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Johnson brace saves USA in last-minute WCQ win

Photo by John Todd/


The U.S. Men’s National Team were flirting with disaster and on the brink of settling for a shock draw against Antigua & Barbuda, but Eddie Johnson came through in the clutch to help lift the Americans to victory.

Johnson headed home a 90th-minute winner to give the Americans a hard-fought,  2-1 victory over Antigua & Barbuda in a rainy Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in St. John’s on Friday night.

Playing in his first international match since 2010, Johnson repaid the faith shown in him by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann by delivering a pair of goals that moved the Americans a step closer to the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF qualifying. He buried the game-winner courtesy of a perfect cross from Alan Gordon.

The late goal helped the Americans avoid an embarrassing result, and helped offset an otherwise disappointing night that saw the U.S. struggle mightily to cope with the elements of rain, wind, and a bumpy and narrow field.

Johnson opened the scoring in the 20th minute when he nodded a beautiful cross from Graham Zusi past Antigua & Barbuda goalkeeper Molvin James for his first U.S. goal in more than four years.

The hosts did not take long to respond, as Dexter Blackstock tapped home a cross from Peter Byers in the 25th minute. Byers raced past U.S. centerback Geoff Cameron with ease and then hit a low ball to Blackstock, who pushed past Clarence Goodson before hitting the ball past a helpless Tim Howard.

The Americans, deployed in a 4-1-3-2 formation, pushed once again for the go-ahead goal. But even though they dominated possession, they struggled to create chances and Antigua & Barbuda seemed the team more likely to find the back of the net in another lethargic offensive showing for the Americans.

Michael Bradley nearly found a winner following a corner kick in the 86th minute, but James denied him with a reaction save to tip his header over the crossbar.

The U.S. looked destined to settle for the draw before Gordon chipped a cross to the back-post, where a wide-open Johnson headed it home to bring the Americans a step closer to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. The goal was Johnson’s 10th career tally in World Cup qualifying.

The victory temporarily gaves the Americans sole possession of first place in Group A with 10 points, but Guatemala defeated Jamaica, 2-1, in the other group game on Friday night to pull level with the United States.

The Americans can now secure advancement to the Hexagonal with a win or draw against Guatemala on Tuesday night. They can also move on to the next round with a loss and a Jamaica win over Antigua & Barbuda, so long as Jamaica does not make up the +3 goal difference the U.S. currently has.


      • Not completely disagreeing, but the Guyana federation “sold the rights to a Texas-based promoter,” so the “home” game was actually a neutral site….in Texas….with a well manicured field….with 10 times more Mexican fans in the stands.

      • Which, if you read that statement again, is ludicrous! How is this allowed to happen? A federation selling the rights to home games and moving the game to a different country??? CONCACAF sucks.

  1. Ives please change your content filters. Comments are being “held for moderator review” without any rhyme or reason, i.e. No four letter words or spam links.

  2. Also wouldn’t be surprised if Klinsi keeps Donovan locked to the bench when he is finally healthy and willing to play. No commitment.

    • I thought in the Gold Cup that the US was a much different team that with Donovan coming in off the bench late in the game. His speed was to much for tired defenders.

      There is one major thing missing off this team and that is an offensive minded distributor. That man maybe ADU. Yeah he did not have a great statistical season but he had nobody to give the ball to. When given tools to play with he seems to be a master. There is nobody who has that skill set. I also want to see Corona on the pitch. He can distribute and score, Jones may have talent like no other out their. But there is a reason he is not playing for Germany no discipline.

      EJ and Gordon are nice depth players and in reality give great dimensions but to count on them in the hex is not good. Both Boyd and Jozy need to improve their discipline and work habits.

  3. Disturbing but very hard to play well on a postage stamp with holes in it. The one thing you SHOULD be able to do on a field like that is play defense. Somehow Geoff Cameron got the Mel Kiper treatment and went from afterthought to anointed starter, best thing since sliced bread. Hopefully this performance quiets that talk. When Fabian is back, Geoff should have a seat on the bench.

    • When Fabian is back, Goodson will be out. Cameron wasn’t solely responsible for the goal: Boca got caught, Goodson fell all over himself, and Cameron got beat. Considering he’s been the single best of the back line over the past half year and the fact that this really started at LB, I have a hard time seeing Geoff being benched.

  4. In my opinion the Americans play with no passion. Don’t blame the coach or tactics. It gets frustrating seeing Americans players play like these. especially to a team like Antigua no offense, but come on man. Just plain pathetic. Than people say that Dempsey is the hero of the team. I didn’t see nothing from him. Ooooo only because he plays in the EPL. Donovan plays in the MLS and still plays better then Dempsey.

  5. Klinsmann haters and defenders, let’s rewind to the World Cup 2010 qualifying… first group stage, US had to scrape by to beat Cuba and Guatemala 1-0 on the road, lost to T&T AFTER clinching qualification with an experimental C-team…at home crushed Cuba 6-1, T&T 3-0 and beat Guatemala 2-0..

    so yes, as Klnsi defenders point out, CONCACAF on the road was tough back then as well…but on results alone, US was better on the road back then 2 wins, 1 meaningless loss… this time 1-1-1

    at home US was absolutely dominant 11 goals scored and 1 given up in three games, thus far through 2 home games, 2-0, 4 goals to 1-so Klinsmann haters can point to the fact that US is clearly not looking as good at home OR on the road as the team did last time around in this round…

    can we all agree that road games are tougher than they appear in CONCACAF, but this team, thus far, is underperforming its recent qualification history?

    the core of the team is not that different: Howard, Boca, Dolo, Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan the ghost, Altidore the castaway…plus all the german-Americans and a heap of scandinavian and MLS players thrown in both then and now….

    so I don’t see a reason not to hold Klinsmann accountable to hi own words and promises, while acknowledging that qualification is tough

    • You can add the 2006 cycle to this as well. Swept through this stage, qualified first in the Hex. That makes Klinsmann the third best coach that we have had this millennium. Not bad, but I would keep an I out over my shoulder if I were him.

  6. Either we part ways with JK after the next game qualify or not, or Sunil needs to push for JK to hire a tactical brain because Vazquez does not have a clue or does not have the fortitude to influence JK. Stop blaming the conditions, the team is lost our trademark is one pass forward three back.

  7. Wow – the US gets 3 points on the road at the crappiest field, smallest field where they can only play a 2 touch game. Eddie Johnson is brought in for his aerial ability, scores 2 goals and everyone is unhappy.

    You all wanted to see JK fail right? That would be the only explanation for all the angst.

    It was an ugly CONCACAF qualifier. We walked away with 3 points. The guys that produced were the guys that Klinsmann selected.

    Congrats to the USA! I will take the 3 points and see you in KC!

    • Well, Paul, like they say: There are two sides to every coin and what you are saying is one side of the Klinsmann coin and is absolutely correct and I am in agreement. But there is the other side side of coin that is a bit worrisome.

      • I think the other side of the coin is: There may be something wrong when you are happy about beating Antigua twice by a combined 5-2 scoreline and looking unimpressive in both games.

    • Thank you Paul, for some common sense.

      The anti-Klinsmann sentiment has no rational basis. People cannot even laud him for making a gutsy call of capping Alan Gordon for the first time and bringing Johnson in.

      They expect a 5-0 win regardless of weather, pitch, and anything else.

      • CONCACAF is not some monolithic entity-their are teams in it that you are correct grinding out a win against would be acceptable on the road (Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, etc.), or even a draw depending on the situation.

        Antigua and Barbuda has a population of 80,000 people. We beat them 3-1 at home, Bradley beat a similar Barbados team 10-0. We won on a 90th minute goal, I’m not advocating for tiki-taka and understand injuries suck but that is unacceptable. This is a bad team, the goalkeeper was awful, they were missing more of their key players than we were, 80,000 people, worst team in USL, that is not cool. Grinding it out does not make sense in this context.

        If we make it to the hex Jurgen has done nothing to inspire confidence-beating a terrible A and B team at home on a good pitch by only 2 goals, losing in Jamaica for the first time ever, tying a bottom-tier Central American team in Guatemala on the road, etc. That is not acceptable and we have ever right to be angry about it.

        I can already see the excuses when the hex begins to not go well. If we are playing this poorly against these teams (had almost a full roster for the first two remember), why do you think we will do better in the hex?

  8. If your are content with the fact that we beat Antigua 2-1 tonight, or 3-1 at home on a pristine pitch at home for that matter, then that is fine. But don’t get flummoxed when some people don’t appreciate the fact that we have yet to play consistently well in a single World Cup qualifier this year. We didn’t even play that great against Italy or Mexico; we played with a lot of bravery in those two matches, but we were still overwhelmed for long stretches of both as well. I don’t know if I want him to fired or not, but Juergen Klinsmann needs to get over the fact that he is Juergen Klinsmann, put aside whatever personal vendettas he has going and call in the best players we have available, and create some kind of identity for this squad.

  9. I’m not trying to make excused. The US played ugly at times, gave the ball away in the midfield, and Antigua and Barbuda had too many half-to-good chances. The weather, field conditions, and field size evened the game out a bit. Stuff happens in driving rain and wind that wouldn’t normally occur. With that said, great teams don’t let those things affect them, good teams do. I think the U.S. let that affect them. The US is a good, but not great team and this simply highlights it.

  10. Jurgen Klinsman is 8-2-2 this year with a +8 goal differential and has the team conceding less than a goal a game. One of those losses came to Brazil.

    That’s more wins than all of 2011 and the least number of losses since before Bob Bradley took over for the team. Won at Azteca and at Italy for the first time ever. The team is in first place in the group. Klinsman has yet to have his 3 best players on the field at one time.

    Yet people are calling for him to be fired. Get a life.

    • If your are content with the fact that we beat Antigua 2-1 tonight, or 3-1 at home on a pristine pitch at home for that matter, then that is fine. But don’t get flummoxed when some people don’t appreciate the fact that we have yet to play consistently well in a single World Cup qualifier this year. We didn’t even play that great against Italy or Mexico; we played with a lot of bravery in those two matches, but we were still overwhelmed for long stretches of both as well. I don’t know if I want him to fired or not, but Juergen Klinsmann needs to get over the fact that he is Juergen Klinsmann, put aside whatever personal vendettas he has going and call in the best players we have available, and create some kind of identity for this squad.

      • It’s CONCACAF in third world countries.

        Nobody plays well. Ever. We lost to Trinidad and Tobago several years ago. Spain tied Costa Rica IN Costa Rica with their real starting XI for heaven’s sake.

      • We haven’t played well at home, either. What is the explanation for those? I am not trying to be confrotational, so don’t take it as that; I just want to know why I should be completely fine with how we are playing going forward, not just in this very moment.

  11. CONCACAF is ugly.
    always. always. always.
    the two guys who came up big tonite were the two shock callups.
    JK’s gamble paid off.
    I need an antacid.
    This USA team is so much like Everton it’s frightening; punch above our weight class, stumble over the “easy” wins.

  12. That was ugly and making it out of the Hex will be difficult with “better” CONCACAF teams, Mexico is already qualified and “cake walking” and not even trying against Guyana. I hope they play better, however we are NOT out of safety yet, if Guatemala wins against Jamaica and beats us in KC (not impossible with their talent and our regions refs), and Jamaica beating Antigua we could be in trouble.

    • The absolute worst scenario for the USMNT would be a draw between Guatemala and Jamaica. They would each have 8 points to our 10, meaning Guatemala would come to KC having to win and Jamaica can whip A&B at home. No score in the Guatemala-Jamaica game as of the 10th minute.

  13. It is blowing my mind that people want to blame Klinsmann for the condition of that pitch and game. It’s like they completely ignore the fact that people could barely pass/trap the ball without it bouncing everywhere or just dead stopping in a puddle.

    Klinsmann prepared for a dog fight on a crappy, crappy, incredibly small pitch against a very motivated team with an official that wasn’t going to do a thing for us–and he made a brilliant move to drop the favorite forward for a much misaligned forward and to cap a guy for the first time just so he could utilize their skill sets in a battle and he knocked it out of the park.

    This is CONCACAF football. It’s ugly and there is no such thing as an easy game. The fact that we managed like 80% possession is astounding given the conditions.

  14. Does anyone else get frustrated at the fact that we field an experimental lineup every single game? There’s almost zero consistancy in our starting 11. I don’t see how we’ll ever have a cohesive, productive starting lineup when it’s never even remotely the same!

      • What does the timing of their injuries have to do with keeping a consistent starting XI over several games.

        They’re still injured.

    • Injuries have played a huge role in this. I don’t think Klinsmann has had a full strength squad one time. Tonights line-up was severely impacted by the illness to Johnson, injuries to Donovan, Castillo, and Shea. Hard to be consistant when people are hurt. Bradley missed last qualifiers with injury.

  15. I’m not sure if this point has anything to do with anything but:

    I remember an “in form” but otherwise internationally useless Connor Casey being called up by Bob Bradley in 2009 and scoring twice in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to help secure must needed points towards WCQ.

    I wasn’t a fan of the Gordon call up (actually hated it, though was glad to see Johnson back) but we always every WCQ campaign need a guy like Roy Lassiter, Ante Razov, Connor Casey, Alan Gordon who we’d otherwise as fans completely discount as first, second or possibly even third team selections to come into the squad and do what they do best in the moments we need it most.

    Thank goodness for Alan Gordon being in the right moment at the right time to do what he does best. Resent us not when you’re no where in our minds come 2013 Gold Cup, 2014 World Cup and beyond because you were there for us today in St. James, Antigua and many of us won’t forget that moment. Most of us will though like we gladly forget about Connor Casey and his importance in our run through the 2010 World Cup Final 16.

  16. A relief to get the win and, yes, Eddie Johnson over Jozy was a good call. But didn’t like much of what I saw tonight. If Klinsmann cannot call in the right players next year and get them playing better, it could turn ugly. I am sort of worrying whether a Klinsmann-coached team can get the job done.

    It seemed like some of the players tonight were getting overly edgy with each other, pointing fingers and getting angry when a pass was not made or was not done correctly. Very unlike the USMNT. And when is the last time we saw Michael Bradley go ape-stuff like he did after he was tackled in the box. That was weird and not wise to blow up like he did. A lot of refs would have happily pulled out a yellow card on him if not a red card and that would have been disaster. People can talk about Jermaine Jones yellow card tonight, but against Jamaica he was pounded on continually like a punching bag and he kept his cool and Bradley should do the same.

  17. Obviously better will be needed on Tuesday, but three points is three points. There were some positives in the game.
    The Good: Bradley was solid and looked like he was carrying the US attack for most fo the match (outside of the goals). EJ finished on 2 of his 3 opportunities. Gordon and Sasha were solid substitutions that contributed to the match once they entered. Zusi was okay in the first half.

    The Bad: Dempsey was invisibile tonight. He just flat out disappeared aside from the occasional tracking back for a quick touch. Zusi disappeared after the half. The left side of the defense was embarrassingly bad on the goal. A few posters have addressed the lack of intensity on the road, but the team looked asleep for large portions of the match.

    The Ugly: The pitch was terrible. It was worse than fields we see at the U9 soccer level. At first I thought my internet connection was skipping and then I realized the ball was jumping all over the place. CONCACAF really should inspect some of these playing surfaces in advance, if they are not playable then the game should be moved to another site with a playable pitch.

  18. Can we stop with the excuses about the field, please?????

    both teams played on it, it has grass, is relatively flat and somewhat dimensional… does the playing surface REALLY narrow the talent and skill divide THAT much?

    maybe I should get 10 of my rec league teammates and we’ll take on USMNT at the local park with long grass and the baseball diamond in the middle-we should keep it close, right?

    • Wow. Have you never played on a water logged field? In windy or rainy conditions? It affects both teams yes, but naturally it will affect the team that wants to play possession and controlled soccer more. That was the US this time. If the US was playing Spain, I’d love to have those conditions. It made a huge difference, putting on your HS tough guy jock and saying it didn’t isn’t really a valid argument.

  19. People here whine too much. Except for one fluke play where two U.S. players fell down and a third was pushed down in the box by the guy behind him who then tapped it in, this would have been a comfortable 2-0 or 3-0 win away. You can’t expect the beautiful game when you put 22 men on a muddy tennis court in the middle of a tropical storm. Give JK a break — he and the boys have put us right where we need to be at this stage. JK made a gutsy call to call in the players he did, and to play for goals in the air, and he won.

  20. Quite a welcome back party for EJ. seriously happy for him. I did think he was worthless on the wing but that is on JK.

    This was too close. Having 80% of the possession (or whatever the actual number was) and being out shot is not ok. I thought the plan was to send balls in. I think there were 3 crosses into the box. Thank god EJ got on to two of them. Glad we won

    Really, i am confused. Like a poster above said…we have no identity. Who are we and how do we play? Here’s to hoping for a convincing win on Tuesday. The fan base needs it.

    Am I the only one a little posses that JKs two surprise call ups won us the game? Either way, I they wanna play hard and win, I can’t really question JKs choices.

    Go USA

    • High possession is great, but not if you aren’t being dangerous with it. The type of possession we displayed tonight is the type we need to display once we get a lead and are trying to kill time, which ironically we don’t do. We are impotent in the final third right now. If we can figure the final third out though, I believe that this version of the USMNT when at full strength can be very good (maybe the best USMNT to date). However this is a big hurdle for them.

      • Well said. I agree. Honestly I thought we looked a lot like Mexico when we finally got the win in Azteca. All possession no finish

  21. The small pitch and weather condition certainly didn’t help but that’s no excuse. We should have won comfortably and our passing should have been much better. EJ made the most of the few chances he had. I made be wrong but I counted two clear cut chances and he buried them both. His stock went up tonight while Gomez’ stock went down with his poor first touch. Zusi’s service in the second half from the right flank was so poor that Dempsey was losing his temper out there. Zusi did have a nice assist on EJ’s first but he should have been pulled out much sooner than he did. Dempsey showed nothing, simply not hungry enough. Jones picked up yet another stupid yellow card which keeps him out of the next match so that sums up his night. Bradley played okay and we really need him to stay healthy or our midfield play is even more crap.

    • “Jones picked up yet another stupid yellow card …”

      So what if Jones picked up a yellow card? Yellow cards are not stupid. They can be an indicator of smart, savvy play. Not saying that Jones—in that particular instance—was being smart or savvy, but I am suggesting that yellow cards (in general) are the result of arbitrary decisions made by referees. Players that pick up yellow cards are not worse at soccer than players that do not pick up yellow cards. And it’s ridiculous to suggest that a player who picks up more yellow cards than another is the lesser soccer player. Not saying that’s what you’re saying, but your comments imply that. Sure, at some point a player will accumulate enough yellow cards to miss a game. So what? Any good team has enough depth to play through that.

      I’d put Jones in the field on every opportunity. It’s that simple. I don’t care if he picks up yellow cards because the USMNT has the depth to deal with his occasional absence.


      Franco Baresi

      • A yellow card qualifies as stupid if you come on the field as a second half sub KNOWING a yellow card eliminates you from the last game of the group AND then you proceed to get a clear handball yellow card. No, not all yellow cards are dumb, and no a player who gets yellow cards isn’t necessarily a bad player, but THAT yellow card was dumb for Jones to get given the circumstances. Plain and simple.

  22. I don’t see how it’s totally JK’s fault that the team lacks the skills needed to decisively win games in CONCACAF. It’s an indictment on the USSF and it’s development of players.

    • It is Klinsmann’s fault that this team has no clear identity on the pitch. Can anyone who knows more about soccer than I do explain what the overarching strategy is? I don’t see much of one.

  23. Wow. I will take the win. Happy to see E.J. produce. Shocked at the fact that we only won 2-1 against A&B. Really? It very well could have been 3-2 A&B. The lack of scoring opportunities early was shocking. Where was Deuce? We need to redeem ourselves against Guatemala. Big time.

    • The could have been game could put the score at 5-1 US also. EJ missed a sitter wide, Bradley header saved, Bradley shot just wide.

      • I need a drink now. Don’t see how you see U.S. at 5-1. We must not have been watching the same game. We were really lucky to get out of there with a victory. Period.

      • Lucky to leave with a win, but there were chances for the US that they missed also that were equal to any that the Benna boys missed.

  24. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone can defend JK at this point. Of course, they will…but he needs to be fired so we can straighten this out before the hex…

    • Sorry, Tony, disagree. This doesn’t even count as a game. It was more like Ranger training. Frankly I’d say give him credit for anticipating the mess it would be and getting 3.

      • and your excuse for the other pathetic, confused performances and arbitrary selections and bizarre rationalizations is….?

      • Oh, maybe not giving up a late equalizer in Guatemala, or losing in Jamaica, or looking like crap trying to defend a 1-0 lead against Jamaica at home, or tonights pathetic performance. Do you really need a list? Or am I supposed to believe that winning a couple of friendlies outweigh that? Or that the absolutely lack of any cohesion is not his fault?

      • Oh, sorry, I thought your comment had to do with tonight’s game, where he brought in two attackers––in a decision that was much maligned––that were responsible for the win in a game that looked like 22 guys playing in a kiddie pool in the rain in high hurricane season in the Caribbean, ref’d by a WWF official. Which in retrospect looks rather prescient, doesn’t it? But I guess your original comment had nothing to do with that.

        I wasn’t aware that JK was personally responsible for the other sins you mentioned. As Liga pointed out, he’s 8-2-2 this year. Is that bad? It’s seems pretty good to me. We’re not tiki-taka, and sometimes we suck, but I’m not sure it’s wise to fire coaches with records like that. And who would you hire?

    • Enough.

      Seriously, enough. Shut the f&***** up.

      We are 8-2-2 this year (loss to Brazil being one loss) and are in first place in our group going into our final home game. Klinsmann has already surpassed Bob Bradley’s year total of wins from last year and 2 losses is the least since before Bradley took over.

      Klinsmann embarrassed you. You ragged him for leaving Jozy at home and bringing in Johnson and Gordon. Eat the crow.

      You think Klinsmann is responsible for the pitch or weather or officiating? Michael Bradley could barely stay on his feet in the middle of the pitch. You think Klinsmann is responsible for Dempsey just completely disappearing or the official not calling a blatant foul as our CB is shoved to the ground from behind?

      You want style points on a 60 yard wide pitch in a monsoon on a cricket field that wouldn’t meet the most basic college soccer standards and players could barely keep their feet when stopping or changing direction?

      There’s a reason Antigua hasn’t been scored on at home in several games. It’s like playing on a dirt field. Spain would have eked out a win in those conditions.

      • how in the world are you calling for people to crow after a 90th minute win at ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA? this isn’t a win at Costa Rica or Honduras…. get some perspective man, the fans have plenty of reasons to be disappointed with this team…1st place among Jamaica, Guatemala and A&B is like being the tallest midget (err, little person)….

        keep on hanging on to Klinsmann’s jock… I’ll eat crow when US goes farther than the 2nd round of WC 2014-that’s the watermark set by Bradley… until then there is an elimination game next Tuesday, the Hex, group stage of WC…. until then you don’t have much ground to stand on

      • That is one of the dumbest arguments I have ever heard. Life “doesn’t have much ground to stand on” because the team is 2 years from having a chance to do the things you blame Klinsmann for not doing?

        That’s awesome. You had no response to the things the team has done better under him, and are irate about things that haven’t happened yet. Logical.

  25. I only watched the second half, but both Gomez and Dempsey were nonexistent. Dempsey drops too far back to get the ball and Gomez is not suited to a target role. I know the field was lousy, but both of their touches were awful. Gordon didn’t see a lot of the ball in his short time but he’s at least got the size to win long balls and hold it up. And his few touches seemed much better than Gomez’s.

    Why not start him up top against Guatemala with Johnson playing off him. Maybe move Dempsey out left or put Kljestan out there. I can’t imagine the US not starting Dempsey but he’s just seemed out of it recently for both club and country.

  26. That was a truely ugly game. Thank goodness we finally put in the second goal. US has to play tough (see JK) in CONCACAF as you know we won’t get the good fields or get the calls. OK guys, pull up your big boy pants and get tough!!! You guys better make the HEX.

  27. Wow. Just wow. Does Altidore get both of those? Maybe Klinski knows what he’s doing? EJ good work, can’t wait to hear what you didn’t do from the boards tonight.

  28. Also.

    I shall watch as most of this website repents and eats crow. I called Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon making an impact and being a good call up given their skill sets. I was eaten alive. No longer.

    Klinsmann made a fool of pretty much this entire site.

    • haha, right… so many people thought this would be an easy win against the 3rd division 5-18 team, but Klinsmann proved them wrong! we barely won, great call!

      • Go look at the twitter pic of midfield above, and the field dimensions and the fact that A&B had everything to play for and played out of their minds, and we still got the W. Then take two deep breaths and maybe relax a little…

  29. Wow….If Klinsmann is not to blame on this one I don’t know who is. Antigua & Barbuda???….Antigua & Barbuda??? With a population of around 87,000(we have stadiums big enough to fit everyone in their country), fielding a club team called Antigua Barracuda FC in USL PRO……IN THE USL….2 STAGES LOWER THAN MLS, A third-tier US pro league run by the United Soccer Leagues. SJ EARTHQUAKES COULD HAVE BEATEN THIS TEAM 4-0!!!!! THIRD, NOT SECOND, THIRD-TIER TEAM IN A US LEAGUE SCORED ON US LET ALONE ALMOST TIED WITH US???? Antigua Barracuda FC is in last place. 5 wins, 18 loses, 1 tie. The US national team barely manages to beat them on a last minute goal. Its games like this that make you ask “Why do we field Foreign based players in the first place”?? people are saying they had an off night….NO THEY SUCKED, A third-tier team in last place in OUR low level league almost tied OUR NATIONAL TEAM, and Alan Johnson, the man everyone was complaining about, comes through in the cut….. and saves the day with Eddie Johnson both MLS PLAYERS????. Why don’t we just pick a coach in our league, who see’s, coaches and plays against players IN THE SAME LEAGUE and be done with it. This result just shows that we are worst off than when BB was coach. Right now US soccer is Garbage and the “trash man” is Klinsmann

    • But, in the end the US came a got the result they wanted. Yes, it was a short, wet soggy, terrible field, Yes, it was raining and windy and, Yes the US was missing way too many of it’s regular starters either through selection or injury, but in the end, at the death, the US came through. It was Klinsmann selection of Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon, who were showing good form for their club teams, that got the US that win. Coaches live and die from their selections and/or omissions. It was an ugly win on a foreign field in despicable conditions against a motivated national team. Welcome to Concacaf qualifying.

      • Whoa, whoa- hold up there buddy. There’s no place for reason and sanity. We now return to the regularly scheduled hysteria and knee-jerk reactions.

    • The big picture is the World Cup. Maybe an MLS coach could go down to the depths of CONCACAF, maybe not. But the eye is on teams like England, Brazil, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Have you forgotten that we got a result in Mexico and Italy. Friendly or not, it illustrates that Klinsmann has his eye on the true prize.

      • Agreed. Right now JK is doing anything he can do to get through qualifying and then playing with the team/style during friendlies. Does anyone remember that it took him a couple of years with the German team to develop their style of play? I know people say it was Loew who was most influential there, but I see shades of it here.

        We all need to calm down. Thanks to a late Guatemala goal, we don’t even need to win the last game to advance (unless Jamaica wins by >2 goals).

        Oh and Eddie Johnson: welcome back. Don’t screw up your career again, and I will continue to be your biggest fan.

  30. Credit where its due, A&B plays a lot better than any country the size of Green Bay has any right to. Doesn’t hurt that the US midfield seemed to be more interested in making their backpasses were in order all night than taking on their defense. Thank god for Kljelstan

    • Amen… For a while it seemed like I was the only one that followed him and defended him… he had some bad luck in Europe except with Aris but he came back a more complete player (he still has a ways to go) and he totally saved our bacon tonight…

      I was always behind Eddie, thanks for the monster goals tonight.

      • Look, the guy had a good game and, as a Sounders fan (one of the rational ones), it was good to see him called up. BUT in his not so recent past, he’s bounced around from team to team like a Wild West medicine man show, and gotten into all sorts of domestic trouble with his wife. These were his first international goals in, I think, four years. No wonder he didn’t get a lot of support around here. I like the guy as a player; if he has a good game against Guatemala, then I’ll jump right on that bandwagon with you.

      • Yes. EJ studied his craft and grew his game while he was away, even if he didn’t get much to show for it while in Europe. I think he really is a GAM, finally.

  31. That was the worst pitch I’ve ever seen in my life. Way too narrow. Way too short. Water logged and the the middle was sod over the cricket pitch.

    That single handedly leveled the playing field for Antigua. No wonder nobody can score or win there–you can’t play soccer.

    Also, Deuce needs to spend some time on the bench.

      • I can sympathize to an extent, but that pitch was ridiculous. Straight up… if you want to compete to qualify for WC, there really has to be some sort of minimum standard in regards to the playing surface. There are plenty of 3rd world nations that manage through determination and hard work to provide the proper dimensions, level surface and somehow grow some grass. May sound unfair, but it is international level competition… if you can’t do that, you forfeit the home field to a neutral or the oppositions suitable surface. Really not too much to ask.

      • The field could have been bigger, there was plenty of extra grass/field outside the lines… A&B drew the chalk lines narrow to crowd the field. This wasn’t a resource thing. It’d be nice if FIFA/COncacaf left a little less discretion re how small a field you can use for a WCQ.

      • The field was bad on purpose. It was absolutely absurd. And the field was originally much wider, they could have easily added 15 feet on either side of the field. Why were they allowed to use a field with those dimensions?

  32. I am glad to be breathing again. Seems like this was a wake up call for us-hopefully it will put some fire in our bellies going forward.

  33. Glad we won, felt like a lost. EJ played great but it was still just A&B. Kinda feel bad for, (but not that bad) A&B they played like they wanted to win, unlike the US.

    Will JK hold Gomez accountable for his play? Or any of the others who went missing????

    Oh and the guy who’s handle is WayDownInTexas bugger off!

  34. Klinsmann, great job bringing Johnson and Gordon in, masterful!

    Klinsmann, what the F are you doing? What the heck did you tell the team before the game? The team looked comatose and three steps too slow, none wanted to be aggressive going for the ball or seek a pass that would cut through the defense (except for Jones)…

    Great win in the last minute, great redemption story for Johnson!

    Did we need 90+ minutes to beat a 5-18 team in the 3rd USL division?

    Ugh, whatever….that sums up this regime…

    • I agree, if we have to pay a coach millions of dollars to field a team of professionals from top-tier European leagues to beat a 3rd division 5-18 team, so what? What are people expecting? Energy, cohesion, strategy, hustle? Come on…

      • Did any of you live through the previous WC qualifying cycles? I’ve seen the same thing each time- with Arena, with Bradley, and now with Klinsmann. WC qualifying in CONCACAF is f*cking tough- you can all put on your mini-jockstraps and pretend that you could go down there and get the W, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. Each cycle, right about this time, hysterical fans are calling for the coaches head. Klinnsi went down there, made some gutsy personnel changes and got the result we needed. It wasn’t pretty, it raised some questions. So what? Each coach gets a 4-year cycle, so shut the f*ck up and let’s re-evaluate this after Brazil. Peace.

      • This is the strangest point people keep bringing up over and over again – “it was like this 4 years ago so it MUST be the same now”…

        If that were true then countries that qualified at one time or another would NEVER fail to qualify again – it would be the same 32 countries all the time. Why? Because, well they qualified before, right?

        We are in transition, the guys who were the heavy hitters are 4 years older. The newer guys are coming along but it’s not like FIFA 12 where you just put them in the game and they are almost like the guy you replaced.

        The “but 4 years ago equation” not a valid argument for me.

      • If I recall, under BB when we played teams we were supposed to beat, we beat them in a convincing fashion. And I was part of the fire BB clan, so it’s not like I’m biased towards him. This is not what is going on under Klinsmann, we are struggling to beat teams that are clearly inferior us.

      • We should ask FIFA to align us with Scotland then. NO more Caribbean Island nation or Central American opponents.

      • You recollect wrong. Pretty much the only road qualifier that didn’t end with everybody complaining about how Bradley was in over his head and needed to be fired was the Honduras one which clinched a World Cup spot. We won 1-0 at Barbados, won 1-0 at Guatemala, won 1-0 at Cuba, lost at Trinidad, drew with El Salvador, got destroyed by Costa Rica, lost at Mexico, won 1-0 at Trinidad in a must-win, and beat Honduras to qualify. There was the same unending whining after all of those other than Honduras that there is now.

    • The thing that most disturbs me is that I have no clue what Klinsmann’s overall plan is with this team. I don’t see a real identity or any particular overarching strategy. We are not a gritty defensive team that springs quick counters; we are not a possession team that eventually picks the opponent apart; and we are not a dynamic offensive team that goes all out at the opponent’s goal. There is no there there, to steal a saying my professors used in graduate school. It is just a team that plays awful every time out and hangs on for dear life against teams that we should dispatch fairly routinely. I want something to be optimistic about, but I am fairly uninspired.

      • Yes, thankfully! But we should have had this wrapped up by now. This cycle would have been perfect to put in some young blood and not have it be a must win. And we are not out of the woods yet.

      • but WHY should we have done better? I’m serious. Because we’re the US of A? If you look at this blog and others, there are NO players held sacred. Hardly any players that EVERYONE thinks is great, that everyone thinks is indispensable. Until we have more players like that, at least a few of them, the path to qualifying is always going to be dangerous.

      • I seem to recall that we were already in at this point in time the last two cycles. We won, great, but we are playing the worst soccer we have played in 12 years, not so great.

      • Well, in the 2000 we were on the verge of elimination at this stage when we went to Barbados. I think we won 4-0 but it was scoreless til pretty late and that would have eliminated us (going from memory, so I could be wrong).

        Then in the Hex we were on the verge of elimination til we beat Jamaica in Foxboro while T&T was upsetting Honduras (who had beaten us at RFK to put us in critical condition).

        Then in the World Cup itself we laid an egg against Poland and would have faced elimination if not for South Korea playing hard to beat Portugal.

        So we faced elimination at 3 separate stages before going onto the quarterfinal loss to Germany (Ballack & Torsten Frings) in what was our best recent WC performance.

      • We DO need work!! But thanks to EJ we’re still in the drivers seat. Few could admit that he completely bailed us out from UTTER embarrassment vs a USL bunch of scrubs!!!

      • At this point this is a team that is put together with players that meet a specific need so as to get the the Hex. You’re not gonna get free flowing or structured play when we just brought in new guys (yeah, yeah, yeah “the I thought he said no new guys” people hold your powder because he also said that he would bring in guys that meet specific needs).

        My take is he is just trying to get to the Hex and then regroup and retool from there.

      • Klinsman can only do so much with a small, mediocre US talent pool. You can’t play like Spain or Germany if you don’t have the talent. It’s like the bottom table EPL teams; the coachs do what they can with limited talent. Our boys (Altidore for example) have always been over-hyped. Howard, Bradley, Donovan, Chorundolo & Dempsey were the only true world class players we’ve had.

      • But we are the Germany of our region(Mexico being the Spain). Like has been mentioned before we were playing a team filled with mostly guys from the worst team in the USL. Also, on your other point the US has never produced a world class player.

      • None of those players are world class, they are solid but not world class, that would mean they have skills that seperate them from normal hardworking players. Other than Howard most wouldn’t be absolute game changing players.

      • Sure we don’t have the talent pool to play like Spain, Germany, etc. But we shouldn’t have to rely on late goals to beat teams like Antigua & Barbuda. I’d understand if this was a rare occurrence but this is happening on a regular basis where we are drawing or barely beating teams we are supposed to dominate.

      • I have to disagree. Obviously we don’t have a team filled with World class players like Spain, but our roster is filled with players that are on clubs in the best leagues in the World. Antigua has one player at Reading and that is about it. So yeah, I have to say Klinsmann is underperforming and I am not just talking about tonight.

    • There is no silver lining from this game. I think the main thin to take from this game, and preceding CONCACAF qualifiers, is that nothing appears to be guaranteed anymore in qualifying. We are not a Spain in Europe. Let’s accept that fact. This is a difficult area to qualify in. No longer do we have the easy path because we’re in north America.

      Altidore would not have made a difference on this pitch–our midfield was deficient. No one player for that matter was going to make a difference. I personally am not old enough to understand how we got results in these nations for the last few decades. Skill seems to play less a part than what it should when qualifying for the worlds greatest stage, and I think that’s a problem within CONCACAF. But what are we to do? Tell them to have better pitches? Tell them to not play the anti-American game and bunker down so as to hold us away from the glory we seek? Seriously, odds seem to be against us lately.

      Not sure which type of manager could conceive a plan to pull us away from the plague of this region. We play better on an open style of game, and for that reason I hope that the hex (fingers crossed) will suit us better. But I don’t dare to say that this problem we face is Bourne of the kinsmann generation.

      We need maybe a more no nonsense approach, but how do we get that? We just need to qualify. I’m not going to be in a good mood when I go to brazil if we haven’t and I don’t know how I can show my face well if we don’t.


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