Eddie Johnson scored twice, including the game-winner in the 90th minute, Friday to lift the United States into sole possession of the Group A lead during the semifinal round of FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying with a 2-1 win against Antigua & Barbuda.
Johnson, playing in his first national team game since 2010, moved into a second-place tie for career goals in World Cup Qualifying by a U.S. player with 10.
“We expected a very difficult challenge and they gave us that challenge,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “It came down to the wire. I’m obviously happy for Eddie getting his moment back on the team.
“He was all excited the last couple of days and he put two goals away. That gets us back home with three points.”
The United States can clinch a berth in the final round of qualifying with a win or tie Tuesday against Guatemala before a sellout crowd in Kansas City, Kansas.
The top two teams in the round move on to the qualifying finals, beginning in February. The United States might still advance even it if loses.
Elsewhere, Jose Villarreal scored goals nine minutes apart in the first half Friday to lead the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team to a 2-0 victory over the Scotland Under-21 Team in an international friendly.
Claressa Shields returned to the ring for the first time since winning her Olympic gold medal and posted impressive victories on consecutive nights to claim her second straight National Police Athletic League boxing title.
Shields handled Franchon Crews, 30-19, Saturday night in the 165-pound open division final in Toledo, Ohio.
Shields, a 17-year-old from Flint, Mich., was the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal and was the only U.S. boxer to win a gold medal this summer at the London Games.
Shields stopped Dara Shen Friday night in her first bout since London. She opened a 10-2 lead after one round and was ahead 19-5 when the referee stopped the bout with 46 seconds left in the second round after Shen had already received two eight counts.
“I don’t want to beat anyone by just one point or make it look close,” Shields said. “I want to beat them by as much as I can.
“I don’t want to go all four rounds. I want to get in and get out.”
Alexander Massialas, Gerek Meinhardt and Race Imboden were U.S. Olympic teammates in London this summer.
They were together again Saturday, occupying the top three spots on the podium in Division I men’s foil at the North American Cup in St. Louis.
Massialas defeated Meinhardt, 15-14, in the final. Both are from San Francisco and are teammates at the Massialas Foundation at Halberstadt Club where they each train.
“Gerek’s a great fencer,” said Massialas, who finished fourth in London. “I’ve looked up to him since I was a kid since he came from my club and was also the only guy from the U.S. to compete in men’s foil in Beijing.
“I was expecting a hard bout and we’ve battled it out in the past.”
Massialas defeated Imboden, 15-10, in the semifinals.
Recent U.S. Olympians also finished 1-2 in the women’s epée Sunday when Lee Kiefer defeated Doris Willette in the Division I Women’s Foil final.
Courtney Hurley, part of the women’s epée bronze-medal winning team in London, won the event Saturday in St. Louis.
Ben Igoe won men’s sabre Friday and Rob Rhead won men’s epée Sunday.
The event concludes Monday with women’s sabre the last Division I title to be decided.
Brenna Dowell of Odessa, Mo., won the women's all-around title at the 2012 Mexican Open in Acapulco, Mexico. Donnell Whittenburg, of Baltimore, was sixth in the men's all-around. The two-day competition featured athletes from 11 countries.
Dowell posted a 57.100 to earn the title. Mexico's Yessenia Estrada was second at 56.150, followed by Russia's Anna Dementyeva at 54.750. Dowell has the top score on every event except for the balance beam, where Estrada posted the highest mark.
In the men's all-around competition, Whittenburg finished sixth in his international debut with a total score of 84.900. The Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev won the title with his 89.000. Russia's David Belyavskiy was second at 88.900, with Brazil's Sergio Sasaki rounding out the top three at 87.300.
Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker were competing together for just the second time when they earned an ice dancing silver medal Saturday at the Junior Grand Prix event in Chemnitz, Germany.
Leah Keiser finished fourth among ladies and, with the help of a win at Turkey, assured herself one of six spots in the JGP Final in Sochi, Russia, the site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, in December.
The United States finished the Junior Grand Prix series with 19 medals and advanced seven athletes to the final.
Hannah Miller and Angela Wang will join Keiser in ladies; Jason Brown and Joshua Farris qualified for the final in men’s; and the team of Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton made it in ice dancing.
Samantha Cesario, the JGP Austria bronze medalist, was forced to withdraw from the competition in Germany after she strained a hamstring. She was in 10th after the short program and did not perform her free skate.
In the men's event, Shotaro Omori and Jay Yostanto finished in fourth and sixth place respectively. Yostanto was in third after the short program but finished with the seventh-best free skate. Omori earned his third fourth place finish at a JGP event in his fourth appearance.
In pairs, 2012 U.S. junior silver medalists Britney Simpson and Matthew Blackmer finished in fifth place while Jessica Pfund and AJ Reiss came in seventh.
Mary Beth Ellis led four U.S. women in the top 10 at the Ironman World Championships Saturday in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Ellis finished fifth in a race won by Great Britain’s Leanda Cave.
Linsey Corbin, Caitlin Snow and Amy Marsh finished eighth through 10th.
Andy Potts was seventh, finishing the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in 8:31:45, more than 13 minutes behind champion Pete Jacobs of Australia.
Timothy O’Donnell was eighth.
SHOOTING: Brian Burrows and Ashley Carroll won trap titles at the USA Shooting Fall Selection Matches, which concluded Sunday in Kerrville, Texas.
TAEKWONDO: Sanaz Shabbazi (women’s 67 kg) earned a silver medal while Charlotte Craig (women’s 49 kg), Chanel Nguyen (women’s 73+ kg) and Stephen Lambdin (men’s 87+ kg) grabbed bronze Saturday to complete a 10-medal effort by Team USA at the Pan American Taekwondo Championships in Sure, Bolivia.
DIVING: Murphy Bromberg stepped into the lineup after Anna James suffered a knee injury during morning practice Friday at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships.
Bromberg reached the final in girls group A platform and took seventh, the highest U.S. finish in the final two days of the event in Adelaide, Australia.
CYCLING: There were no American medalists at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup this weekend in Cali, Colombia. For complete results, click here.
JUDO: For results from the Judo Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, click here.
RUGBY: The United States went 1-3 at the HSBC Sevens World Series in Gold Coast, Queensland, the first event in the process that will determine qualification for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. The only win for Team USA was a 40-5 victory against Tonga.
BADMINTON: The United States lost to Canada, 3-1, in the Pan American Badminton Championships in Lima, Peru.
EQUESTRIAN: The U.S. Eventing Team finished sixth in the final Nations Cup standings at the Military Boekelo-Enschede CCI03* in The Netherlands.
ROLLER SPORTS: Nicole Leonard was third and Jessica Gundy seventh in the senior women solo dance Friday at the World Roller Figure Skating Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.