World Cup: John Brooks Leads USMNT to Win Over Ghana


Third time’s the charm for Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT tonight as they FINALLY beat Ghana in the World Cup. After being knocked out by the Black Stars in 2006 and 2010, the US finally ended the curse in their first match in the “Group of Death.”

Jun 16, 2014; Natal, BRAZIL; USA defender John Brooks is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey led the US to an early lead after a goal 34 seconds into the match, 34 seconds. On a throw-in Dempsey linked up with Jermaine Jones and gained possession outside the box, he then made a smooth cut inside past a defender and finished far post past the Ghana goalkeeper. Then, 21 minutes into the game Jozy Altidore went down with an apparent hamstring injury that forced him to be taken off. Aron Johannsson came on for him and looked a bit overwhelmed in the first half not being able to hold the ball like Altidore. Even the goal-scorer Dempsey suffered an injury when he was kicked in the nose during an aerial challenge by a Ghana defender. Dempsey had to have his nose plugged to stop the bleeding, but continued on with what he claims to be a broken nose.

Another potential injury for the US occurred just before halftime as center-back Matt Besler appeared to be holding his hamstring area after a challenge. Besler was taken off at halftime and the hero John Brooks was brought on. Klinsmann’s side came out of the locker room and had a couple of chances to open the half, with nothing coming of them. Most of the half was spent defending, as Ghana had 60% of possession. The Ghanians kept peppering shots toward goal,ending up with 21 for the game. However, only 8 of their shots were on goal. After bringing on Boateng, Essien, and Adomah Ghana ramped up the attack.

In the 82nd minute Ghana finally broke through. A shot from Andre Ayew to Tim Howard’s near post, almost a mirror image of 2010, had beaten the US defense, and Ghana were level. After the goal the US kept pushing, and created a couple of half-chances. A great run by Fabian Johnson on the near side created a corner in the 86th minute, to be taken by Graham Zusi. Zusi then played a fantastic ball into the box glancing the head of Geoff Cameron which was then headed in by 21 year-old John Brooks. One of the players who had caused controversy over being selected into the roster had scored. Brooks, another German-American, ran over to the bi-line and collapsed onto the pitch in an emotional celebration.

Brooks was the hero, but this win was not possible without the excellent midfield play of Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, and Alejandro Bedoya. All three were great on defense when they had to get back and cover for the back four, and gained possession in the midfield when the US needed it. Jones even assisted on Dempsey’s goal to start the game. He was all over the pitch, and in my opinion was Man of the Match.

A star was born tonight in the form of John Anthony Brooks Jr. who is now an American hero, just as Landon Donovan was 4 years ago. The US sit 2nd in Group G behind Germany, and will play Portugal on Sunday (5 ET on ESPN).