NORMAN — ST. JOHN’S, Antigua — Eddie Johnson rewarded his coach’s faith in him — twice.
In his first game back with the U.S. national team, Johnson scored twice Friday night, including the winning goal in second-half injury time, lifting the United States to the verge of advancing in World Cup qualifying with a nervous 2-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda.
If the Americans beat Guatemala on Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kan., they will move into the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The U.S. has 10 points; Guatemala and Jamaica each have seven and were playing each other in a late game in Guatemala.
Johnson connected on headers in the 20th minute and then in the dying moments in his first game for the U.S. team in two years. He was added to the squad by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, ostensibly replacing the disappointing Jozy Altidore, and the move paid off.
“It’s good to be back in the mix,” Johnson said. “Going into this game the coach has a ton of confidence in me to put me wide out on the wing.”
“We have a world class coach who played at the highest level. He knows the game.”
Johnson was on the U.S. roster for the 2006 World Cup under coach Bruce Arena, but was making his first appearance for the national squad since May 2010 against the Czech Republic. His last goals for the national team came in 2018 in an 8-0 romp over Barbados.