The legend of Dos A Cero continues.
Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson etched his name in World Cup qualifying lore with the opening goal as the U.S. National Team topped Mexico 2-0 for the fourth straight World Cup qualifying cycle at Crew Stadium in Columbus and the Americans punched their tickets to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Johnson scored his 12th goal in 21 lifetime World Cup qualifying matches and Landon Donovan added another while Tim Howard held on for the clean sheet to move atop the CONCACAF standings at 5-2-1, clinching a berth in the World Cup after Honduras finished in a 2-2 draw with Panama in Honduras.
Playing its first match under new head coach Luis Fernando Tena after Chepo de la Torre was fired following a 2-1 home loss to Honduras on Friday, Mexico pressured the U.S. from the start of the match. El Tri managed three shots in the first ten minutes, but could not put any on frame.
In the 32nd minute, Donovan curled a corner kick into the middle of the box just outside the six-yard box. Johnson was there for the header, but Mexican goalkeeper Jose Corona dove to his right to make the save. The score remained 0-0 into halftime, but it wouldn’t stay that way long.
On an identical corner kick in the 49th minute, Donovan found Johnson for another header. This time Corona came off his line to attempt to make a clearance and Johnson headed it into the opened net for a 1-0 lead, sending Crew Stadium into bedlam.
The U.S. continued to press to add to its lead and in the 78th minute, Donovan finished his 13th career qualifying goal to make it 2-0. Mix Diskerud, who came into the match for Johnson in the 75th minute, got into the box up the right side and crossed a ball across the face of the goal. It skipped past Seattle forward Clint Dempsey at the near post, but Donovan was there for the first-time shot to put the game out of reach.
Howard would finish the night with four saves for his fifth clean sheet of the Hexagonal Round.
After the match the Americans waited in the locker room, watching the second half of the Honduras-Panama, waiting to learn their fate. On the final whistle, they emerged to cheers from the hundreds of fans who also watched the match on the scoreboard at Crew Stadium. Waving the Stars and Stripes and sporting shirts emblazoned with the word “Qualified” across the front, they celebrated advancing to the World Cup with two matches remaining in the Hexagonal Round.
The U.S. will host Jamaica on at Sporting Park in Kansas City on October 11 before finishing off the round on October 15 in Panama.