News

USA tops Ghana in opening World Cup match

USA tops Ghana in opening World Cup match

WORLD CUP: United States' Clint Dempsey celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16. Photo: Associated Press/Ricardo Mazalan

By Michael Kahn

NATAL Brazil (Reuters) – A 2-1 win against a Ghana side that knocked the United States out of the last two World Cups will mean nothing if the Americans falter in their remaining Group G games, captain Clint Dempsey said on Monday.

The U.S. were beaten by Ghana in their final group stage game in 2006 and in the last 16 four years later.

“It just so happened we had history with Ghana,” said Dempsey, who scored after 29 seconds on Monday but also suffered a broken nose.

“They pretty much knocked us out of the last two World Cups but this win means nothing unless we build on it.”

PHOTOS: USA tops Ghana in opening World Cup match | EXTRA: It seems everyone is tweeting about the World Cup

The Americans hope they can carry the momentum into their next match with Portugal in Manaus on Sunday before taking on group favorites Germany in Recife as they bid to make the last 16 for the fourth time in the last seven tournaments.

A first step was finally beating Ghana and Dempsey’s goal also marked sweet vindication for a player who helped lead the American attack in the two previous defeats against the Black Stars.

In 2006, the U.S. equalized when Dempsey scored late in the first half only for Ghana to convert a penalty minutes later to take a 2-1 lead that would send them through to the knockout rounds and the Americans home.

The Americans again fell behind in their last 16 match in South Africa in 2010 before Landon Donovan equalized from the penalty spot – only for Asamoah Gyan to split the U.S. defense in extra time and lash the winner past Tim Howard.

Despite their early lead on Monday, it looked like Gyan would once again help break American hearts when his sublime backheel set up Andre Ayew’s 83rd minute equalizer after intense Ghana pressure.

A powerful header from substitute and World Cup debutant John Brooks three minutes later, however, gave the Americans their first win over their African rivals in three attempts.

“Any team you have beaten twice will come out very strong and I believe they came out very strong and they were determined not to lose a third time,” Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah said.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Justin Palmer)

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Bellingham Cal Ripken squad drops two games at regional tournament

Fresh
Cal Ripken team in action

The Bellingham Titans are back in action Friday at 4pm versus a team from Helena, Montana.

in Local Sports

Marshawn Lynch to hold out

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch stands on the field during a brief break against the St. Louis Rams in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Seattle.

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will not be participate in the opening day of training camp which starts on Friday.

in Local Sports

Bellingham Bells to present Jim Clem Bobblehead night

bellingham bells jim clem bobble head

The first 750 fans in attendance on Saturday, July 26 will receive a special-edition bobblehead in the likeness of Coach Clem.

in Sports

Oakland’s Johnson designated for assignment

Oakland Athletics pitcher Jim Johnson (45) is relieved by manager Bob Melvin, rear, during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The Indians won 6-4. Johnson was the losing pitcher. In front is Athletics catcher Derek Norris.

Johnson, acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles, was 4-2 with a 6.92 ERA in 38 games with the A's.

in Sports

Two Texas football players charged with sex assault

Texas head coach Charlie Strong listens to a question from a reporter during the Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media days in Dallas, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Spokeswoman Cindy Posey says the players charged Thursday are wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander. Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography.