Jun 16, 2014; Natal, BRAZIL; USA midfielder Graham Zusi (19) celebrates following the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi keys U.S. World Cup win vs. Ghana

Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi‘s corner kick cross set up John Brook’s game-winning header in the 2-1 U.S. World Cup victory over Ghana Monday in Natal, Brazil.

The U.S. squad took the lead on Clint Dempsey’s score with only 29 seconds played, the 5th fastest score in World Cup history. Ghana stormed back by peppering the U.S. goal with shots, finally tying the game at 1-1 at the 82 minute mark.

Enter hero John Brooks, a reserve defender who replaced Sporting KC’s Matt Besler to start the 2nd period due to Besler’s hamstring injury. Brooks headed a corner kick from Sporting KC mid-fielder Graham Zusi to net the game-winning goal at the 86 minute mark.

The World Cup victory is a big win for the United States, who are stuck in what many consider the toughest qualifying group in the World Cup—Group G, the so-called Group of Death. The U.S. must survive against World Cup favorite Germany, Portugal (who features what many consider the world’s best player in Cristiano Renaldo), and Ghana.

The victory is a small measure of revenge against Ghana, who had defeated the U.S. in two straight World Cups going back to 2006, including an elimination game in the round of 16 in 2010.

After scoring the easy goal to begin the match, the U.S. survived a rough game that included injuries to Besler and team captain Jozy Altidore (strained hamstring). The injury to Besler is not thought to be serious and he is expected to be available for the upcoming match against Portugal.

Graham Zusi had a great World Cup moment. Now let’s hope Matt Besler can contribute a bit more than making way for the game-winning score.

Tags: 2014 World Cup Graham Zusi Matt Besler Sporting Kansas City