Johnson defends his house

March 27.

An errant bounce and the goal that led to the elimination of the US Men's Soccer team from Olympic competition seems like it occurred ages ago.  Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson dealt with the disappointing outcome and the scrutiny that came as a result of that play in impressive fashion.  He seemed to immediately accept the result and freely discussed the game and the ill-fated shot off the foot of El Salvador's Jaime Alas with each media outlet that requested an interview in the days following the match.  He didn't hide from it or sulk in it's aftermath.  Instead he confronted it head on and has seemingly used the experience to eventually round back into the form that earned him a USMNT call in the first place.  That form has helped catapult the Fire into a solid playoff contender on the strength of outstanding goalkeeping efforts over the last two months highlighted by a spectacular ten save outing in San Jose two weeks ago.

After a recent training session, Johnson said that it took him a while to find his best form after the Olympic Qualifying loss and has pinpointed a time frame for his reversal of fortunes.  "I think going back to the New England game (June 2) for me I felt good.  It's just a matter of doing the right things every day," he said.  The ten save performance in San Jose brought Johnson back into the national spotlight earning him MLS Team of the Week honors but his play had been exemplary for several weeks before that match.  The 23 year old 'keeper credits much of his success to hard work but is also sure to mention the collaboration of teammates in aiding his success.  "The last 5 or 6 games and maybe the last 8 or 9, I've been put into situations where I've had to make decisions and make saves for the team but there have been games like Houston where we did an excellent job and allowed maybe one shot on goal for the entire game.  At different points in time every player has to step up and we have the confidence to step out there with the best of them," said Johnson.

"I've worked hard all season and the guys in front of me have done a good job as well.  In the last handful of games we've needed players to step up at different times and my name has been called on the last few games," he said of the recent success.  "Jalil, Austin, and Arne have all switched around in the back so it's a team effort and that's what's going to get us into the playoffs this year.  We don't have the one person like Wondo or any of those guys whose output is singlehandedly keeping their team in games.  We've been more of a collective unit and that's how we're going to be successful this season," said Johnson.

The San Jose match featured a variety of acrobatic, spectacular stops that allowed the club to pick up a valuable point on the road against the top team in MLS but Johnson wasn't particularly satisfied with the result.  "I take every goal that teams score very personally including that last one in San Jose.  We battled tirelessly for 98 minutes and we come away without three points after fighting that hard," he said while reflecting on the late equalizer.

After being away from the club for most of training camp and missing the first three matches of the season while he competed in US Olympic qualifiers, Johnson needed some time to adjust to picking up more minutes as a starter.  DC 'keeper Bill Hamid was getting most of the first team minutes and Johnson came into the El Salvador match as an injury substitution.  Johnson again credits his teammates and the technical staff for helping in the transition.  "It's one of those things where you're gone for a long time but you come back in and the guys make it easy for you to get adjusted.  For myself, I wasn't fully fit until maybe a month and half after I came back," said Johnson.  "Whether it was on the field or off the field it took me about a month and a half to get to where I wanted to be and needed to be personally.  Just getting back to the groove and getting back into that mindset with the physical aspect and the mental aspect where everything is rolling is something I just had to keep going," he continued.

The huge effort in San Jose was followed up by a quieter night against Toronto FC but Johnson still managed to come up big just before the half-time whistle.  Another big stop on Luis Silva's stoppage time shot prevented the Fire from facing a 2-0 deficit at home this past Saturday night.  "One game doesn't define a season, we have to make sure that we keep working as a goalkeeping unit.  Not just myself but Aron (Hyde), Jay (Nolly), and Paolo (Tornaghi) in order to keep the level of goalkeeper where it is, it's going to take work from everybody," said Johnson.

The Fire 'keeper is definitely in one of those zones that athletes reference when playing at top form.  When asked if he feels that he's in a state of mind where he believes he can stop any shot Johnson replied, "To be honest with you that's the way it has to be every game.  That's got to be your mindset in every single game."

 

 

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  • It's been worth the price of admission just to watch him. Johnson's form and the additions made during the transfer window have given me even more faith in this team. GO FIRE!

  • any word on fernandez? i think he is going to be a key in order for us to make it into the playoffs.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    The team resumes training today. He seemed to think the ankle injury was not a big deal and he would be back at full strength in a few days.

  • Reminder....

    The US Open Cup Final takes place tonight in KC. Seattle can tie the Fire with a fourth USOC title if they defeat Sporting. The game starts at 8 and will be televised by Goltv.

  • The Javier Leon interview was very good to see. I found it interesting that they were so focused on transparency with the players but (apparently) not the fans. Hopefully this interview represents an awakening to that side of their PR.

    The interview said a lot of things that we needed to hear. It's just sad that they held their silence for so long. Perhaps some of these things couldn't have been said at certain points but they did seem to find the ability to finally state them and to state them well. There were some of the comments that seemed to get muddled in translation (or something), but there were a lot of things said here we could have (and should have) been told sooner. And it presented a LOT of much needed reassurance.

    Silence is deadly. Especially when everyone else is laying their version (or hints of it) out there. Hopefully it's another lesson learned and this administration will benefit from it. I have to admit, they've done a lot of things right. I particulary like the draft results of the last few years. Personally, my anguish was always over the total lack of response from the Fire administration to all these swirling public issues. I'm not sure how these things are perceived elsewhere, but in the US sports world, the sports fan expects responses as the issues arise. When they don't come, we become suspicious of those who aren't responding. I hope that, now they've found their voice, they use it regularly.

  • Alvaro Fernandez is participating in training this morning.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    These rules are OK when you consider the schedule isn't balanced. The fewest disciplinary points is really kinda dumb though.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Top tie breaker should be goal differential.

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    Wow, what a sad PK session. I thought we were bad at taking PKs.

  • Sporting KC defeated Seattle in penalty kicks to win the 2012 US Open Cup.

    If you missed the broadcast, you missed one of the most comically bad displays of soccer broadcasting in a Cup Final ever.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    a couple of my favorite lines in the penalty kick session:
    1. talking about kamara's kick after he already made one in normal time, the commentator said something like "he already went to left so the goalie will look for him to go opposite way but also the goalie knows he will go to the left but kamara may go down the middle."
    2. i think it was bielsa's PK: "he put that one away, right under the bar and into a goal."

  • In reply to penapirata:

    There were so many good ones. I liked the sideline reporter saying that "something was said", between the coaches but he "wasn't sure what it was."

    He also said during post game that Nielsen was wearing his "heart in his sleeve and on his t-shirt."

    There was an endless barrage of inane commentary. Twitter was priceless last night.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    almost forgot, KC moves onto the CCL and we still lost to a 4th division team. i really hope they take the open cup more seriously next year.

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    "This is not a bad red card!"

  • Best part about the USOC final last night? Eddie Johnson blowing the last penalty! I was really pushing for the Fire to get him on his return to MLS but he's really turned out to be a huge _____bag. For some one that bombed out so badly in Europe to come back with that huge of a chip on his shoulder is beyond comprehension to me! Guess that's one good move in the Hauptman-era???

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Eddie Johnson certainly does a good job of making the Sounders unlikable.

  • MLS trade.

    DC gets Mike Chabala from Portland in exchange for a supplemental draft pick.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I don't know much about Chabala, do you think he'll start against us Aug 22?

  • In reply to iron81:

    It seems they're bringing him in to start. They have some issues in back.

  • According to reports in Argentina, Grazzini was acquired by Rafaela on a one year loan for no fee. Another club, besides Rafaela was apparently interested but could not meet Grazzini's salary requirement.

  • It seems Grazzini has come to an agreement with Atletico de Rafaela in Argentina. That was one of the first clubs interested in him several weeks ago.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Have hinted which obscure marginal foreign player they will sign to replace him ?

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    yeah they already signed him, his name is alex.

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