[caption id="attachment_40302" align="alignright" width="480"] South end of CenturyLink Field greets U.S. men's national team.[/caption]A crowd of 40,847 at CenturyLink Field got to cheer both their national team and their local team Tuesday, as Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson scored in the United States’ 2-0 World Cup qualifying match against Panama.
Johnson’s second-half goal combined with Jozy Altidore’s first-half goal to move the USA to 3-1-1 and alone at the top of the 10-game competition in which at least the top three finishers continue on to the 2014 World Cup.
The crowd was the seventh largest ever drawn for a qualifying match on U.S. soil. It also was the second largest ever drawn for the national team in Seattle, behind the 43,651 that watched the USA draw with Russia in the Kingdome in 1994.The United States moved ahead in the 36th minute when midfielder Fabian Johnson feathered a pass to the far post where Altidore ran on and knocked it home.
Johnson added the insurance goal in the 53rd minute when he settled a long, high pass from Geoff Cameron and beat Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo from about 15 yards.
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He was subbed out in the 87th minute and received a loud cheer from the overwhelmingly pro-USA crowd.
Sounders midfielder/defender Brad Evans went 90 minutes at right back.Evans had scored in the United States’ 2-1 win over Jamaica last week.
With Johnson’s goal Tuesday, four of the USA’s last 11 goals have come from Sounders players.
The USA continues World Cup qualifying Tuesday when they meet Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Attendance: 40,847 at CenturyLink tonight: seventh largest ever for U.S. World Cup qualifier.
53' GOAL Eddie Johson. Nice capture of the ball, nice finish. USA, 2-0.
Second half: ... has begun. At halftime, Klinnsmann tells ESPN he's happy with game so far, but wants second goal to clinch the three points.
Halftime: USA 1, Panama 0.
Shots 7-2 US; on goal 1-1; corners 1-1, fouls 6-6; offside 1-1.
36' GOAL U.S. Jozy Altidore scores at far post just seconds after he was upset about being knocked down in box without call. USA, 1-0.
First 25 minutes: Scoreless. Game still finding its rhythm. Best chance was a who by Bradley that seemed to have a chance but went into Dempsey. There also was a nice move by Eddie Johnson, splitting a couple of Panama defenders. Assist to Fabian Johnson.
First kick: ... has been struck. We're under way. Panama in red/red; USA in white/blue.
Lineup: For the USA: GK Howard; D Evans, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; M Bradley, Cameron; E. Johnson, Dempsey, F. Johnson; F Altidore. Reserves: Guzan, Castillo, Boyd, Corona, Holden, David, Parkhurst, Kljestan, Goodson, Rimando.
Panama: Penedo; Parris, Baloy, Torres, Rodriguez; Cooper, Godoy, Quintero; Sanchez, Tejeda, Henriquez.
Pregame: The usual MLS flags are fluttering at CenturyLink Field, along with the glafs of the United States, Panama, FIFA and CONCACAF in advance of tonigh's World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Panama.
We are told that if the Mexico-Costa Rica game goes long, the USA-Panama match will begin on ESPN2 until the conclusion of the first match.
While waiting, here are some notes provided through the Sounders:
U.S. Men's National Team in Seattle The U.S. Men's National Team's 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Panama at CenturyLink Field will be the second World Cup Qualifier ever played in Seattle. The USMNT beat Canada, 2-0, on October 20, 1976, in front of a crowd of 17,675 at the Kingdome. CenturyLink Field previously hosted the USMNT for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2005 and 2009.
* The last time the USA played at CenturyLink Field was on July 4, 2009, during a 4-0 victory against Grenada in the opener of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. * The USA is 6-2-1 all-time in Washington and has won five straight. * The 4-0 margin of victory in the USMNT's last outing at CenturyLink Field tied for its largest margin of victory in the state of Washington. The USMNT also beat Honduras 4-0 on March 2, 2002, at SAFECO Field. * The U.S. is currently on a five-game winning streak in Seattle, outscoring its opponents 16-1 in goal differential during that span. * In the 4-1 victory against Cuba in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, current USMNT veterans Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley each tallied goals. * Out of all the home venues for World Cup Qualifying, CenturyLink Field is the only one in which the USMNT has played in more than once and never lost or tied, with a record of 4-0-0.