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Aron Jóhannsson’s latest goal a reminder: U.S. forward picture starting to look pretty clear

Feb 15, 2014, 7:53 PM EDT

aron_johannsson Getty Images

Twenty-two goals in all competitions is not a bad way to say ‘Hello’ to the Eredivisie, and for U.S. international Aron Jóhannsson, that’s only seven months worth of work. After his latest salvo in AZ Alkmaar’s 1-1 draw on Saturday with Utrecht, the 23-year-old is up to 22 all-competition goals this season. To put that in perspective, Jozy Altidore scored 31 times in his much ballyhooed 2012-13, also with the North Holland club.

Another American hopeful was also on the field today at the AFAS Stadion, but Juan Agudelo couldn’t match his countryman’s impact. In his fifth league appearance with his new club, the Stoke CIty loanee went 73 minutes without a shot on goal. Jóhannsson only managed one greater, but heading home Roy Beerens’ 21st minute cross from the edge of the six-yard box, the Alabama-born striker recorded his 14th league goal of the season.

There was a time not so long when Jóhannsson’s chances of going to Brazil seemed more wish than reality, but with his performances in Holland only reinforcing what we saw at the end of 2013, a player that wasn’t even in the pool this time last year has become a near-lock. Along with Altidore and D.C. United’s Eddie Johnson, Jurgen Klinsmann seems to have three sure bets at forward for this summer’s World Cup squad.

When you consider the positional flexibility of Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, the entire U.S. forward corps may be set. When talking about alternatives, Steve Davis debated the virtues of Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez, and Chris Wondolowski, but the debate may end up more complicated. Those four many not only be competing against each other, but they may also be competing against the extra midfielder or defender Klinsmann could add at their expense. With Dempsey and Donovan, the U.S. doesn’t need four true forwards, particularly since Dempsey is currently seen as a starter beneath Altidore up top.

Between three goalkeepers and the three apparent forward locks, the U.S. has 17 other spots to divide between the back line, midfield, and potentially another forward. Depending on injuries, potential match ups, or just fit, Klinsmann may decide a ninth player in the middle or at the back is more valuable than a fourth true forward. Given the players that already locks, he has that option.

As for Jóhannsson, here’s a YouTube-quality version of today’s goal. With efforts like this, he may be the third of three true forwards going to Brazil.

  1. mianfr - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Please note there is no “North Holland”. Holland is a region in the Netherlands that includes Amsterdam. People in the Netherlands really hate when you refer to the whole country by that one region; it’s be like referring to Manchester as “North London” instead of “North England.”

    • Richard Farley - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:16 PM

      It appears North Holland is a province in the Netherlands.

  2. thfc54 - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    Time for JK to reconsider using Altidore as his go to striker…or maybe consider a 4-4-2

    • nappy25 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      Go to striker? Jozy has been already declared our starting striker. What have you been watching?

    • bear06 - Feb 16, 2014 at 2:06 AM

      I would like to Aron at the left wing with Fabian Johnson going back at LB.

  3. vin904 - Feb 16, 2014 at 1:50 AM

    This kid has to be starting for us come World Cup time. He has too many skills and goal scoring instincts too not be a main contributor. Get this kid acclimated to playing with Bradley, Donavan and altidore, (which he is already from last year) ASAP. He’s the future of US strikers

  4. overtherepermanently - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    I’d take Johannsson over EJ.

    • schmutzdeck - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:17 AM


      “I’d take Johannsson over EJ”

      The list is Jozy, AJ and EJ so there is no need to take AJ over EJ.

      What is your problem with EJ?

      • boscoesworld - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        He is lazy and doesn’t play any D. He only scores off of other peoples work. Other than that he is a fine 5th striker.

    • boscoesworld - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      I would give that 1000 thumbs up if they let me!!!

    • bear06 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:19 AM

      Johannsson is already ahead of EJ in the depth chart.

  5. jimmycrackcorn99 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    I see Donovan in more of a midfield role. That being said, and with the recent news about J Green, you have to believe that that starting forwards will be AJ, JA, Green and Dempsey.

    • bear06 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:21 AM

      I want JK to offer Green a WC spot and if he does go to the WC he will be in the bench not starting.

  6. hildezero - Feb 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Along with Jozy, Jóhannsson, and EJ, Wondo is definitely there with those cats.

    • bear06 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      No, he’s not.

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