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USA vs. Ghana, 2014 World Cup: Final score 2-1, USMNT finally down Black Stars

21-year-old John Anthony Brooks scored with just four minutes left to play as the USA finally defeated Ghana at the World Cup.

Laurence Griffiths

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

The United States overcame two muscle injuries to starters and a late Ghana goal to finally defeat the Black Stars at the World Cup. Clint Dempsey gave the USA a lead just 34 seconds into the match, but Ghana appeared to salvage a point in the 82nd minute when Andre Ayew beat Tim Howard.

John Anthony Brooks was the hero in the end, scoring the winner in the 86th minute after he was left unmarked on a late corner kick.

Clint Dempsey didn't just start the match strong, he kicked the door down and gave the United States a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the proceedings. Off a throw-in, Jermaine Jones found Dempsey making a run into the Ghana box, and the Seattle Sounders striker did the rest, blowing past John Boye and beating Adam Kwarasey with a low shot inside the far post.

In the 23rd minute, Aron Jóhannsson was called into action after Jozy Altidore pulled up during a run with a clear hamstring injury. Altidore spent several minutes on the ground before being stretched off. Clint Dempsey had an injury scare as well in the 34th minute when he took a shin to the nose on a 50-50 aerial challenge with Boye. Dempsey's nose didn't look good, but he did finish out the half.

The injury scares continued in the 40th minute when defender Matt Besler momentarily grabbed his hamstring. After a couple moments, he seemed to be able to walk it off and finished out the half.

As for the play on the pitch, Ghana settled down after the goal and began to take control of possession, picking away at the U.S. defense. The problem for the Black Stars, though, was their service into the box, which was average at best. Most of their crosses were off target as they failed to connect with their attackers and create good chances on goal.

Besler did not return to play in the second half and was replaced by Brooks. Asamoah Gyan began to become a force in the second half, twice coming ever so close to equalizing for Ghana. The first chance came in the 56th minute when Gyan headed a lovely cross from Andre Ayew past Howard but just over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Gyan got up in front of Geoff Cameron, but missed just wide on a header off Daniel Opare's pass.

At last, in the 82nd minute, Ghana broke through thanks to some wonderful interplay between Gyan and Andre Ayew. Gyan found a streaking Ayew with a sublime back heel touch that allowed the striker to cut inside into a pocket of space. Ayew did the rest and fired a shot past Howard to even the match at 1-1.

Four minutes later the United States ripped back the lead as Brooks got free in the box on a corner kick and buried a header past Kwarasey. Cameron drew the attention of two Ghana defenders, leaving just enough space for Brooks to exploit behind him.

United States: Howard, Johnson, Cameron, Besler (Brooks 46'), Beasley, Beckerman, Jones, Bedoya (Zusi 77'), Bradley, Dempsey, Altidore (Jóhannsson 23')

Goals: Dempsey (1'), Brooks (86')

Ghana: Kwarasey, Opare, Mensah, Boye, Asamoah, Muntari, Rabiu (Essien 71'), J. Ayew (Boateng 59'), Atsu (Adomah 78'), A. Ayew, Gyan

Goals: A. Ayew (82')