NATAL, Brazil (AP) — The United States has won its World Cup opener with a late goal from a player who had appeared in just four other games with the national team.
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John Brooks came off the bench to score the game-winner in the 86th minute to give the Americans a much-needed 2-1 win over Ghana. Graham Zusi sent a corner kick toward the net and watched as Brooks headed it in, four minutes after Ghana tied the score.
Brooks became the first substitute to score a goal for the United States in World Cup competition.
The Americans got off to a quick start as Clint Dempsey put them ahead just 32 seconds into the game. It was the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history, and the fastest by a U.S. player.
Dempsey also became the first U.S. player to score in three different World Cups, and the lead held up until Andre Ayew (ay-OO’) beat Tim Howard in the 82nd minute.
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The Yanks closed out the win without forward Jozy Altidore, who was carried off on a stretcher after his left hamstring gave out in the 21st minute. He awaits tests that will determine whether he can return for this World Cup.
Ghana had knocked the U.S. out of the previous two World Cups.