BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Eddie Johnson came through once again, showing the stellar form that’s made him America’s top scorer and giving the United States a key victory in World Cup qualifying.
A day shy of his 21st birthday, Johnson scored a brilliant goal in the 11th minute and set up Steve Ralston’s goal in the 68th to lead the United States over Guatemala 2-0 Wednesday night.
Johnson has eight goals in eight international appearances, an astonishing figure that has caused European clubs to express interest in acquiring him from Major League Soccer’s Dallas team. Seven of the goals have come in World Cup qualifiers, tying him with Brian McBride for second on the U.S. career list, two behind Earnie Stewart.
Three days after playing tentatively and conservatively in a dismal 2-1 loss at Mexico, the Americans opened with one of their most high-octane performances, outshooting the Guatemalans 14-3 in the first half. Poor finishing, especially by former Gonzaga University player Brian Ching, kept the United States from running up the score.
By winning their first home game in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the Americans improved to 2-1-0, temporarily taking over the group lead with six points. Mexico (2-0), which played at Panama (0-1-1) Wednesday night, had six, followed by Guatemala (1-1-1) and Costa Rica (1-1-1), which was held to a scoreless tie at Trinidad and Tobago (0-2-1).
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