- Eddie Johnson Scores Two Goals, Including Game-Winner in 90th Minute in First Game Since 2010
- Johnson is Now Tied for Second All-Time in World Cup Qualifying Goals with Brian McBride with 10
- USA Stays Atop Group A and Can Clinch Spot in Final Round of Qualifying with Win or Tie Against Guatemala on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Sold-Out LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
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.
- Eddie Johnson’s multi-goal performance was his first since he notched a hat trick on Oct. 13, 2004, against Panama in World Cup Qualifying in Washington, D.C.
- U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones, who entered the match for Danny Williams in the second half, received his second yellow card in the tournament and will be suspended for Tuesday’s match against Guatemala. Jones was booked for a hand ball when he tried to challenge Dexter Blackstock for possession in the 62nd minute.
- Tim Howard moved into a tie for third place all-time in U.S. MNT goalkeeper caps with his 82nd appearance, matching Brad Friedel’s career total from 1992-2004. Howard made his 10th start of the year to tie for the team lead with Jermaine Jones.
- U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra earned his 108th cap, which moves him to within two of sixth-place Paul Caligiuri (110) on the USA’s all-time list. Clint Dempsey made his 90th career appearance, tying him for 16th all-time with John Harkes.
- Bocanegra started at left back, where he played the final 30 minutes during the USA’s 3-1 win against Antigua & Barbuda on June 8. Bocanegra’s move to left back was to fill in for an injured Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo. Clarence Goodson, who returned to the team after serving a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation, started at center back.
- Bocanegra, Howard and Gomez have started in all five World Cup qualifiers in the Semifinal Round.
- Midfielder Michael Bradley returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two qualifiers because of a muscle injury.
- U.S. forward Alan Gordon earned his first cap with the national team when he replaced Herculez Gomez in the 73rd minute.
- Sacha Kljestan made his second appearance of the year when he was brought in for Graham Zusi in the 78th minute.
- The USA improved to 8-2-2 this year and currently holds the best winning percentage (0.75) since its 13-3-4 (0.75) performance in 2005.
- The U.S. MNT moved to 19-11-11 all-time on the road against CONCACAF island nations. Friday’s match was the USA’s first on the road against Antigua & Barbuda.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
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
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
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
ATG – Tamorley Thomas (caution) 61st minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 62
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