Sporting KC's Graham Zusi started on the bench, but he ended up having a bit role in the USA's 2-1 win over Ghana as they opened World Cup play today. Zusi's corner in the 86th minute found the head of John Brooks who'd lost his man and headed the ball into the net. The goal gave the US a win they probably didn't totally deserve based on the way the game went. But honestly, who cares, it's the World Cup and the US is one step closer to advancing. They also exorcised some demons from the past two World Cups.
Zusi's SKC teammate, Matt Besler started the game in central defense for the US team, but subbed out at half time as a precaution for a hamstring injury. It was a first half full of injuries as the US team also lost Jozy Altidore to a hamstring injury that will require a scan. And Clint Dempsey took a shin to the face and suffered a broken nose.
Less than 30 seconds in though the US had grabbed the lead as Dempsey put a shot in off the post and in for the 5th fastest goal in World Cup history. The US created another good opportunity that Altidore couldn't put away, but then Altidore went down with his hamstring injury and the US struggled to create anything offensively about that.
Ghana had the better of play leading up to Altidore's injury, but really took control of the game after the injury. The US defense held strong throughout the half and Tim Howard made a couple saves. Late in the half, Besler pulled up and grabbed his hamstring. He toughed out the half but made way for Brooks. The US held out and cleared the defensive line until the 82nd minute when Andre Ayew received a ball in the box and beat Howard to the near post. But just a couple minutes later, Brooks connected on the header from the Zusi corner to give the USA the three points. They'll now play Portugal on Sunday. A win would almost guarantee them a spot in the next round.