Johnson strikes again in U.S. victory
The U.S. national team defeated Honduras 1-0 Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque, N.M., in their final tune-up before facing Mexico in a World Cup qualifier at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in eight days. FC Dallas striker Eddie Johnson provided the game's only goal.
Johnson struck for the United States a minute before halftime for his seventh international goal in just six appearances with the full national team.
The U.S. always looked likelier to emerge victorious, dominating possession as several players acquitted themselves well in a match designed to simulate the high altitude of Mexico City. New England striker Pat Noonan gave his marker fits in the first half and Johnson outshot the visitors by himself, 5-2, going close twice in the first half before his eventual game-winner and firing a shot into the side netting early in the second half.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Clint Mathis was equally impressive, and it was the national team veteran who set up yet another Johnson tally. After receiving a ball in the center of the park, Mathis let loose a blast from some 40 yards that dipped and bounced back off the crossbar. With Honduras 'keeper Junior Morales out of position, Johnson easily deposited the ball into the open net.
The Hondurans rarely kept possession of the ball, but as the match wound down, substitute U.S. 'keeper Kevin Hartman found himself needing to make two saves on forward Wilmer Velasquez to preserve the victory. Velasquez had the visitors' only two shots on frame, compared to 11 total shots on target for the U.S.
The U.S. will look for their first-ever victory at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City as they face their southern neighbors in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on March 27 at 1 p.m. ET. In their most recent meeting, the U.S. defeated Mexico 1-0 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas last April.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.