Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

United States beats Mexico, clinches soccer World Cup spot

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pungent smoke and confetti wafted across the crammed stands, engulfing fans Tuesday night as they bounced shoulder-to-shoulder and screamed.

"You're not going to Brazil," was the singsong chant, addressed to the Mexican team. The song marked Eddie Johnson's 49th-minute goal at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Twenty minutes later, Landon Donovan had a second goal for the U.S. team to seal a 2-0 win in World Cup qualifying, extending a tradition at this stadium, against this opponent.

About an hour later, the United States made the World Cup for the seventh time in a row, thanks to Honduras' 2-2 tie at home against Panama.

"This is a huge, huge evening for all of us," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "It's a huge milestone whenever you make it to a World Cup."

The U.S. team (5-2-1, 16 points) leads CONCACAF qualifying with two games left, ahead of Costa Rica (4-1-3), which also clinched a spot in 2014 in Brazil with a 1-1 tie at Jamaica.

In the 49th minute, Johnson outjumped defender Diego Reyes to meet Donovan's corner kick 8 yards out and headed the ball past frozen goalkeeper Jesus Corona. In the 78th, Mix Diskerud, subbing for Johnson, threaded the ball to Clint Dempsey, whose slight touch to Donovan set up a tap-in goal.

"I'm proud of this team. I'm proud to be a part of it," Donovan said.

The Americans beat Mexico at home in the 2001, 2005 and 2009 qualifying cycles, all by 2-0 and all in Columbus. After Donovan's goal made it 2-0 Tuesday before 25,584, the fans yelled "Dos a cero!" over and over, taunting Mexico in Spanish with the familiar result — which, worse for soccer-mad Mexico, was also the margin when the Americans beat their archrivals to reach the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup.

Also, Italy, Netherlands and Argentina all won to clinch World Cup berths.

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