Eddie Johnson’s Comeback; U.S. Defeats Antigua & Barbuda
Eddie Johnson, yes that Eddie Johnson, headed in two goals, one in the 20th and another in the 90th to grab an all important CONCACAF road win for the U.S. over Antigua & Barbuda at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Johnson who last scored more than one goal in a game for the U.S. — an October 2004 WC qualifying match against Panama where he put 3 in the net — has experianced a journey that has brought him to England and back with little success. But his move to the Seattle Sounders this season, along with some maturity and a coach who put believed in the 28-year-old striker, has been a successful one for Johnson with 14 goals this season. He was rewarded by a surprise call up from Jurgen Klinsmann and the Bunnell, Florida native did not disappoint the U.S. coach.
While the US certainly did not look like a CONCACAF power playing a team ranked 106th in the world, Klinsmann’s recent inclusion of Graham Zusi and Alan Gordan paid off while the usual suspects were not able to get the job done. The Sporting KC player, Zusi served in the first cross to Johnson after a corner kick that was cleared. Zusi’s first touch cross found the head of Johnson who went charging through the defense and headed the ball down and cleanly past goalkeeper Molvin James for the first goal.
It was the San Jose Earthquakes Gordon who played in the key diagonal cross in the 90th minute that also found the head of Johnson who headed back across the goal for a cool finish that gave the U.S. all three points which was critical in their FIFA WC qualifying campaign.
“You dream, and you dream of playing for your country and playing in World Cup qualifiers,” said Johnson. “But a lot of people dream and don’t make that dream into reality. I’m glad I was able to make that dream a reality tonight.”
The US now heads to Kansas City, Kan., to play Guatemala this Tuesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Guatemala are tied with the US in Group A each with 10 points and both with a +3 goal differential. The top two teams in each of the three CONCACAF groups will move on to play in the ‘hexagonal’ stage between 6 February and 15 October 2013.
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