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USMNT 2 Ghana 1 - Yanks Have One Foot In Knockout Rounds After Thrilling Win

The USMNT picked up a big 2-1 win over Ghana in their first World Cup match of 2014.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since he first arrived, Jurgen Klinsmann has had tons of questions thrown his way. Going into his first (and he will have a second, if his contract holds up) World Cup, those questions only intensified. Who would the substitutions be if injuries or desperate measures hit? Would the team be able to score without Landon Donovan?

We should have learned our lesson by now: never doubt the German. Klinnsy did what he had to do on Monday night as his United States team turned the historical tables on Ghana and took a big step towards escaping Group G.

Clint Dempsey put the United States up less than a minute after the game began, picking up a ball off a throw-in and weaving his way through the Ghanian defense before smacking a shot off the post and in on the far side. That early boost kept the US powered up for the first 20 minutes of the game or so, but it seemed nearly inevitable that when the US' other chances started to fall by the wayside, the Ghanians would start to work their way back into the match.

The end of the first half featured some early signs of Ghana having all of the control of the match, and that unfortunately followed into the second half. The US defense, supposedly its biggest weakness, stood strong for a very long time, even with John Brooks being brought in as a substitute for Matt Besler. Unfortunately, holding the Ghanians at bay for the entire game proved to be impossible. Andre Ayew looked like he would kill off American dreams in the 82nd minute as he finished off a lovely 1-2 play for Ghana that saw the entire US defense chasing behind it after a slick pass.

Two substitutes ended up combining for the winner a scant few minutes later. Graham Zusi, who came on for the hard working but ineffective Alejandro Bedoya, knocked a corner kick right to the head of Brooks in the 85th minute, and time seemed to stand still as his header smacked off the ground and into the net. Ghana's late attempts came to nothing as the US finally got their confidence back and were able to expertly drain away five minutes of stoppage time.

Germany and the US are top with three points a piece, and the other two teams have nothing. You couldn't have asked for a much better start to the World Cup for the Yanks.