Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Sean Johnson: Keeper of the Future
by Alec Mishra, July 19th, 2013 1:19AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team

MOST COMMENTED

[USA MEN] Nick Rimando may be expected to start in goal again when the USA faces El Salvador in the Gold Cup quarterfinals on Sunday, but that doesn't mean Sean Johnson didn't pass a crucial test with his performance against Costa Rica last Tuesday.

For Rimando, a 34-year-old with 14 years of MLS experience and perennial third-stringer to regulars Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, the Gold Cup meant finally getting significant minutes at the international level. But after Rimando got starts against weaklings Belize and Cuba, the 24-year-old Johnson, who had only played three previous times for the USA, got the start against a much more formidable foe.

Costa Rica returned to the USA set on avenging its controversial 1-0 defeat in a March World Cup qualifier now known as the “Snow Bowl” to face an upstart American side that had been scoring goals in bunches.

Adding to the magnitude of the match, Costa Rican coach Jorge Luis Pinto said his team would attack the Americans as it needed a victory to win Group C, whereas the USA just needed a draw to advance as the group champion.

Despite his age, Johnson boasts an impressive amount of professional experience. After two standout seasons at the University of Central Florida as well as inclusion on the USA’s squad at the Under-20 World Cup in 2009, the Chicago Fire selected Johnson in the fourth round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

Although he one of the last picks in the draft -- 51st overall -- it didn’t take long for the Georgia native to make an impact. After winning the starting job in early August 2010, Johnson hasn’t looked back and has gone on to make 86 appearances for the Fire. For his efforts, Klinsmann has rewarded Johnson with frequent call-ups, primarily in an understudy role to Howard or Guzan.

But Johnson’s most notable appearance on the international stage went badly. American fans will painfully recall the U.S. U-23 team’s failure at the 2012 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying tournament. Despite boasting a talented squad led by current senior team players Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud and Brek Shea, the heavily favored Americans tied El Salvador in the final group stage match after Johnson – who came off the bench to replace injured Bill Hamid -- inexplicably spilled a stoppage time shot into his net, resulting in elimination for the USA.

But when faced with another crucial international test on Tuesday, Johnson came through in a big way. While Shea’s goal off of a beautiful assist from Landon Donovan may steal the headlines, it was Johnson’s acrobatic save from a close-range header after a Costa Rican corner that led to the game-winning goal. Johnson’s reflex-save not only jumpstarted the American counterattack, it denied Costa Rica on its best chance of the game.

Although Johnson was largely untested throughout the match, when he was asked to make a big-time save he delivered, a truly essential task any keeper must accomplish. A  performance indicating he leads the group of younger keepers in line to take over when the veterans move on.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Gold Cup: Chicharito out with broken collarbone    
Mexican star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who has been linked to a move to MLS's Orlando City, ...
What They're Saying: Jill Ellis    
"I have absolute faith and trust in our medical team to do the right thing. I ...
What They're Saying: Sepp Blatter    
"I am a religious person and pray, too. I own a golden cross that has been ...
Video Pick: Carli Lloyd recalls Jersey roots     
If you want to know more about U.S. Women's World Cup captain Carli Lloyd, scorer of ...
Three takeaways from Japan-England     
Defending champion Japan returned to the Women's World Cup final thanks to a 2-1 win over ...
ICYMI | MLS: 'Sky is the limit' for Fire's Magee    
The return of 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee comes at a good time for the Chicago ...
Jordan Morris will miss at least month with stress fracture    
Rampant speculation over the short-term and long-term futures of Stanford University and U.S. forward Jordan Morris ...
Open Cup: Red Bulls pound Cosmos, SKC's Dywer hits four    
A year ago, the New York Red Bulls were crushed by the New York Cosmos, 3-0, ...
USL Roundup: Schuler on the way back    
Defender Chris Schuler, an important player for Real Salt Lake, marked his comeback by playing for ...
U.S. Abroad: Cody Cropper joins MK Dons    
American goalkeeper Cody Cropper has signed with MK Dons, which last season won promotion from the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives