It only took 30 seconds to remind United States fans just how hopeful they can be for this 2014 U.S. World Cup team. Soccer is typically the sport where you have to wait for what seems like an eternity to see a goal but the U.S. Men’s team snagged their first goal by the feet of their captain Clint Dempsey in Monday’s showdown with Ghana.
In that moment the entire country was reminded of just how much that game meant to the state of the U.S. national team. The Americans have been eliminated by Ghana in each of the last two World Cups (2006 and 2010) so it is pretty safe to say that this game was personal.
From the day when the World Cups were drawn and the U.S. realized their first game was against Ghana they have been preparing endlessly to get redemption for the last few outings.
The new jerseys and the new coach seemed to fit well — even though most of the game the U.S. seemed to be relinquishing control. The Americans earned the first goal but then let Ghana have complete control of the ball and in some sense the game itself.
Unfortunately the U.S. lost an important part of their offense when striker Jozy Altidore went down with a strained hamstring in the first half. As great of a moment that the goal was nothing can describe the pain in the hearts of the American Outlaws (U.S. soccer fans) when Jozy went down.
The Americans never really seemed to get themselves back together after that point. They sat back and tried to protect their lead as Ghana began to tee off on Tim Howard until they finally scored in the 82nd minute.
Safe to say that if the Americans play like that against Portugal on Sunday that they will have a tough time fending off the Portuguese attack that is headed up by Cristiano Ronaldo — not to mention the match they have with Germany the following Thursday.
The American heart break was relieved a few minutes later when 20-year old John Brooks knocked in a header to regain the lead. It is mind boggling to think of the scenario here, to have Altidore go down and then have a substitute join the action in the second half and get the game winner, should the U.S. move past the group stage Brooks’ goal will easily be remembered as a monumental moment for U.S. soccer.
But getting to that point will be difficult. The U.S. have a very difficult draw and two more challenging games ahead of themselves against Portugal and Germany — two of the highest rated teams in the world. Portugal seems to be struggling right now but always possess the power to earn a decisive victory and Germany might just be unbeatable this year (they were my pick to win the Cup).
There is reason to be hopeful that the U.S. can advance out of the group stage but they will have to find a way to make up for the absence of Altidore while also finding a way to keep control of the ball for longer moments in the game.
The American Outlaws will be screaming and shouting but let’s hope that the U.S. will conquer this daunting task and advance to the round of 16 — bringing glory to our great nation.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to