It was the first game for the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It was a matchup with Ghana, the team that had eliminated the USA in the previous two World Cups and the MNT’s first opponent in the “Group of Death.” It was John Brooks, one year ago today, that a headed in a heart-stopping goal in the 86th minute to give the U.S. a 2-1 win. A dream scenario for Brooks had become reality.
The game began with a historic strike, when the USA took an immediate 1-0 lead off a Clint Dempsey goal that came 29 seconds into the match. It was the fastest goal in World Cup history for the U.S. and a goal that made Dempsey the first MNT player to score in three World Cups.
The defense stifled a number of attacks from Ghana in the minutes that followed, but in the 82nd, the African nation broke through with an equalizing goal. With eight minutes left, the U.S. pushed ahead, battled for a scoring opportunity and earned corner kick, which set the stage for Brooks.
“I had a dream,” Brooks said in the pandemonium that followed the win. “I told some teammates that I dreamed that I scored in the 80th minute and we win the game. Now it was the 86th minute, and we won.”
The 21-year-old, playing in his first World Cup game overwhelmed by the moment and the realization of his dream fell to his knees on the pitch as his teammates embraced him.