616114_reu_dempseyclint_rtr3u54p Toru Hanai/Reuters Pictures
Halftime in Natal

U.S. Up 1-0 After Dempsey's Lightning Quick Strike

The United States captain scored less than a minute into the match against Ghana, shocking the world and sending the partisan crowd into rapture. The Americans held the lead despite losing Jozy Altidore.
BY Noah Davis Posted
June 16, 2014
6:51 PM
NATAL, Brazil—In the endless build up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it's unlikely that anyone envisioned a scenario that started as well as the United States men's national team's match did against Ghana did at Arena das Dunas.

Clint Dempsey scored 30 seconds into the game in classic Dempsey fashion, beating a defender then ringing a left-footed shot off the post and in past Adam Kwarasey. The pro-American crowd exploded into delirium, four years of frustration expunged with one blast from the Texan.

Of course, there were still 45 minutes of soccer to play until the half. Rather than concede, Ghana pressed forward, dominating possession and attacking primarily up the right side at DaMarcus Beasley. They would create a number of crosses but very little in the way of chances.

In the 21st minute, Jozy Altidore was stretched off after appearing to pull up with a hamstring injury. He chased a Michael Bradley longball, only to stop and slowly collapse to the ground, motioning immediately for a trainer. Aron Johannsson replaced the forward.

The Ghanaian onslaught continued, both in terms of possession and on the physical side of the game. Mohammed Rabiu saw yellow for an elbow to Kyle Beckerman's head. John Boye bloodied Dempsey's face with an inadvertent leg to the face. They brought out the stretcher and Dempsey was all "heck no" and walked off under his own power, his nose looking very much broken. He returned two minutes later.

The half ticked on. There was action, but there were no goals. 1-0 USA.

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