World Cup: USMNT Buries the Ghost Against Ghana in Brazil

Source: Philipp Zachl / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Men’s National Team opened its 2014 World Cup campaign by going up against the team that ruined its chances of advancing further in the previous two World Cups. Ghana has been a thorn in the USMNT’s side. The Black Stars prevailed with 2-1 win in both 2006 (Germany) and 2010 (South Africa). The United States’ first match in Brazil was met with high drama and intrigue. Could the U.S. exorcise the specters of its past, or would Ghana continue its dominance and jumpstart its own campaign?

The match started out perfectly for the U.S., with an early goal from captain Clint Dempsey. His touch to get him into space and beat John Boye to have a one-on-one with Ghana’s goalie, Adam Kwaresey, were things of beauty. The finish was even more incredible, since it was with his weaker left foot. The U.S. went up 1-0 less than 30 seconds into the game and was on an early high.

After the fastest World Cup goal in U.S. history, the Ghanaians were dominant in possession. Right midfielder Christian Atsu was doing especially well against U.S. left back DaMarcus Beasley. Atsu was putting in crosses, but those crosses were only dangerous a couple of times. However, Atsu kept going at Beasley and was winning space to cross.