history and the fastest ever for the United States.
From here on out, however, it was all Ghana with complete domination of the midfield and possession leading to several goal opportunities before finally breaking through in the 82nd minute. It was Akwasi Appiah, who snuck into the box and beat United States goalie Tim Howard for the equalizer. The United States appeared down and out after striker Jozy Altidore went down the in the 20th minutes, but showed great resilience pushing forward and earning a late corner kick. Finally, the US capitalized on a John Brooks header, stunning the Ghanians and most of America. Team USA escaped the final minutes and won their first World Cup opener in several attempts.
Yes, yes I recognize it was a huge win for the USMNT, but fans must keep their hopes in check. Although Portugal had a horrendous game against Germany, they are a team to be reckoned with and the United States isn’t talented enough to chalk up a win prior to Sunday’s contest. The win does greatly increase the odds of making it out of the group of death, but the US must take it one game at a time.