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World Cup 2014: USA survives tough first test by Ghana with closing minutes set piece goal

Well-worn American heroes returned again to lift the United States over Ghana, but it was a new face who has stepped onto the grandest of stages and delivered for the US Men's National Team.

John Brooks, a true American hero
John Brooks, a true American hero
Laurence Griffiths

The FIFA World Cup this year has been absolutely electric between the waning moments goal from Switzerland to the stupid "headbutt" by Pepe resulting in his being sent off with a red card for Portugal, surely it could get no better. Even fans of the USA had their doubts, but as has become the motto of this US Men's National Team in this 2014 World Cup, the boys never once gave up.

An early goal, officially now the third quickest goal in World Cup history put the United States in front. Clint Dempsey took a ball from wide, beat his defender with a deft dribble move and slotted the ball into the goal past the outstretched arm of the Ghanaian Goalkeeper. For a few minutes, the match ebbed and flowed wonderfully with both teams finding possession, at least until Jozy Altidore attempted to chase down a ball over the top and ultimately was stretchered off with what has been dubbed a "hamstring strain".

Ghana never said die, though, giving the red, white and blue all they could handle. Chances came frequently, but it took until the 82nd minute for the US defense to be broken down enough to allow Ghana to score. Andre Ayew took a nifty backheel at the edge of box, found a little space in the box and shot it past an outstretched Tim Howard. Tim came close, his hand nearly touching the ball, but it was devastating. The team fought for roughly 80 minutes plus first half stoppage, and still conceded.

A lot of teams would have hunkered down, having already lost two starters to injuries (Jozy Altidore and Matt Besler), but the Ghana goal only freed the USMNT to play their game. Fabian Johnson found a little space at the corner flag and earned a corner kick. In the 86th minute Graham Zusi, subbed in for Alejandro Bedoya, took the ensuing corner and the service was perfect finding the head of John Brooks, subbed in for Matt Besler at halftime, putting the US up for good.

The final showed 2-1, but this match pushed this team to its limits. Tested constantly, the team bent and only just barely broke. The key, though, was they never quit. They continued to push and press, and when it mattered most they did what had to be done. This next six days of rest will be vital, as we need Altidore to be okay. The questions begin with Aron Johannson. Can he find his form? What about Michael Bradley? This was easily one of his worst matches in memory, maybe ever.

Next up is Portugal. Do you believe?

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And now for our proud city, losing their you know what...