North Sound, Antigua (Sports Network) - Eddie Johnson hasn't been able to hold
down a regular place in the United States national team.
But on Friday, Johnson made a case for regular inclusion by scoring a pair of
goals, including the winner in the 90th minute, in the USA's 2-1 win at
Antigua and Barbuda in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
It could have been the windy conditions, the tight field or a stubborn Antigua
side. But whatever the reason, Jurgen Klinsmann's team had trouble in the
attacking third all evening, and nearly was held to a draw.
The result moves the Americans to top of their qualifying group, three points
clear of Guatemala and Jamaica, who play later on Friday night, with one game
Johnson netted his first goal after 20 minutes by heading home an accurate
cross from Graham Zusi.
However, the home side snatched the equalizer just five minutes later with
Peter Byers driving into the area on the right and squaring the ball to Dexter
Blackstock inside the six-yard box for a simple finish.
Despite dominating possession, the U.S. created few chances after the break
and Antigua nearly went in front in the final 10 minutes as Byers curled a
shot just wide of the right post.
Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James produced a good save on Michael Bradley's
header to keep the match level. But he couldn't prevent Johnson from adding to
his tally in the 90th minute.
Substitute Alan Gordon provided the early cross and Johnson found himself open
at the far post, where he nodded the ball back across the face of goal to help
the Americans avoid an embarrassing draw.
The Sports Network