The United States Men’s National Team entered the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with high expectations. Drawn into Group G against Ghana, Germany, and Portugal (the “Group of Death”), the team still had aspirations of getting out of the group and to the Round of 16.
The USMNT won their first match of the group stage, a 2-1 victory against rivals Ghana, setting up their second match against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. A win would mean that the USMNT would clinch a place in the final 16, while a loss would mean they would need a win against Germany to get out of the group. In Manaus, the teams lined up on June 22, 2014. The match did not get off to a great start for the USMNT, as Nani scored 5 minutes into the match to give Portugal a 1-0 lead. That lead would carry well into the second half.
Around the 60 minute mark, the USMNT earned a corner kick. With several players jostling inside the penalty area and Graham Zusi lining up to take the corner, Jermaine Jones lurked outside the 18-yard box. The ball was sent into the box and went off the head of a Portuguese defender to deflect out to Jones. Jones, about 25 yards away from goal, faked a shot, then took a touch to his right. There, he unleashed a curling rocket that went around another Portuguese defender into the right corner of the net past a stunned Beto. It was the game’s equalizer, and it sent the tens of thousands of American fans into bedlam.
Jermaine Jones’s goal and celebration was one of the best moments of an incredible 2014 World Cup. It was relived over and over by fans of the USMNT and of soccer, and it will be looked at as one of the better goals in USMNT history. The game would end in a 2-2 draw, and despite a loss against Germany, the USMNT made it out of the Group of Death to the Round of 16, where they would ultimately fall to Belgium. But, everyone will remember Jermaine Jones and his brilliant goal against Portugal that sent an entire nation into euphoria.
For more Black History Month stories, check out our Black History Month hub. We will be bringing a story each day this month to highlight some of the biggest moments in black American and world soccer history.