Sitting on the right side of a cold beer and the wrong side of the opening whistle for the United States’ first 2014 World Cup match, Gene Hernandez waited anxiously Monday at Rock ’n’ Bowl on South Carrollton Avenue for the anticipation to end.

“I’m a nervous wreck,” he confessed as the team he has followed since he was a child prepared to play Ghana, the high-powered squad that eliminated the U.S. from contention in the last two World Cup tournaments.

Moments later, he was on his seat, arms thrust in the air after Clint Dempsey slipped the ball past the outstretched leg of Ghana’s goaltender just 50 seconds into the match.

Two hours later, Hernandez was thrilled as the U.S. team held on to win the game 2-1, giving itself a much-needed boost in the point system that will decide whether it advances to the elimination round.