After 90 brutal minutes of end-to-end action, the Americans emerged with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ghana.
US fans were screaming for revenge after the Black Stars eliminated the Americans from the last two Cups.
Clint Dempsey scored a shocking goal a half-minute in, but the US could not hold on to their lead.
Captain Demspy ended the first-half with a tissue up his nose to stop the bleeding after John Boye's kick to his face during a battle for a header in the 31st minute, and he was struggling for breath in the second.
Andre Ayew tied the score in the 82nd minute after a brilliant back-heel pass from Asamoah Gyan, who had eliminated the US four years ago.
And then, just four minutes later, 20-year-old John Brooks rose to head in Graham Zusi's corner kick from 8 yards - the first substitute to ever score for the United States in 30 World Cup games over 84 years.
The defender, an unexpected addition to the American teamsheet, was so overcome he fell to the field and was unable to move even after teammates climbed off the dog pile.
He had made his national team debut only last August, and Brooks hadn't scored in four appearances.
"It was a grind, but it was a wonderful win at the end of the day," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.