COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The United States defeated Mexico 2-0 in a critical World Cup qualifying match on goals from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan.
Johnson out-jumped a trio of Mexico defenders in the 49th minute to emphatically send Donovan's cross into the back of the net. Thirty minutes later, Donovan finished one of his own on a tap-in from Mix Diskerud's cross.
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The result leaves Mexico in disarray, keeping El Tri in the 4th spot, outside of automatic qualification from CONCACAF. Mexico will likely have to play New Zealand in a home-and-home playoff.
Mexico dominated much of the opening 15 minutes but failed to threaten Tim Howard's goal. Jermaine Jones flashed a 15-yard shot over the bar in the 14th minute for the United States' best early chance.
But Christian Giménez threatened Howard's goal twice shortly after, forcing a big save in the 19th minute and striking a free kick just over the crossbar two minutes later.
Eddie Johnson's header on a corner kick looked like it would put the home side ahead, but his powerful strike was saved right on the line by Mexico goalkeeper José Corona.
The United States -- which is 6-0-3 all-time in Columbus Crew Stadium, including three straight 2-0 World Cup qualifying wins over Mexico -- can clinch a World Cup berth with a win and a Honduras win or tie against Panama.
Fabian Johnson took over at right back and Clarence Goodson was inserted into central defense as U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made major changes to his starting lineup for Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier against Mexico.
Fabian Johnson shifted from midfield to the back line, and Goodson was among four new players inserted into the lineup, joined by midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya, and forward Eddie Johnson.
Tim Howard remained in goal, with Omar Gonzalez joining Goodson in central defense and DaMarcus Beasley at left back. Jermaine Jones and Beckerman were in the defensive midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Bedoya, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan ahead of them. Johnson was the lone forward.
Klinsmann was forced to make changes because of suspensions to defender Matt Besler, midfielder Geoff Cameron and forward Jozy Altidore caused by yellow card accumulation. In addition, midfielder Michael Bradley is sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Michael Parkhurst replaced Fabian Johnson at halftime due to Johnson's strained left hamstring. Mix Diskerud replaced Eddie Johnson in the 76th minute.
USA: Howard; F. Johnson, Goodson, Gonzalez, Beasley; Jones, Beckerman; Bedoya, Dempsey ©, Donovan; E. Johnson
Mexico: Corona; Mier, Reyes, Moreno, Salcido; Arce, Zavala, Giménez; Guardado, Dos Santos, Chicharito