Johnson USA double Image

Johnson bags a brace on return to USA action

The in form striker scored a pair of headed goals in his return to the USMNT after a two-year absence from the national scene.It had been two years to the day since Eddie Johnson’s last appearance with the US National Team.

After scoring two goals, including the game-winner in the FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Antigua and Barbuda on Friday, it left many wondering what took so long.

Johnson made the start for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, and it paid off early as Johnson scored in the 20th minute, knocking in a header off a cross from Graham Zusi to give the US the 1-0 lead at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.

The goal marked his first tally for the US since June 15, 2008.

Antigua and Barbuda equalized in the 25th minute on a goal from Dexter Blackstock and it looked like the US would have to settle for a draw in the crucial qualifying match as the match wore on and they struggled to regain the lead.

Then, in the 90th minute, Alan Gordon popped a ball to Johnson from the top of the box and the Sounders forward headed it back across the goal and inside the far post for his second goal of the night and 14th in 43 caps.

It was Johnson’s second multi-goal game for the US.  He netted a hat trick in his second appearance for the Stars and Stripes on October 13, 2004 in a 6-0 win over Panama.  He now has ten career goals in World Cup qualifying matches, tying him with Brian McBride for second and the all-time list for the US National Team.

The US will play the final match of the group stage of World Cup qualifying on Tuesday, October 16 against Guatemala at Kansas City’s Livestrong Sporting Park. 

Johnson leads the Sounders with 14 goals this season in his first year back in Major League Soccer since leaving for Europe in 2008.  Seattle has three regular season matches remaining this year before they start the playoffs.  They are currently third in the Western Conference at 14-7-10 (52 points).  They will host second-place Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, October 17 at CenturyLink Field.