Eddie Johnson keeps raising his price. Johnson scored late in the first half for his seventh goal in six games with the national team, and...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Eddie Johnson keeps raising his price.
Johnson scored late in the first half for his seventh goal in six games with the national team, and the United States beat Honduras 1-0 yesterday in the Americans’ final tuneup before next weekend’s World Cup qualifier at Mexico.
“It’s all about putting yourself in good spots to score,” the 20-year-old forward said. “I was unlucky early on a couple of times, but that’s something I’ve improved on, my focus over 90 minutes.”
In January, Major League Soccer turned down a $5 million offer for Johnson from Portugal’s Benfica. Johnson, who turns 21 on March 31, remains with FC Dallas.
He scored in the 45th minute after Clint Mathis’ shot hit the crossbar and the ball bounced in front of the goal. “My eyes lit up,” Johnson said.
U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman preserved the shutout when he smothered a kick from Wilmer Velasquez from in front of the goal in the 88th minute.
“I kind of read it well and got down,” Hartman said. “He didn’t hit it as well as maybe he would have wanted to and I was able to smother it.”
The United States, 3-0 this year, extended its unbeaten streak to 16 games since a 1-0 loss at the Netherlands on Feb. 18, 2004. The Americans are undefeated in 31 games against teams in the North and Central American and Caribbean region since a 2-0 loss at Costa Rica on Sept. 5, 2001.
Those runs could come to an end next Sunday, when the Americans play at Mexico, where they are 0-21-1. The Americans, who won 2-1 last month at Trinidad and Tobago in their final-round opener, will spend the week training in Colorado Springs, Colo., joined by their Europe-based players after this weekend’s games.
U.S. coach Bruce Arena sidestepped a question on whether this will be the strongest team the Americans take to the smog and altitude of Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, but midfielder Pablo Mastroeni said he likes the team’s chances.
“It’s going to be a great challenge in a great environment,” Mastroeni said. “This is what we live to do, to play in front of 100,000 people. With the decent camp we’ve had and the effort the guys have put out and the results we’ve gotten … I think we’re ready.”
The exhibition match before 9,222 fans gave the U.S. team a chance to play at altitude, a significant part of its preparation for Mexico City’s 7,300-foot elevation. Albuquerque’s elevation is approximately 2,000 feet less.
It was Arena’s 100th match as coach of the national team and improved his record to 55-23-22.
• Robin van Persie darted around American goalkeeper Brad Friedel two minutes before halftime for a goal, leading Arsenal past Blackburn 1-0 in the English Premier League.
Chelsea edged closer to its first league title in 50 years with a 4-1 rout of Crystal Palace, and Manchester United beat Fulham 1-0 on a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo.