The United States grabbed a dramatic 2-1 win over Ghana, with John Brooks heading home the winner from a corner in the 86th minute.
United States captain Clint Dempsey scored in just 30 seconds to give his country the best possible start to the match, and the US seemed to have control most of the way through.
Ghana finally made their own breakthrough late in the match through Andre Ayew, but the United States was back in front just minutes later thanks to Brooks.
It was a high charged and emotional thrill-ride of a game, and may have taken a toll on the players as they looked strained toward the end. Landon Donovan, who sits on the sidelines this World Cup, compared the team to prize fighters at halftime, because of the physical exhaustion many of the players seemed to be contending with.
The Americans now sit with a lot more than a puncher's chance of progressing from Group G, the most difficult of all the World Cup pools by most accounts.
"This was definitely the start we wanted," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters after the match. "They worked hard for it. It's a good feeling to have those three points."
Brooks, a 21-year-old defender whose tall, thin frame makes him adapt at the header, was on the field only because of an injury to Matt Besler. That's a good thing for the US, because he got his head to find a perfect Graham Zusi corner kick to secure victory, just when the U.S. was starting to lose strength.
Brooks was a last minute addition to team and is the first American substitute to score a goal in the World Cup.
The shot invigorated the team, and the Americans held on to win the match.
"I'm sure a lot of fans back home were going crazy in front of their TV," Klinsmann said.
Team USA Faces Portugal next, at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 22 in Arena Amazônia, Manaus.