So we now know that Eddie Johnsons hamstring isn’t as bad as feared. First and foremost, I want to give a big SUCK IT to Jason Davis of The Best Soccer Show. Not because he specifically hated on the Sounders but the negativity vibes he sent our way as Eddie Johnson limped off the field.
It’s not as if Jason has a real team. He’s a serial fan and really just a fan of the MLS in general. Whatever, enough about him. He’s busy winning sticher awards anyways he doesn’t care about anything but the bling now. Speaking of bling, Eddie Johnson, it would appear at this juncture of the week, has the potential to be in the line-up against RSL according to Sigi Schmid.
That sounds wonderful and all but I have to ask why the push? Eddie Johnson is a phenomenal player and having him on the pitch, 100% healthy, makes the Sounders one of the best attacking teams in the league without doubt. Again, the problem with all that, EJ isn’t going to be 100% healthy this Friday.
It’s complete conjecture to say what percentage of health he’s be at, I have no idea. But you have to wonder how does a less than 100% Eddie compare to a healthy David Estrada, Sammy Ochoa or Steve Zakuani. The players that Schmid mentioned as possibly replacing the Sounders striker. I would just assume send Sammy Ochoa out there to bruise with the boys, Jamison Olave and Nate Borchers, as you know it’s going to get rough and I’m not sold that it’s worth the risk to send Eddie back into that type of element.
I get that it’s kind of associating Eddie Johnson as frail and weak. It’s nto as if he’s had a real issue this season and he’s managed to stay rather fit for the majority of the season. Of course he’s taken a few nicks here and there, not to mention sitting a games or two to keep him fresh. But this isn’t so much about his history as it is using the quality depth that is apart of this team.
Deploying a rested and healthy Johnson in Rio Tinto would be a game changer. Sure, the only game that matters right now is Thursday and with or without Johnson it’s going to be tough. But, let’s not fool our selves into thinking that this is about having someone to finish off opportunities. It’s about creating those opportunities and dangerous chances.
Christian Tiffert becomes a vital piece in that effort. Mauro Rosales has long been talked about and is an obvious key. But an under the radar piece is going to be Brad Evans. How he functions out on the wing and how he is utilized by his teammates is going to be a subtle hint on how successful the Sounders attack is going to be.
This midfield is known for a lot of it’s wonderful play and amazing service at times to both Fredy and EJ. But, what we often complain about and sometimes it’s swept under the rug is not just the lack of consistent play but also the turnovers. There are a lot of untimely passes that are lazily dumped into the Sounders defensive end. I think this is where fans/supporters sometimes mislabel the Sounders defensive reaction to the impromptu counter attacks as poorly positioned or even inadequate.
The midfield needs to take care of possession and they need to find a rhythm early in the game that will allow them to find opportunities. Eddie Johnson would be great to have out on the pitch and he would be an improvement over any other alternative on this team up front. But you have to ask is it worth it to put him out against a physical opponent and when he isn’t at a position that is necessarily make or break for this squad?
It’s a tough question going into the up-coming match and I don’t envy Sigi Schmid. He’s going to be scrutinized either way he goes. But, this Sounders team has so many options that it’s going to be a lot of fun to see them fight for the MLS Cup that we’ve all anticipated so much the last couple of months.