Question: How has the U.S. done all-time in the FIFA World Cup?
Answer: 7-17-5. Okay, not so well, but remember the USMNT is still somewhat of a newcomer to the world's biggest stage, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup being just their 10th appearance to the big show. Compare that with the likes of Brazil (19 appearances), Germany and Italy (17 appearances) and we've only just gotten our feet wet.
Question: How has the U.S. done in the first match of the FIFA World Cup?
Answer: 2-5-2. Again not great but when you look at the four positive results, you realize how important the first match is, especially for this U.S. team -- those results (wins in 1930 and 2002, draws in 1994 and 2010) mark the only four times the U.S. Men's National Team has made it out of group play in their nine World Cup appearances.
Common sense says a positive result is absolutely needed Monday with Portugal and Germany looming large after the Ghana game but history hits it home as well.
Have a look at highlights from the U.S. debuts in every FIFA World Cup since 1990...
1990: United States 1, Czechoslovakia 5
The positives: This was the team's first World Cup match since 1950. Paul Caligiuri scored a goal. Tony Meola saved a penalty kick.
The negatives: The team still lost 5-1... Future Fire forward Eric Wynalda was sent off for a silly push in the back as future Fire defender Lubos Kubik and Czechoslovakia breezed past the U.S... Oh and those mullets.
1994: United States 1, Switzerland 1
A special day for me as this was my first-ever soccer match, which I took in with 80,000 other fans at the Pontiac Silverdome. The U.S. didn't have a ton of chances and conceded the first goal as Georges Bregy beat Tony Meola off a free kick from the left in the 39th minute.
Wynalda however gave many Americans their first World Cup memory, scoring off a free kick of his own in the 45th minute and setting the U.S. on course for advancement from the group for the first time since 1930.
1998: United States 0, Germany 2
Some will say the beginning of the disaster that was France '98 was John Harkes removal from the U.S. team. Others may say it was the barely tested 3-6-1 formation. Perhaps a combination of both are true but it all became evident with this match vs. Germany.
Things went downhill early when current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann headed a corner across the box which Andreas Moller snuck past U.S. defender Mike Burns, who was hugging the post up until that point.
Frankie Hejduk came close to equalizing with a diving header off David Regis' cross early in the second half but Klinsmann received a cross from front line teammate Oliver Bierhoff, shook U.S. captain Thomas Dooley and slotted past Kasey Keller in the 64th minute to give the Germans a confident 2-0 victory.
The loss set the tone for the U.S. to go winless in all three group matches, finishing dead last in the 32-team tournament.
2002: United States 3, Portugal 2
The U.S. entered the 2002 FIFA World Cup eager to make amends for their poor showing four years prior. Installed as U.S. coach months after France '98, Bruce Arena helped the U.S. to wins over Germany (twice), Argentina and the side's first Gold Cup championship since 1991 earlier that year.
Despite it all, the U.S. entered the tournament with little regard from the rest of the soccer world. That all changed through the first 36 minutes of this match as the U.S. used goals from John O'Brien (5') and Brian McBride (36') as well as an own goal off a cross from Landon Donovan to run out to a 3-0 lead over tournament favorites Portugal.
Three minutes after McBride's marker, Beto pulled a goal back for Portugal and the side used the entire second half to batter the United States. Jeff Agoos' own goal in the 71st minute made things nervy but the U.S. held on for one of its most memorable World Cup wins ever.
2006: United States 0, Czech Republic 3
The only member of the 1990 U.S. team on the 2006 side, you know Kasey Keller was thinking revenge for that 5-1 defeat 16 years earlier. It didn't happen however as the U.S. was thoroughly dominated from the first whistle in Gelsenkirchen, giving up the first goal in the fifth minute to Jan Koller.
Claudio Reyna had the American's best chance of the match with his hit off the post in the 28th minute but Tomas Rosicky stole the show, scoring from long distance in the 36th minute before completing the route in the 76th.
A match to forget, for sure.
2010: United States 1, England 1
Four minutes into this one felt like it might be a repeat of four years earlier when Steven Gerrard beat Tom Howard from inside the penalty area. The U.S. hung tough and was rewarded as Clint Dempsey's shot from outside of the area hit the palms of Robert Green before rolling over the goal line.
England had the better of the play for most of the match, but Jozy Altidore did come close in the second half. In the end, the game finished 1-1, with the result pushing both teams to the top of the group (with the U.S. ahead of course).