Eddie Johnson scored his first two U.S. national team goals since 2008 to provide a much needed 2-1 win against Antigua and Barbuda, making the final match of this stage of World Cup qualifying significantly less dire for the U.S.
The conditions were ugly in Antigua, with the home side contriving the smallest pitch allowed under FIFA rules to try and hinder the U.S.'s superior ability and heavy rain also working in their favor. But the 28-year-old Johnson, controversially serving as a temporary replacement for Jozy Altidore in Jurgen Klinsmann's starting XI, scored in the 20th minute to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead. Though that should've been enough to allow the U.S. to stroll to a leisurely win right there, a quick loss of defensive discipline and a slip on the wet grass from Clarence Goodson allowed former England U-21 Dexter Blackstock to score for Antigua just five minutes later.
From that point, the situation turned nervous. Though the U.S. had the bulk of possession, shots were way too few and far between as Antigua did a good job of maintaining for a draw. Finally, 30-year-old sub Alan Gordon made the most of his first international appearance by setting up Johnson's second goal of the match in the 90th minute and giving the U.S. a bit of relief as their qualifying campaign remains in their control.
[Related: Johnson saves U.S. from the brink]
It wasn't a satisfying or acceptable performance from the US. by any means, but the desired result is the desired result. And when you're trying to navigate the back alleys of CONCACAF it might be best to reserve judgement until after you get back home, which is where the U.S. will wrap up this round against Guatemala on Tuesday with a chance to finish atop the group.
Giant Clint Dempsey head sums it up best...
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