Eddie Johnson pays off for the USA once again

The Seattle Sounders forward came up big for his country, scoring the winning goal against Mexico to help seal a spot in Brazil next summer.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Eddie Johnson scored a goal in Columbus for the Seattle Sounders and during his celebration, rubbed his fingers together and said the same two words over and over again: Pay me.

Eleven days later, at the same stadium and this time for the U.S. national team, Johnson showed once again why his celebration, though a bit tactless, was probably justified.

The 29-year-old striker was handed a start against Mexico and didn't let his manager down, scoring the winning goal in the 49th minute off a towering header.

“I got a good run of form going for club and country and I think right now, you just want to ride that rhythm,” Johnson said.

Johnson's goal did more than just give the USA the lead, it took the wind out of Mexico's sails. As soon as El Tri was down, it was out, and really never threatened again as the game ended in the now-familiar “dos a cero” scoreline.

Brought on as a substitute in Friday's 2-0 loss at Costa Rica, Johnson was handed a start against Mexico with Jozy Altidore suspended, and repaid his manager's faith in spades.

"It was a tactical decision starting me tonight because I'm good in the box and we've got some good guys that can cross balls like Landon [Donovan] and Alejandro Bedoya and it's all about letting the game come to you,” Johnson said.

Donovan provided the killer cross for Johnson's goal off a corner kick. The goal, much like his goals for the Sounders at the Crew and against El Salvador in the Gold Cup, showed off his trademark leaping ability.

“I saw the opportunity to get inside my man,” Johnson said. “I think Clint [Dempsey] made a good run to the near post, Clarence [Goodson] kind of took his guy away and Landon put the ball in a spot for us to attack it.

“We've got some great height in the box, and you know this time I wanted to make sure I kept it down and on frame and was very fortunate that it went in.”

Johnson may not get the huge contract he desires with Seattle but if he continues his career resurgence, somebody will pay him. For the USA, EJ is paying off big time already.