The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 11, 2013

U.S. clinches World Cup berth

(Continued)

COLUMBUS, Ohio —

Following wins over Mexico in qualifiers by identical 2-0 scores at Columbus Crew Stadium in 2001, 2005 and 2009, the U.S. Soccer Federation picked the same venue for this year’s match. The capacity crowd of 24,584 taunted the Mexicans with chants of “Dos a cero!” and “You’re not going to Brazil!”

Fans were so loud during “The Star-Spangled Banner” that anthem singer Kayleigh Schofield was forced to alter her tempo to match that of the crowd.

Johnson nearly scored off Donovan’s cross in the third minute of the second half, but the pass was just ahead of him.

A minute later, the U.S. took just its second corner kick of the match. Jermaine Jones and Johnson both broke in from behind the penalty spot, and Mexico was slow to react as Johnson scored in 12th goal in 21 qualifying appearances. He was mobbed by teammates near the U.S. bench as fans set off a smoke bomb.

Donovan’s goal, increasing his national team record to 57, set off a nonstop singalong for the closing minutes of the match.

Dempsey missed a penalty kick in second-half injury time, just before the final whistle.

Dealing with an injury to midfielder Michael Bradley and yellow-card suspensions of defender Matt Besler, midfielder Geoff Cameron and forward Jozy Altidore, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann had to make several changes from Friday’s 2-1 loss at Costa Rica.

Fabian Johnson shifted from midfield to the back line, and Clarence Goodson was among four new starters, joined by midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya, and forward Eddie Johnson. Fabian Johnson strained his left hamstring and was replaced by Michael Parkhurst for the start of the second half.

Mexico dominated the first 20 minutes of the opening half and the last five, forcing goalkeeper Tim Howard to make several sprawling saves.

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