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CONCACAF World Cup qualifying wrap: Johnson stars for the US

Eddie Johnson bagged a double for the United States as they beat Antigua and Barbuda 2-1 in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Friday.

Johnson – who plays his club football with the Seattle Sounders in MLS – starred in his first national team appearance in two years, netting the winner in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.

The former Fulham man was a surprise inclusion at the expense of AZ Alkmaar forward Jozy Altidore in an attacking line-up selected by USA coach Juergen Klinsmann.

And it paid dividends early in the piece, with a left-footed cross from Graham Zusi headed home by Johnson after just 20 minutes.

The forward made the most of slack marking from Antigua and Barbuda midfielder Zaine Francis-Angol but just five minutes later, proceedings were levelled.

Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock was the scorer, converting a terrific cross from Peter Byers.

Byers only won the ball due to an error from Carlos Bocanegra and the US looked shaky at the back throughout the match.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard was called in to action to deny Blackstock and Randolph Burton in the first half while the Everton custodian was impressive in the second half, making a series of important saves to keep the scores level.

That was despite the US dominating possession but, as the game grew older, the eventual winners began to create more chances.

And Michael Bradley thought he had scored with just four minutes to play, only for his header to be superbly saved by Antigua and Barbuda goalkeeper Molvin James.

There was still time for an American goal though, with debutant Alan Gordon supplying a neat ball for Johnson to head in a last-gasp winner.

The United States are top of Group A of CONCACAF qualifying with 10 points from five matches.

The other match in that group saw Guatemala defeat Jamaica 2-1 thanks to Carlos Ruiz’s late winner.

In Group B, an unbelievable eight-minute hot spell saw Mexico win 5-0 in Guyana.

The match was goalless until the 78th minute when Andres Guardado opened the scoring and a flurry of strikes were to follow.

Oribe Peralta, Javier Hernandez and substitute Angel Reyna got in on the act as well while Guyana defender Charles Pollard netted an own goal.

Also in Group B, Costa Rica beat a nine-man El Salvador 1-0 with Jose Cubero scoring the only goal of the game.

Tosaint Ricketts, Will Johnson and David Edgar scored for Canada in a 3-0 win over Cuba in Group C while Panama and Honduras played out a scoreless draw.

Sat 13 October, 2012
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