The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 17, 2014

Dempsey scores early, Brooks finishes the job as U.S.A. breaks ‘curse’ of the ‘Black Stars’

NATAL, Brazil — After 90 brutal minutes of end-to-end action, the Americans emerged with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ghana.

“It was a grind, but it was a wonderful win at the end of the day,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.

U.S. fans were screaming for revenge Monday after the Black Stars eliminated the Americans from the last two Cups.

They got it. At a price.

Clint Dempsey scored a shocking goal a half-minute in, but the U.S. couldn’t make it stand up. Andre Ayew tied the score in the 82nd minute after a brilliant back-heel pass from Asamoah Gyan, who had eliminated the U.S. four years ago.

And then, just four minutes later, 21-year-old John Brooks rose to head in Graham Zusi’s corner kick from 8 yards — the first substitute to ever score for the United States in 30 World Cup games over 84 years. The defender, an unexpected addition to the American roster, was so overcome he fell to the field and was unable to move even after teammates climbed off the dog pile. He had made his national team debut only last August, and Brooks hadn’t scored in four appearances.

U.S. players ran onto the field to celebrate at the final whistle, jumping as supporters chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” Now they’re in good position in Group G, where Germany opened with a 4-0 rout of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

After the game, Vice President Joe Biden visited the victorious Americans in their locker room.

“We got the three points that we badly wanted,” Klinsmann said.

He had predicted this would be like a final. Jozy Altidore was hoping it wasn’t his finale.

The forward was carried off on a stretcher after his left hamstring gave out in the 21st minute when he tried to control a long ball. He awaits tests that will determine whether he can return for this World Cup.

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