Klein leads U.S. rout of Guatemala
FRISCO, Texas -- Eddie Johnson got what he wanted Sunday -- his first international goal in nearly a year, and a parting shot at the team that traded him.
Still bitter after being sent to Kansas City earlier in the week by FC Dallas, Johnson scored his first goal with the national team since March as the United States routed Guatemala 4-0 and remained unbeaten this year in World Cup warmup games.
Johnson celebrated his goal, his ninth in 12 international appearances, by turning his back toward the crowd in the home stadium of FC Dallas and snapping his jersey.
"I couldn't ask for anything else but to score a goal," said Johnson, who spent five years with FC Dallas. "It made me feel good about myself. It's kind of a slap back in their face, saying 'Why are you trading me?'"
Chris Klein had a goal and two assists, the first to Ben Olsen and another to Brian Ching, as the United States (3-0-1 this year) won its third straight game and dominated despite missing many regular starters. The United States was without Europe-based players plus those on the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New England Revolution, who are preparing for CONCACAF Champions Cup games this week.
Johnson sat out the first half but wasted no time in scoring after replacing Josh Wolff to start the second. The 21-year-old got his ninth goal in 12 international appearances less than two minutes after entering the game, splitting two defenders before knocking the ball past goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez.
After Johnson scored eight goals in his first eight international appearances -- seven in World Cup qualifying -- an ailing toe and foot limited him to one game with the national team from last March 30 until last month, and then he bruised his right calf in his first game back, against Canada on Jan. 22.
"I thought he's had a tough go at it," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena of Johnson's injuries. "But I think you see today he's a player with a really great upside. We're going to move him around as best we can and put him in a position to make the World Cup roster."
Johnson said Arena instructed him to "have fun" and that Sunday's game will likely give him confidence to take more shots.
"Right now, it's about me getting my form," Johnson said. "I think I feel fine. My toe is 100 percent healthy."
In addition to absent Europe-based stars such as Brian McBride, DaMarcus Beasley and Kasey Keller, the United States also was without Landon Donovan and Taylor Twellman, among the players sent back to their teams for upcoming games. Other players trying to win a spot on the 23-man World Cup roster got a chance to impress Arena.
Olsen scored in the 38th minute on a pass from Klein from about 25 yards out. Ching, disappointed with his performance as a sub in the previous two games, made it 2-0 eight minutes later. After taking a pass from Klein off his chest and trapping it with his foot, Ching put the ball into the left corner of the goal.
Klein scored the final goal, stepping in front of a ricocheted ball and converting in the 71st minute.
"It was a good game for us," Klein. "It was a good game for me personally. My job is to give serve to the forwards."
Guatemala, which didn't qualify for the World Cup, was playing its first match since October. Carlos Ruiz, the star forward for FC Dallas, was a non-factor for most of the game and was taken out in the 63rd minute.
U.S. goalie Brad Guzan, making his national team debut, had two saves.
Arena will add in Europe-based players when the United States plays Poland on March 1 at Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Germany on March 22 at Dortmund.
The game was the first World Cup warmup for the U.S. team in Texas since 1994, and attendance was hampered by frigid weather. Only 14,453 attended the game at Pizza Hut Park, home to FC Dallas and the site of last year's MLS Cup.