Brooks. This is really all that needs to be said. The Americans took home three points in what has become our quadrennial match against Ghana. Our first win in three meetings. All on the back of one beautiful 87th minute header from John Brooks, the greatest American since Abraham Lincoln (according to Wikipedia).
It puts us in a good position for a Sunday matchup against the Fightin' Cristianos, now with less Pepe (thanks to him Pepe-ing things) and injury scratches to Hugo Almeida and Fabio Coentrao.
The Yanks took first blood on a 29th second goal by the captain, Clint Dempsey. Ghana responded by taking blood from Clint Dempsey, breaking his nose on an extremely high boot by John Boye. Jozy Altidore will be an injury scratch due to lacking a hamstring, while it appears Matt Besler (who was a precautionary sub for Brooks at halftime also with a hamstring) will be able to go.
Overall I like the US against Portugal. Their backline, while more talented, isn't as physical and crunching in their tackles as the Ghanaians. Their overall team speed, players with the last name Ronaldo notwithstanding, is not as pacy as the Ghanaians. Their left side of the defense will be new starters with Pepe and Coentrao out. Eder is a downgrade from Almeida.
I look for Michael Bradley to come out and have a rebound game compared to Monday, where I saw one of the worst matches from him that he's had in an American shirt. If Portugal starts Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho and Miguel Veloso in the midfield as they did against Germany, look for Bradley to steer toward Moutinho and Veloso, the less defensive of the options. Meireles is known to throw a tackle and have a bit of a temper, but is solid defensively and will work and track hard. He also has an amazing beard/mohawk combination.
Johannson starting for Jozy Altidore will change the look of the attack a good bit for the US. The Iceman definitely isn't the hold up option that Jozy provides and is much less physical. If he and Dempsey can work off each other well and balance their runs, they could pick apart a defensive pair consisting of Luis Neto and Bruno Alves.
Hopefully the US can come clear with another three points and punch their ticket to the round of 16 prior to the German result. As always, check out where your local Outlaws Chapters are meeting. It's always a good time.