Eddie Johnson emerges from shadows with strong performance

Eddie Johnson (AP) 

Do you know this player? If he doesn't look familiar do not be alarmed. It has been a while since you would have noticed him.

That player is Eddie Johnson and the U.S. national team striker finally gave American soccer fans a reason for optimism about his career after putting in an outstanding performance for Cardiff City in its 3-0 win vs. Barnsley on Tuesday. Johnson got a rare start, playing 90 minutes on Tuesday, and he delivered an assist during an active and encouraging performance that has brought him back in the good graces of Cardiff fans who had grown tired of his lack of production.

Here is an excerpt from the above story:

"It may be the fact that the on-loan Fulham-striker is like the Forrest Gump of Championship football – hapless, but so willing and eager you can’t help liking him."

Listen to this interview with Cardiff City manager (and John Carver sound-alike) Dave Jones praising Johnson's performance.

What do you think of this development? Could Eddie Johnson be coming around? Could his struggles at Cardiff be helping him mature and grow into the player his physical gifts have always suggested he could be? Will you reserve judgment until he actually scores a goal?

Share your thoughts on Johnson's performance in the comments section below.

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78 Responses to Eddie Johnson emerges from shadows with strong performance

  1. afc says:

    EJ did well, I think something finally clicked with him. He was very unlucky not to score. He worked hard, held the ball up well, and got an assist. I hope more is to come.

    If he doesn’t stay in England there is always Malmo who were interested earlier. His agent went to talk to him. I haven’t heard anything else but it is always a possibility as Roy used to manage there.

  2. AJ says:

    Eddie Johnson with an assist? Did someone get on the end of an errant shot?

  3. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Eddie was everything yesterday that he has never been before…he chased down every ball even the near hopeless ones. He held the play up and brought the midfield into the gam, was willing to take players own which drew him about 7-8 fouls. Did not lose a header all day and his flick ons actaully went to his team too. His only flaw yesterday was that he missed a header on the backpost that I have seen him slot home…

    If he keeps this up there may be hope for him yet.

  4. Mike says:

    Wow…that’s probably the most backhanded compliment I’ve ever heard.

  5. afc says:

    EJ was also named Man of the Match.

  6. Trex says:

    it’s one game, give it time and he won’t dissappoint to dissappoint you! ;)

  7. Bill says:

    Once he’s putting in this kind of performance on a weekly basis, then maybe he should be back on Bob Bradley’s radar screen. But for now it’s too soon.

  8. SayervilleFC says:

    Grown Ass Gump?

  9. CSD says:

    The first person ever to be a cult hero in Kansas City and Cardiff…wow…

  10. M says:

    My favorite EJ memory was him missing a one-on-one breakaway against Argentina at Giants Stadium. Only EJ can take a perfect pass and royaly screw it up.

  11. Andy in Atlanta says:

    He may actually be becoming a Grown Ass Man now…

  12. Mike22 says:

    What do you think of this development?

    Indifferent

    Could Eddie Johnson be coming around?

    No.

  13. afc says:

    EJ is also tied for Cardiff Reserves top goal scorer.

  14. kofi_x5 says:

    Great game for Eddie. I’m sure he can keep up the intensity.

  15. afc says:

    Eddie is also tied for Cardiff Reserves top goal scorer with 2. He scored in 2 consecutive games. The first one being after he spent over a week in Florida.

  16. Curtis Spiteri says:

    EJ will end up in Norway next, then eventually back in MLS. My guess is LA Galaxy by 2011.

  17. Ko'd says:

    It’s fun to compare the story of “praise” for Eddie with the story on Edu a couple days ago. Two stories about Americans who don’t get much playing time, who ended up getting playing time, and who ended up playing well.

    Edu’s write-up is about hope and anticipation. Eddie’s write-up is a farce.

  18. Brant says:

    From the club’s official website:

    “Following the dismissal, Cardiff dominated the last twenty-five minutes with man of the match Eddie Johnson impressing in attack”

    link to cardiffcityfc.co.uk,,10335~44786,00.html

  19. Isaac says:

    All he needs is the motivation and the confidence. He’s got the skills, the speed, the finishing ability. all he’s missing is the mentality.

  20. AP says:

    I enjoyed this excerpt even more:

    “Only one thing was missing to make everyone’s night complete – a goal for you know who. Altogether now: ‘USA! USA! USA!’”

    Disparaging, but funny nonetheless.

  21. Dannyc58 says:

    What “gifts”? He runs fast. He has next to zero skill and atrocious finishing ability.

    Other than being fast, I am so tired of hearing about this fool.

  22. Brandon says:

    You’re right Danny, why even post a story about an American player who apperently had a nice game? I find it nice to read any news that casts an American player in a positive light, if only just for one game.

    If you want to read posts or article blasting Eddie Johnson, just go to ol’ google.com. There are plenty of them. Occasionally I like to mix in some positive with the negative though.

  23. jh says:

    Yeah, I disagree with the statement that he has all the tools except the mentality. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him dribble the ball without looking at his feet.

    I wish well for him, and am happy he finally performed well for Cardiff, but I seriously doubt he’ll do enough to earn his way back to NT duty, though with BB you never know.

  24. Dannyc58 says:

    Brandon,

    I’m not interested in reading things bashing him, I’m simply not interested in him at all.

    I’ve never seen these “skills” and “gifts” that people talk about. He runs fast and thinks he’s better than he is. Thats about it…dime a dozen type player.

  25. Alex says:

    Who would you rather have on your team, EJ or Theo walcott? Next question Marvelle wynne or ashley cole? The reason I ask is because Im pretty sure the majority will take the english players and i for the life of me don’t know why. Theo is all speed no skill he can’t cross the ball and is as frail as DMB but no one calls for him to leave the epl or thinks its too rough for him even though he gets hurt more than anyone I know. Ashley Cole has no skill is often caught out of position its ridiculous, and has modest skill the only thing going for him is that he plays for chelsea.

  26. Chosun says:

    Honestly, I think he has the skill but he was either lacking the confidence and/or his ego got in the way. I remember watching him last WC and was pretty impressed by him. I thought he had a lot of potential, but he rarely played.

    I think he still has the ability to become a great player, but he has to get over the mental aspects of the game. To me, he was like Donovan in that respect–plays well against “easier” competition, but when it’s an important game, he disappears like he doesn’t want the ball. Hopefully this is a new start for EJ…I’d like to root for him again.

  27. Steve C says:

    Congrats Eddie. Glad to have ya back!

    I thought it was the apocalypse when I saw he got the start… phew… now, if he would’ve scored a goal.. thats when I start buying up the bottled water.

  28. Dannyc58 says:

    Alex,

    I guess this is what makes soccer so unique. I just spit out my water at the idea that Theo Walcott & EJ are in the same sentence, let alone compared. People see the game differently I guess…VERY differently.

  29. nate says:

    Don’t get your hopes up…Cardiff have 3 quality strikers who are all injured or have picked up knocks recently (RMc, Chopra, Booth) that all regulary…what’s the word I’m looking for…oh, right…SCORE.

    EJ has one more starting opportunity this Saturday and unless he scores a hat trick it’s back to the reserves.

  30. Tim K says:

    It was 1 game!!! talk to me when he actually starts scoring!

  31. BFBS says:

    A question for those that have actually watched some of EJ’s first team and/or reserve matches for Cardiff: what is your impression? Especially, does he ever dribble past people? Do anything else that’s clever with the ball? What we are used here in the US is Eddie making decent runs and taking advantage of far too much space where the finish is a relatively simple one. But we are also used to him dishing the ball off to the nearest teammate immediately after receiving it, even in the box, where other forwards would go for goal.

  32. afc says:

    BFBS EJ was rated very highly by Cardiff fans yesterday. They said he did very well. The message boards of Cardiff fans were very supportive of him.

  33. Luke in NC says:

    We’ll see if he actually does anything the rest of the season (which, unfortunately, is unlikely)….then I say we bring him back to MLS, or Scandinavia as some have suggested here.

  34. Luke in NC says:

    And also….being a “cult hero” doesnt exactly hurt your chances of playing….but, as the Forrest Gump comparison shows, having that title doesnt necessarily mean they think your a quality player that should start.

    But best wishes for him to do even better in his next (hopefully) start.

  35. brandon says:

    i’m not going to read too much into this, as eddie needs to show some consistency and quality to be considered for the US. At this point, with the current crop of players, he would not help the US, the US needs thoroughbreds in the squad not another hardworking donkey.

  36. Brandon says:

    Danny,

    That may have come across more acusatory towards you than I meant, however it’s an article about an American player being named MOTM. I’ll read those stories all day with a smile on my face… I just wish there were more of them.

  37. nyjer says:

    Lets see what happens over 5 games. While I believe he can still have a decent Euro career in second tier leagues (where he can bank some good cash) I think he ultimately will return to the MLS. His game is speed but with less technical skill or understanding of the game then Beasley. EJ’s time on the natl team has passed him by. He had more then a fair chance to establish himself and the more he played the worst he looked. Donovan and Ching are established with Jozy clearly the immediate future. Cooper deserves some time and Davies has barely had a chance yet. And there are younger players in MLS who will surely develop. So I do not even see EJ on the B squad.

  38. Turtle says:

    that article was one of the most entertaining I’ve read in a long time. That writer is very “cheeky”.

    Make it happen Eddie!

  39. Andy says:

    I don’t know that Eddie Johnson can do anything to restore any faith I once had in him.

    Sorry but that’s how I honestly feel about the guy.

  40. CSD says:

    Wake me up when/if he ever scores a goal in Europe. Watching him play a few games with Fulham was painful.

  41. beckster says:

    Eddie has to put a number of these performances together, score some goals and see if he can get his confidence back. Hopefully he can build on this but he has a long way to go.

  42. Michael F. (SBI Mafia Original) says:

    I love ya Ives bit I wouldn’t characterize this as a “development.”
    EJ is a forward and needs to start, then score – consistently – in any league -before we get all excited about a comeback. I just pray Bradley doesn’t call him back into camp because of one better than average game in an average league.

  43. Eddie Johnson has been disappointing no doubt.

    Let’s see if this confidence can extend into more games.

    Then, you can pass judgement. One game does not make a player.

  44. Brian says:

    I am happy he did well in a game. I am always happy when US internationals do well.

    But Eddie has a long long way to go before getting back into the National Team picture. Frankly, I doubt he ever will.

  45. comfort says:

    Danny,
    Which championship team do you skipper again? I’m curious to see your judge of talent.

    Anywhoo, EJ is the definition of enigmatic.

  46. MVK says:

    He was more productive than Ching yesterday… Not that I think EJ deserves a cap soon, more that Ching doesnt…

  47. Dannyc58 says:

    Comfort,

    So you can offer an opinion on EJ (Enigmatic) but I can’t?

    Thats logical.

  48. MVK says:

    Can someone tell me where Behrami was playing for West Ham? Will his injury help get Spector time?

  49. Dannyc58 says:

    MVK

    West Ham is my favorite team. He was playing right mid in a diamond formation midfield.

    Looks like Jack Collison will move to the right, and maybe Savio (January signing) will play on the left.

    Mark Noble has played on the right a few times but he has been dreadful (in my opinion).

    So unfortunately that is not a postive from that huge negative (Behrami hustled his AZZ off)

  50. denny says:

    EJ has hit rock bottom. who knows, there’s no where else to go but up.

  51. MVK says:

    Dannyc58-

    Thanks man, did you happen to see that game where Spector got in recently? I havent seen him play in like 2 years.

  52. Dannyc58 says:

    MVK,

    Yeah I did, I though he played really well, great cross into the box he made where Scott Parker slotted it home. I thought he looked pretty good going forward and more assured on the ball. Hopefully the Zola influence!

  53. Andy in Atlanta says:

    God most you guys are just arrogant pricks… I am not EJ apologist but him showing signs of working hard is a very good thing for us…That honestly was what was lacking all these years… If you think that Eddie has not skills then you just read about what others say of Johnson and dont actually watch him… I being a Wizards fan exhiled in Atlanta have seen plenty of skill in Eddie… If he adds full time effort to that…he will be back @ Fulham taking over for Bobby Zamora next season… FACT

    Now obviously you will say…let us see it week in and week out and I will agree 100% with that…

    Come on Eddie show the haters that you can do it every time you are called upon.

  54. Andy in Atlanta says:

    @ everyone who is making fun of the fact that Ives has posted this story….

    Have you been so drowned with all the great stories coming from Monaco and Villareal/Xerez etc… that you think that it is rediculous that we are talking about Eddie Johnson again? Guys we live in America where soccer is bashed on by Jim Rome every single day ($100,000 cash to first person that makes him eat through a feeding tube by the way) and you want to piss on a story that means a guy that we all have bashed time and time again for being lazy is finally “WORKING HARD”…

    You guys really need to get your priorities straight…stop whinning about Jozy not doing that his and damn Nevin and Giuseppi turn coats that… and focus on the positive stories.

  55. andrew in tampa says:

    I’m with Andy from Atlanta. The Eddie Haters just can’t get enough. I’m a big EJ fan. Of course I’ve been disappointed by his lack of goals but I always believed he had the talent if not the mental strength. Clint and MB are the only two young US nationals who seem to have that mental toughness to succeed at a high level in Europe. And by the way, If we are going to blast EJ like this we need to talk about what Donovan has (hasnt) done at Bayern once the real games started. Here’s a prediction. EJ will score before the season is over and he will be back in the US mix. I love U.S soccer. If our players succeed US soccer benefits. The EJ haters don’t ever seem to understand that.

  56. PCFC says:

    Why are Cardiff City fans more optimistic about EJ over USMNT fans?

    Didn’t we have optimism when the FFC transfer was finalized?

  57. Erik says:

    I’m picturing a blind squirrel (emaciated blind squirrel at that) finding an acorn.

  58. brandon says:

    i respect the fact that people don’t think eddie should be criticized because it hurts us soccer. but the fact is that everything is not rosy and pink concerning eddie’s professional career. he is a professional athlete who has been producing indifferent performances for many, many months. if people who are passionate about soccer want to weigh in on the current situation. then they should.

  59. KCB says:

    As a KC Supporter, congrats on the full 90 EJ. Now go score a goal or two.

  60. Artie says:

    Ives,

    FYI Cardiff City won 3-1 against Barnsley, not 3-0.

  61. jpc says:

    Johnson has been busting his ass for the past year in England, yet failing time after time. But he’s stuck it out despite massive criticism, and finally his hard work has paid off, and maybe he has finally learned how to be an effective player.

    I don’t think there was really any question that he had the athleticism or skill to succeed at any level. But his effort and tactical awareness were frustratingly inconsistent, seemingly coming and going w/ his confidence. Hopefully this experience is beginning to harden him, and he’s learning to give 100% effort despite where his confidence is at.

    Really exciting development overall

  62. Brandon says:

    Ahhh… I see there is now competition. You with the very powerful name, I don’t think people are saying we shouldn’t be critical of EJ, but rather he just played a nice match, got some good press, so here’s a pat on the back.

    I haven’t read anybody clamouring for him to be called back into the National Team starting eleven, but he’s gotten so much bad press (rightfully so, mind you) for his performance, that it’s nice to see him draw some praise for a change.

  63. Sandro says:

    Although I would like to see EJ turn the corner, I just don’t buy it. I don’t think he will become what we all would have hoped. I seriously hope I am proven wrong, because he has the talent.

    Hopefully he can prove a lot of people wrong and he can become an awesome striker.

  64. Isaac says:

    Did you guys ever stop to think that its people like you who are constantly teasing and taunting EJ that hurt his mental strength?

  65. Isaac says:

    Also, Whats the difference between Johnson’s start to his MNT career and Jozy’s start to his MNT career?

  66. r.benjamin says:

    65 comments on this. that says something. not sure what.

    yes it will take more games and consistency, but to me the most encouraging aspect is that it appears he worked hard out there. For me that was the most frustrating thing when watching him the past few years. He has world class speed. He might worth something yet.

  67. Doug Heffernan says:

    have EJ and Jozy ever played up front together?

  68. Goalscorer24 says:

    Yeah I think we will wait until he starts scoring goals regularly and has more then one good game to say he has arrived.

  69. jddjsjsjdd says:

    USA, USA, USA.

    EJ has been playing like crap over the past year and hasn’t even tried in most matches. That hurt him and kept him to the bench. Now he’s back in form, and i’m hoping he can show off his skill.

    GO EJ. Get that hat-trick.

  70. Doug says:

    I dunno, nothing in that interview led me to believe that the manager is all of the sudden enamored with Eddie. If anything, he confirmed everyone’s suspicions, that he was not settling in well, his skills (or rather lack thereof) were letting him down. Like someone learning a good swing in golf, you may get everything to come together for your on one day, but your bad habits will return to bite you. I expect he has a way to go before he can consistently perform at a level where we can say that he has made a comeback. The question is whether the club will keep him long enough for him to do so. I wouldn’t bet they will.

  71. DC Josh says:

    Everyone wants him to succeed. All of those who hate him are just upset he is the most inconsistent natural striker we have.

    I’ll be happy when he is paying like this week in, and week out. I could see him getting a call up this year for the MNT with all of the games they have.

    I feel the tide changing though and a brisk wind blowing in my face.

  72. papa bear says:

    1 good game in a second tier (at best league) is nothing to get excited about.

    EJ will resume disappointing soon. I mean the guy didn’t even score FFS and he’s a GD striker! Is this how low the bar has gotten that this sort of performance is cause for lavish adulation? It sounds to me like he merely did the things he SHOULD be doing everyday.

    My biggest fear is that Bradley will take this as cause to call him up again and put further blocks in front of Altidore.

  73. Joamiq says:

    Coming around? After one good game following years of failure? HA.

  74. lprevolution says:

    Sad, sad situation with Eddie. All he can afford to do if he wants to stay in the game is mature. Just take a look, I mean listen to Clint Dempsey and see how he’s lost the attitude in the accent with more production on the field.

    I hope EJ succeeds.

    LPR

  75. Vedran says:

    Wow one good match after many failed attempts. Even the blind man can find his way around the city. I am sick and tired of EJ and his hype. He is lazy on the pitch and rarely places forth the effort he can achieve. EJ is someone who thinks they are a prolific striker when in reality that isn’t the case. He is a good MLS player and that’s about it. No way should he be on the national team and playing. I wish he could do more and excel overseas but that is to be determined.

  76. Joe B. NYC says:

    Look, what does everyone expect here? First of all Landon’s coming back home for the 3rd time. 2nd, Jozy can’t get a game with Xerez. 3rd, Adu’s having a rough time with Monaco. Eddie Johnson, a country boy from Florida is finally starting to get the English game after being there for little over a year (if I’m correct). Surprise surprise!

    What should he do? Beg the guys at Fulham to tear up his contract so he could come back home and be a star at MLS again? I think with the Landon/Germany situation we know that would be a mistake to say the least. I also remember Giuseppe Rossi’s loan at Newcastle didn’t go all that well either. Give the guy a break, please.

  77. Jack Regan - Bluebird to the Bone says:

    Listen guys, first and foremost, Eddie is not playing in England, he is playing in WALES. Cardiff is a Welsh team, playing in the English league.

    Us Taffy boys have never lost faith in Mr Johnson, he has had nothing but support from the fans, even though on occasion he has failed to perform. He has an opportunity to grasp now, our other big striker is injured, and Ed needs to take the bull by the horns. Come on Eddie, Come On Bluebirds!!!!!!!!!

    Big up,for Tex out in Dallas – USA Cardiff fan!

  78. inkedAG says:

    I’ll reserve judgement only when he is a regular starter.