The United States snatched a dramatic victory over Ghana on Monday night when John Brooks scored off a header with four minutes left.
The United States took the lead after less than 30 seconds when Clint Dempsey slalomed in from the right and shot just inside the far post.
Ghana levelled when André Ayew scored in the 82nd minute to set up an exciting ending to an exhausting game.
On a hot and humid night, the Americans had to defend desperately for much of the game. They lost their centre forward, Jozy Altidore, with a pulled hamstring after 23 minutes, and Matt Besler, a centre back, was unable to play in the second half. He was replaced by the inexperienced Brooks, who struggled defensively as Ghana stepped up the pressure.
But Ghana were undone by poor shooting. They took 20 shots, the most of any team in any game so far in the World Cup, but only three were on target. With eight minutes left, Ayew of Olympique de Marseille finally found the target, beating Tim Howard at his near post.
The momentum seemed to be with Ghana, but the United States forced a corner. When the ball came into the goalmouth, Brooks was there to head it into the net.
"I had said to the bench we are going to get more chances,” US manager Jurgen Klinsmann said immediately after the match. “We are still in the game after the equaliser. We just need to push and push and grind it out. And that's what they did. Here comes a set piece. We trained over and over that stuff. And he puts it in. It was deserved."
The victory put the United States level on points with Germany atop Group G, but the Americans are second on goal difference.
The result also gave the United States revenge over Ghana. The two nations met at each of the last two World Cups. Ghana won, 2-1, both times eliminating the Americans on each occasion.
The United States face Portugal in the Amazonian heat of Manaus on Sunday knowing a victory will almost certainly assure qualification for the knockout rounds. Ghana have the daunting task of trying to revive their campaign against Germany in Fortaleza on Saturday.
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Date created : 2014-06-16