There is a lot to say about being in your first game back in two years and putting together a game like that of Eddie Johnson. Sure, there were a lot of occasions were he generally turned the ball over near midfield and around out lines. That it seemed he didn’t show or offer much in the way of confidence on the ball. What he did do was on multiple occasions show that he was able to dominate through the air.
Those of us that have seen him in out on the pitch for the Sounders this season can attest to his placement, positioning, strength and vision. It’s not just that he’s been dangerous through the air so much that he’s been incredible at making his presence known in the 18 yard box. He’s been supplied plenty of great opportunities and solid service by the likes of Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans, Fredy Montero and Christian Tiffert. Tonight he got service from the likes of Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi and Alan Gordon making the most of each of his opportunities.
There were multiple occasions were I was thinking, “what the hell is Eddie Johnson doing in the midfield?” I honestly wasn’t sure what position he was suppose to be playing early on because I’ve never seen him in the midfield before. What surprised me besides at his placement by Jurgen Klinsmann is the inventive and original approach to a roster that was rather stagnant. Now this was partially to his own doing
I didn’t get the opportunity to see the starting line-up prior to the start of the game so when I turned it on and saw EJ out wide it was surprising. Despite some of the problems that come with playing on a junior level pitch that seemed half the size of Jeld-Wen Field. But he still looked really good at times paired with his old partner Clint Dempsey and top flight central midfielder Michael Bradley.
It looks almost certain that Johnson will start in the upcoming match in Kansas City at LiveStrong park in front of his former supporters. This is a great thing for him and less good thing for the Sounders FC. Though it looks like David Estrada has the inside edge on replacing him and to be honest I’m kind of excited about seeing him out there.
The question about when Johnson may return to the Sounders remains open as the Sounders follow up their game Wednesday home game against RSL with another home side game Sunday afternoon against Dallas. It should be interesting to see how this game resonates with coach Klinsmann and how he’s used the future.