May 11, 2013, 9:56 PM EST
It’s time for the U.S. internationals to show they have that extra gear needed for ongoing inclusion in Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team. Eddie Johnson did it Saturday.
Now if he can just knock off the silly stuff.
While Lamar Neagle’s pair of goals jumps off the score sheet in the Sounders’ impressive 4-0 win, Johnson’s body of work was quite critical in occupying defenders, making solid runs, holding up balls, etc.
And he did have the assist on Neagle’s opening goal. What Sounders managaer Sigi Schmid said about the U.S. international:
Sometimes how you play doesn’t really show up on the score sheet, but I thought Eddie Johnson worked really hard up front for us and created a lot of things. The combination play up front was good.”
Obviously a lot of people will find themselves covered in praise when their team finds the correct side of a 4-0 result. But Johnson’s role is important, especially as Obafemi Martins – who got in and scored his second goal as a Sounder – gets fit. That will present a lot of problems for opposition defenders.
Johnson probably should have been suspended for a game recently for that silly business with Philadelphia Union forward Antione Hoppenot.
Saturday in Seattle, he got into a little deal with Chris Wondolowski, a fellow U.S. international. There’s no question that Wondolowski was the initiator, clipping Johnson’s heel well after the ball was away late in Saturday’s contest.
But Johnson could have gotten himself in real trouble in responding and challenging Wondolowski rather than just being a pro about it and just walking away.
Johnson has worked too hard to get his career back on track; remember, he is just 18 months removed from pretty much running himself out of professional soccer. He’s in a great place – but his ability to stay above the unceccesary stuff will help determine whether he stays there.
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