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Johnson Leads U.S. Over Honduras

From News Services and Staff Reports
Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page E04

Eddie 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 Albuquerque 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."

Eddie Johnson of the U.S. team moves past Honduras' Milton Reyes, on ground, and Milton Nunez (11) during the first half in an international friendly at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. (Jake Schoellkopf - AP)

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Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman preserved the shutout when he smothered Wilmer Velasquez's shot in the 88th minute.

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 unbeaten 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.

But those runs could come to an end next Sunday, when the Americans play at Mexico, where they are 0-21-1 and will face more than 110,000 hostile fans in the smog and altitude at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. The Americans, who won 2-1 last month at Trinidad and Tobago in their final-round opener, will spend the next week training in Colorado Springs, joined by their Europe-based players after this weekend's games.

This game also gave the U.S. team a chance to play at altitude, a significant part of their preparation for Mexico City's 7,300-foot elevation. Albuquerque's elevation is approximately 5,300 feet.

Johnson scored in the 45th minute after Clint Mathis's shot hit the crossbar and bounced back in front of the goal. Johnson booted it into the middle of the net past goalkeeper Junior Morales.

MLS: Brad Davis scored a pair of first-half goals to lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-0 exhibition victory over D.C. United in Charleston, S.C. United, which recently returned from an international tournament game in Jamaica, used many reserve players.

ENGLAND: Robin van Persie darted around U.S. 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 win over Crystal Palace, and Manchester United beat Fulham, 1-0, on a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fulham nearly tied the score late in the game when Lee Clark hit the post and Man United's American goalkeeper, Tim Howard, made a heel save on Andy Cole.

Chelsea got two goals from substitute Mateja Kezman, and one each from Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. Aki Riihilahti scored for Palace in the first half. Chelsea is in first place in the league with 77 points, followed by Man United with 66 and Arsenal with 64. "The league is looking beyond us," United Manager Alex Ferguson said.

U.S. national team captain Claudio Reyna scored for Manchester City in his second game back from a leg injury that sidelined him for nearly the entire season. It was Reyna's first goal in eight games this season, but City lost to Tottenham, 2-1.

GERMANY: Bayern Munich moved back into first place in the Bundesliga by beating Hansa Rostock, 3-1.

SPAIN: Barcelona extended its lead to 14 points in La Liga by beating Deportivo de La Coruna, 1-0. Ludovic Giuly scored the winning goal in the 10th minute to bring Barcelona closer to its first major trophy since 1999.

ITALY: Juventus put the pressure on title rival AC Milan by beating Reggina, 1-0. Alessandro del Piero scored in the 65th minute off Zlatan Ibrahimovic's heel pass.

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