Johnson Double Leads U.S. Men's National Team to Three Points in Antigua

NORTH SOUND, Antigua (Oct. 12, 2012) – Eddie Johnson scored two goals, including a 90th-minute game-winner, to give the U.S. Men’s National Team a 2-1 victory against Antigua & Barbuda this evening in the Semifinal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Johnson, who had not played for the U.S. MNT since 2010, is now tied with Brian McBride for second place all-time in World Cup Qualifying goals in U.S. history with 10 in his career.

“We expected a very difficult challenge and they gave us that challenge,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “It came down to the wire. I’m obviously happy for Eddie getting this moment back on the team. He was all excited the last couple of days and he put the two goals away. That gets us back home with three points.”

With the win, the U.S. maintained a first-place tie in Group A with 10 points as Guatemala also won its Friday night group match against Jamaica 2-1. The USA and Guatemala are tied for the group lead as the two teams head into their final match in the Semifinal Round against Guatemala at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at sold-out LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The USA is guaranteed to advance through the round with a win or a draw against Guatemala, and could potentially advance with a loss.

The top two teams of the group advance through the Semifinal Round. Third-place Jamaica sits three points behind but still has an outside chance of advancing if it can post a convincing victory against Antigua to make up its goal differential deficit.

Coverage of Tuesday’s U.S. match against Guatemala on ESPN2 begins at 5:30 p.m. CT, and the match will also be shown live on WatchESPN and Telefutura. Fans can follow the game on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer.

Johnson gave the USA a 1-0 lead with a 20th-minute header off of Graham Zusi’s left-footed cross from the right side. Right at the edge of the six-yard box, Johnson elevated above his defender and headed the ball past goalkeeper Molvin James. It was Johnson’s first goal since scoring on June 15, 2008, during an 8-0 qualifying win against Barbados.

Antigua responded quickly as Dexter Blackstock equalized in the 25th minute off of a Peter Byers cross from the right. Byers got past U.S. defender Geoff Cameron near the endline and slipped a pass in front of the goal for Blackstock who hit a low shot past USA goalkeeper Tim Howard.

In the closing minute of regulation, the U.S. got the vital goal and three points shortly after a throw-in from the right side by Steve Cherundolo. Sacha Kljestan found Alan Gordon inside the penalty area and the forward deftly hit a one-timed cross to the left post to a darting Johnson who headed it back across the goal frame and into the right side past James.

Additional Notes:




-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Antigua & Barbuda
Date: Oct. 12, 2012
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Semifinal Round
Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium; North Sound, Antigua
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 7,000
Weather: 81 degrees, muggy

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            1          1          2
ATG                            1          0          1

USA – Eddie Johnson (Graham Zusi)                      20th minute    
ATG – Dexter Blackstock (Peter Byers)                    25
USA – Eddie Johnson (Alan Gordon)                      90

Lineups:
USA : 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.); 19-Graham Zusi (16-Sacha Kljestan, 78), 14-Danny Williams (13-Jermaine Jones, 56), 4-Michael Bradley, 18-Eddie Johnson; 8-Clint Dempsey, 9-Herculez Gomez (17-Alan Gordon, 73)
Subs not used: 2-Michael Parkhurst, 5-Kyle Beckerman, 7-Maurice Edu, 11-Joe Corona, 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann


ATG : 18-Molvin James; 5-Marc Joseph, 17-George Dublin, 11-Quinton Griffith, 20-Akeem Thomas, 19-Luke George, 3-Zane Francis-Angol, 14-Randolph Burton, 16-Peter Byers (9-Stefan Smith, 89), 13-Tamorley Thomas, 23-Dexter Blackstock
Subs not used: 1-Brent Mohammed, 21-Keita De Castro, 22-Hazel Pyle, 4-Karanja Mack, 8-Troy Dublin, 12-Moses Ashikodi, 10-Tevaughn Harriett, 7-Kimol Alexander
Head coach: Tom Curtis

Stats Summary: USA / ATG                                   
Shots: 11 / 10
Shots on Goal: 4 / 2
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 11
Offside: 4 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
ATG – Tamorley Thomas (caution)                            61st minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution)                                 62

Officials:
Referee:                                 Neal Brizan (TRI)
Assistant Referee 1:                Dion Neil (TRI)
Assistant Referee 2:                Ionut Bordieanu  (CAY)
Fourth Official:                       Christophel Stewart (CAY)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Eddie Johnson