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The buried story from Bosnia: 27 minutes of Aron Johannsson

Aug 15, 2013, 9:16 AM EDT

Should Johannsson start from the offset with plenty of Reuters

With the collective explosion of Jozy Altidore on Wednesday night – and rightly so – the buried story happens to be another of great promise.

It’s completely understandable, given the nature of the comeback and the absolute gem of a performance Altidore put forth.

However, a story with just as much potential for future impact is that of Aron Johansson’s debut.

He only featured for 27 minutes, coming on for Eddie Johnson when the game was tied.  And while he didn’t have a direct impact on either of the United States’ final two goals, he proved to everyone why he and Jozy could be a heck of a partnership in the coming years.

Johannsson showed outstanding energy, great vision, wonderful pace, and a knack for finding scoring opportunities.

Altidore recognized that after the match.  He said, “Aron, over the past six months I was with him at AZ, you saw in training his ability to see passes and score goals and beat people so effortlessly. He’s such a smart player and I’m so happy he chose the U.S. I think he’ll be an asset going forward and I think he’ll help us a lot.”

It’s a bit ironic that the two could form a formidable strike partnership in the future, given that Johannsson is playing his club ball at AZ Alkmaar, charged with replacing Altidore following Jozy’s move to Sunderland.

But given Johannsson’s ability to distribute and his outstanding first touch, it’s more than possible that we could see Johannsson playing as a secondary striker behind Altidore in the years to come.

Jurgen Klinsmann also gave the Alabama product his endorsement after the match.  “That’s why I think everybody now understands why I tried to convince him to play for the United States and not for Iceland, and therefore we’re really thrilled to have him on our side and go forward with Aron.”

While 27 minutes certainly isn’t enough to judge a player, given the hype it’s something that has to be causing USMNT fans to salivate at the thought of the two forming an attacking bond.

Now comes the natural next question: will we see Johannsson in the Hex in three weeks?

  1. bigdinla - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Aron Bacon is pretty damn good! I hope they run more 4-4-2 with him up top with Jozy! He bring tremendous touch and pace. Also love the fact I can finally say my home city has a player on USMNT!

    • mikeevergreen - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      Remember that this guy was a big help to JA on his 31-goal season at Alkmaar last year. If Sunderland is within striking distance of a Europa slot at midseason, they might be wise to buy him from Alkmaar too, like they did Jozy.

      • schmutzdeck - Aug 19, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        A big help? He wasn’t there that long.

        In 2011-12, before Aron got there, Jozy had 15 league goals and 5 in other competitions.
        for a total of 20.

        In 2012-13, Jozy’s big breakout year, Aron joined AZ at the end of January and only played 7 games for AZ.

        Aron is great but he wasn’t much help to Jozy at AZ. Give credit where credit is due.

  2. boscoesworld - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    He is the alter Eddie Johnson. Johnson: Receive ball, take a few seconds to think about it. Defense organizes. Lose ball. Johannsson: Receive ball, attack! The end. EJ just happened to get on the end of Jozy’s touch to get his goal but even then his run was to the same spot as Jozy. He was horrible in the first half but people see that goal on the score sheet and think he is great. Not so much. AJ’s quality is far beyond EJ. Glad he is with the USNT.

  3. ufficiopostale - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Iceland got Bobby Fischer, we got Aron Johannsson.

    Bargain for us!

  4. jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    My prediction for future 4-4-2, which seems to suit the team, so I will go with

    Johannsson – Altidore
    Donovan – Bradley – Dempsey – Zusi
    Beasley – Goodsen – Besler – Brooks

    Not sure about you folks, but I would be stoked to see something like this

    • grm35741 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      Replace Brooks with Brad Evans. Hold Beasley spot till qualifying is over to decide left back. Gonzales or Goodsen? I’m undecided.
      It’s nice to have choices

      • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        I thought about Evans, who basically stepped up to fill the vacant defensive spot which he did quite well vs. CONCAAF teams, but I wonder if it will be enough for WC competition. Therefore, I put my money on the young 6’4″ Brooks who can help in set plays/air attack, where we definitely have our problems.

        Beasley seems to have a spot in JK’s heart, much like Jones who played terribly – again. I think Beasley has a secure spot.

      • midtec2005 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        I’d put Cameron at RB, he’s playing there for his club regularly. He would probably be more comfortable there at this point.

    • NowWaitJustAMinute - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      I’m not convinced on Beasley play LB in a WC. I think we have better options, including getting Fabian Johnson on the field at that position. Also, I prefer Omar or even Brooks instead of Goodsen (a solid backup but not sure he’s cut out to start). RB is Dolo or Gonzo, not Evans.

      Also, I think Clint starts over AJ as the 2nd striker, AJ becomes our super sub. JK has proven he wants to DMs on the field at the start of games. I think the lineup is a 4-4-2 but set up like this:

      Jozy w Clint just behind
      LD – Bradley – Cameron – Zusi
      Fabian Johson – Omar – Besler – Dolo (Chandler?)

      That back 4 is still a problem though. It needs to be sorted.

      • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        Why Cameron in midfield?

    • markburst - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      Dempsey may not be in the starting 11 come next summer. I like Altidore and Johannsson up top. Dempsey is no longer a CM, he is too selfish. Cameron or Jones will pair with Bradley in the middle. I think Dempsey will regress playing in Seattle and someone will step up and take his spot. Someone who plays against the best and fights for his spot against the best week in and week out.

  5. sa371916 - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    It certainly would be interesting, but I just do not think you can have 5 attack only players, Bardley would have to play defensive mid in your lineup and that would really under utilize his skills. I would like to see Sept 6th:

    Dempsey – Altidore
    Donovan – Bradley – Cameron- Zusi
    F Johnson- Gonzo- Besler – Evans

    But I would not be surprised if FJ slid up and Beasley slid in at LB and Donovan came in as a sub for his first WCQ.

    • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      Cameron in the middle? Does not compute. Did you mean Corona?

      I believe that Bradley would be a great defensive mid leaving the creative work to Donovan and Dempsey, of which one would be considered a trailing forward. Do you think that Johannsson shouldn’t start?

      • midtec2005 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Cameron in the middle does compute… did you see the last round of qualifiers? He’s probably the best DM we have. I wish he wasn’t stuck playing on the back line for his club.

      • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        I prefer to see Bradley play DM. During the Gold Cup, Mix & Beckerman took over the role as DM and Cameron has been destined to be a DF. Plus, I think we already have a decent and somewhat deep set of midfielders.

    • NowWaitJustAMinute - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      If only I had read a bit further down. My line up and yours are almost exact. Agree on Beasley sliding in and FJ at LM, but I think that means Zusi doesn’t start and LD is on the right.

      Am I the only one not convinced on Brad Evans as a starting RB?

      • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        I think Brooks will take his job in the starting 11.

  6. NowWaitJustAMinute - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:38 PM


    You think Brooks takes Evans’ spot at RB? Haven’t seen Brooks as a RB (didn’t think he played it). I thought he only had one start for Hertha Berlin at CB and one start for the Nats at CB. I think Dolo (though old) may have some left. Chandler….maybe, depending on whatever his deal is.

    Also, JK’s preferred lineup uses two DMs in front of the back 4, one as a holding MF and one as a linking MF. MB is best as a linking MF between the back 4 and the wings/forward. Cameron has shown his best Nats position may well be the holding MF position, not a CB or RB (though he plays that at Stoke). I want to see MB-GC together over the course of a few games. The JJ-MB combo is problematic because neither seems to have a defined role for the central DM duties. Plus, MB just plays more creatively and fluid w/o JJ next to him. JJ stifles MB’s game, I think. Cameron allows MB more room.

    • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Evans has been transformed into defensive back due to lack of decent choices, and did decent work during Gold Cup, but it sounded like a Band-Aid solution. Therefore I see Brooks as the future DM or DB on the right and Beasley on the left. Besler seems to have defensive middle wrapped up along with Gonzales, Goodsen or Cameron.

      I am also a waning fan of Jones. He has been out of form and indeed seems very out-of-place on the pitch. I would rather see Mix or Bedoya than Jones. I like the speed of Zusi on the right and he had a lot of luck whipping in the crosses from that side.

      All in all, you have to admit that our weakness in WC play vs top-ranked teams will be the back line. We seem destined to always concede at least 2 goals, so therefore we must also shoot two or more. Due to that, I would like to see the offensive set with Johannsson, Altidore, Donovan and Dempsey with Bradley making occasional runs.

      • arbeck - Aug 15, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        Brad Evans didn’t play in the Gold Cup.

      • jimmycrackcorn99 - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Indeed you are right. I was thinking about the 4 games played in June. My bad.

      • randomhookup - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        All in all, you have to admit that our weakness in WC play vs top-ranked teams will be the back line. We seem destined to always concede at least 2 goals, so therefore we must also shoot two or more.

        My god, we have become the US Women’s National Team…

      • midtec2005 - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        “My god, we have become the US Women’s National Team…”

        I hope so based on their results!

  7. markburst - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Meet Dempsey’s replacement. Sorry Duece will regress playing for Seattle in MLS. Jozy and Johannsson will be leading the red white and blue attack next summer.

    • midtec2005 - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      I disagree that Deuce will regress, many MLS players do just fine at this level. That being said, I would move him out left… Beasley is the perfect left back to play behind Dempsey on the left.

      Dempsey tends to drift inside which reduces the teams width, so you have to have a LB that is willing to provide the width in his stead, Beas can do that in spades.

      Then I’d put LD on the right and drop Zusi. I love Zusi actually, I think he’s great… but someone has to go. Of course that’s assuming Johannsson is good enough to command a spot… otherwise I’d start LD up top with Jozy and keep Zusi.

    • midtec2005 - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      Or Fabian Johnson could play LB, he’s good providing some width also.

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