Brooks header lifts US to dramatic win over Ghana

Published Monday, June 16, 2014 7:06 PM by Shane Barrow
Brooks header lifts US to dramatic win over Ghana

You just cannot make this stuff up.  A movie does not have as many story lines, twists and turns as the USA Ghana match had today in Brazil.  A largely unknown John Brooks writing his name into the US Soccer history books.

Dream start.  Yes thank you! Clint Dempsey provided the fastest goal in US World Cup history when he finished off the post after only thirty seconds.  A nice pass from Jermaine Jones put Dempsey on the run where he skipped past a defender and found himself racing at the keeper where he produced a classy finish.  1-0 USA after thirty seconds.

The US got conservative from there as they passed up a couple of attacks in fair of putting their foot on the ball and maintaining possession.  The problem was that the possession put Ghana under no pressure at all and the African side began to build some meaningful attacks.  Demarcus Beasley had his hands full as Ghana focused on the American left.

Finally the Americans decided to go forward with speed again in the 18th minute and it very nearly produced the second goal.  A great overlapping run from Fabian Johnson put the Ghana defense in retreat.  Johnson's good low cross found the feet of Jozy Altidore who collected the ball and readied to shoot.  His shot was blocked by a pair of Ghana defenders.  A little more composure and he could have curled it into the right corner.

Just minutes later Altidore's World Cup was over as he pulled up lame with an obvious hamstring injury.  Not good at all.  Aron Johannsson was called upon to replace Jozy.  A better finisher, but not nearly as athletic.

Ghana went right back to putting pressure on the American defense while the red, white and blue absorbed and looked for the break.  Going to be a long ight playing like this because Ghana seemed to have a goal in them.  Would they have the patience to probe without losing discipline though?

In the 32nd Asamoah Gyan forced a class save from Tim Howard as he dove to his right and pushed the rocket away.  Asher concern came right after as captain Clint Dempsey took a knee to the nose.  He was clearly shaken as blood ran from the nose.  One thing we do know about Clint though is that he is tough as nails.  He is a Texan of course.

Ghana were bossing the game as the US were pushing to hold their lead and make it to the halftime whistle.  A little regrouping would be needed at he break.  Somehow we would need to give Beasley more help on the left side.

Big concerns in the 41st minute as center back Matt Besler reached for his hamstring after making a tackle.  Hopefully nothing more than a tweak that he can play through.

The last chance of the half fell the the Unites States as Jones earned a dangerous free kick on the left flank.  Bedoya curled it in but the Ghana keeper pushed it out for a corner.

Halftime with the US leading 1-0.

The Besler injury became an issue and Jurgen was forced to make a sub to start the second half and it was John Brooks rather than Omar Gonzalez.  Big trouble in Kansas!  Time to become a legend or a louse right here Mr. Brooks.  It also says Omar is just not fit.  Forty five minutes to play and the Americans only had one sub remaining.

Ten minutes into the second half and things were going alright until Bedoya looked to have an issue after not being able to track down an errant Michael Bradley pass.  Seconds later Ghana had their best chance of the Marc as Gyan got in behind Brooks and Cameron in the middle of the US back.  A perfect cross was put right on Gyan's head who simply did not do well enough and headed over.

Cracks were showing n the American defense and another Gyan header was pushed wide for a corner in the 58th minute.  Action stations for the red, white and blue.  Man up boys!

The American danger-men were nowhere to be found.  Clint Dempsey had barely had a touch since taking the knee to his nose and Michael Bradley was a non factor in the center mid.  Thirty minutes to go and those two would need to be stepping up at some point.

Unfortunately Johannsson was giving the US nothing up front.  Simply not getting on any balls or helping hold the ball at all.  No chance against Portugal or Germany with no play from the target man.  Finally he showed in the 69th earning a corner kick and allowing the American defense to rest and regroup a bit.

Twenty minutes to go and the US were still on track when Ghana introduced Michael Essien.  Would he make an impact?  Klinsmann countered with the final American sub in Graham Zusi for an exhausted Bedoya.

Ten minutes to play as Dempsey curled a shot that was well held by the Ghana keeper.  The US doing well as all the pressure falls squarely onto Ghana.  Bradley and Zusi were making an impact as the Americans were able to play on the Ghana half for a few minutes.

And then the resistance was finally broken as Ghana got the equalizer.  A ball into the Gyan's feet with Andre Ayew running off him.  Fabian Johnson failed to track Ayew who collected and poked past Tim Howard.

Could either side find a winner in the final minutes? Ghana were clearly energized and had their tails up.   Then lightning struck!

A US soccer trademark set piece.  Graham Zusi curled in a corner that narrowly eluded the leaping Geoff Cameron and landed right on the head of John Brooks who nodded down and into the net for the winner.  Go Go USA!

As I said, "You just cannot make this stuff up."

Three points for the US but work still to do.  Player of the match for me Jermaine Jones.  His work was off the charts today.  Plenty of questions going forward to the Portugal game, but easier to deal with holding onto three points!