The United States men’s national soccer team is officially headed to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after a wild Tuesday night.
The American men beat Mexico 2-0 in Columbus, Ohio in a wonderful performance that continued their recent streak of excellent play against their rivals to the south. But the Americans had to wait to see if they had officially punched their ticket to Brazil, as they needed Honduras to beat or tie Panama for things to be official. Los Catrachos obliged, struggling to a 2-2 draw at home.
The U.S. national team was led by goalie Tim Howard who was brilliant in net all night. Howard made several diving saves to deny Mexico and keep a clean sheet. He got help from a back line that stepped up repeatedly to stymie Mexico’s attacks.
The Americans got a goal from Eddie Johnson in the 49th minute off a gorgeous corner kick from Landon Donovan. Donovan sent a ball curving into the box, and Johnson rose up and headed it home emphatically. It was Johnson’s 19th goal for the national team.
In the 78th minute, Donovan locked up the match as he finished off a perfect through ball from Mix Diskerud that captain Clint Dempsey got a touch on as it sailed across the mouth of the goal. It was Donovan’s 57th goal for the national team and it came in his 152nd appearance.
Dempsey won a penalty kick in extra time and had a chance to increase the scoreline to 3-0, but he missed the net wide to the right on his attempt. The match referee whistled the game over as soon as the ball was put back in play.
With the victory Tuesday night, the U.S. has now won 13 of its last 14 matches and it erased any hangover that might have lingered after an uninspired performance last Friday in Costa Rica, when it suffered a 3-1 loss.
In an odd twist, the each of last four times the United States and Mexico have squared off in a qualifier in Columbus, the Americans have won 2-0.
The U.S. now leads the CONCACAF qualifying group with 16 points and Costa Rica is second with 15, Honduras is third with 11 and Mexico is tied with Panama for fourth with eight.
Video of Johnson’s goal is below:
Video of Donovan’s goal is below: