USA have opened their 2014 FIFA World Cup Group G campaign with a theatrical 2-1 victory over Ghana in Natal.
The Americans got out of the blocks quickly with a goal inside the opening minute before Ghana levelled in the 82nd minute prior to a dramatic winner with just minutes remaining.
Dempsey had received a pass from Jermaine Jones before advancing into the area and then tucking it in off the far post from the left side of the area.
The Black Stars settled quickly after conceding and managed to get themselves back into the contest although it would take them 81 minutes to reply after some profligate play in the final third.
Asamoah Gyan was threatening to break out against the US defence and it was fitting that the skipper was involved in the equalising goal which came eight minutes from time.
Ghana deservedly struck back when the dangerous Gyan found Andre Ayew with a backheel which allowed the Marseille star to take a touch before rocketing home past Tim Howard with the outside of his left foot.
That goal kicked the US, who had been floundering, into gear and they were able to edge themselves ahead just minutes later when second-half sub John Brooks rose above his marker to send a bouncing header from Graham Zusi's corner into the roof of the net.
Ghana were largely misfiring throughout with a number of efforts going well wide of Howard's goal and their inefficiency proved to be their downfall as the US had four of their eight shots on target as opposed to the Black Stars' three from 21.
Nevertheless, it was a brave victory from Juergen Klinsmann's US side, especially after losing star striker Jozy Altidore to a hamstring injury early in the match.
The US will now look to tackle Portugal in Manaus on June 22 while Akwasi Appiah's Ghana take on Germany in Fortaleza the day before.
2014 FIFA World Cup - Group G
Arena das Dunas, Natal - 39,760
Yellow cards:GHA - Mohammed Rabiu 30', Sulley Muntari 90+1' USA - nil
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