Playing as bad as they have in recent memory, the United States needed a spark. Of course, it would be the two most controversial selections to the team that provided it. Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson scored the game-winner in stoppage time off an assist from Alan Gordon as the U.S. escaped with a 2-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda in 2014 World Cup Qualifying on Friday.
As big as Gordon's assist was, the only real bright spot for the U.S. was the play of Johnson, who scored both goals in his first national team appearance in two years. Johnson's game-winner came on a low cross from Gordon that found Johnson all alone in the front of the goal. As he has done with remarkable regularity during MLS play, Johnson headed it into the back of the net.
Naturally, Johnson's first goal also came on a header. In the 20th minute, Johnson was able to rise above the defense to get on the end of a Graham Zusi pass. The lead was short-lived, though, as Dexter Blackstock took advantage of some shoddy defending to tie the score.
From there, it was mostly a series of frustrations for the US. Playing on a converted cricket field that had remarkably awful grass, was barely 70 yards wide and was soaking wet from the constant rain, the US struggled to convert passes and looked totally out of sorts.
Johnson made sure none of that really mattered. His 13th and 14th career international goals at least temporarily puts them atop their World Cup qualifying group and means they'll need no more than a tie against Guatemala at home on Tuesday to earn a spot in the hexagonal.
With players like Jozy Altidore left home, many questioned the inclusion of both Johnson and Gordon. Now, both could well be in line to start the next game for the US.