Johnson continues recent resurgence with All-Star Game winner

JohnsonGetty

By JOEY SAMUEL

CHESTER, Pa. — At the start of 2012, many people had written Eddie Johnson off. After all, he had languished for several years in Europe, moving from club to club.

But after returning to MLS with the Seattle Sounders, Johnson has found his form once again, and he proved that Wednesday night when he delivered a stoppage time winner as the MLS All-Stars defeated European champions Chelsea, 3-2, at PPL Park.

For Johnson, it was a moment he'll never forget, having struggled mightily in Europe over the last four years. Most of that time was spent at Fulham, where he failed to score in 19 league appearances. Johnson also spent time on loan at Cardiff City, Aris FC, and Preston North End.

But after failing to settle at any of those clubs, he returned to his home country, and he has finally found success. That's why he was picked to play in the All-Star Game by Ben Olsen, and in the end Johnson repaid him for the selection with the late goal.

"He was chomping at the bit," said Olsen. "He wanted to get in there and we saw holes because they were getting a bit leggy. It's nice to see, I've always known Eddie. He's a good guy who has had ups and downs. I hope he continues to succeed and he's had a great year."

After replacing Chris Wondolowski in the 60th minute, Johnson began using his speed to try and get in behind the Chelsea defense. He was on the field when Chris Pontius scored an equalizer in the 73rd minute, and it was Johnson's ability to stretch the field that allowed David Beckham to find an open Dwayne De Rosario, who eventually dished it to Pontius for the goal.

When the game entered stoppage time at 2-2 and appeared to be headed to penalty kicks, Johnson unleashed a shot that deflected off Chelsea defender David Luiz, and it got past Ross Turnbull to seal a dramatic win for the All-Stars.

But while Johnson may once again be showing the form that once made him one of the league's top young players, he doesn't think about proving anything to other people. His goal on Wednesday night was more about showing why he deserved a place on the team.

"That's what coach brought me here for," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to pay him back for selecting me to the team. I'm not really trying to prove anything to doubters. I wanted to prove it to myself. This year I want to challenge myself and try to be as consistent as I can. That’s the one thing I look back at my career and I haven't been able to really be consistent."

Johnson's dramatic winner can only serve to boost his confidence as he continues a 2012 campaign that has seen him score eight goals in 17 games for Seattle. He'll look to keep it up on Saturday, when the Sounders hit the road to face the Colorado Rapids.

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61 Responses to Johnson continues recent resurgence with All-Star Game winner

  1. Todd says:

    Took a lucky deflection and he had all the time in the world..not really showing anything new…but a nice moment for him.

  2. giggity says:

    To be fair, that was really more luck than anything. We’ve seen this from Eddie before – he’ll probably score a hat trick his next time out, then score 1 goal for the rest of the season.

  3. Ken says:

    EJ has been a revelation for the Sounders this year — not just with his scoring and hold-up play on the field, but with his maturity and determination off the field in the face of a decidedly mixed initial reaction from fans (myself included). I couldn’t be happier to see him succeed this way.

  4. malkin says:

    “But after failing to settle at any of those clubs, he returned to his home country, and he has finally found success.”

    Interesting omission in the timeline there…

  5. TheFrenchOne says:

    been pretty indifferent about him, but watching him play last night, one word came to mind: soft

  6. the proof is in the pudding says:

    IS EJ the biggest Yank to flop in Europe or is it Bedoya in Scotland or Donovan in Germany or Clark in Germany or Gooch in Italy?

  7. ISAF says:

    why wasn’t he able to go back to Aris in Greece? Because although it’s ranked no10 in UEFA it’s still a pretty decent league and he was making some good coin.

  8. OneLegged says:

    Eddie has a great attitude. Much improved…

  9. Ben says:

    And his jogging into the area when Pontius was sprinting to win the ball and send in a cross showed the bad EJ.

  10. RLW2020 says:

    next game vs. Rapids… unfortunately, i wouldn’t bet against him…

  11. JRP says:

    I wish him well. But this is still the honeymoon phase of marriage number 2 with EJ and MLS. I have doubts about EJ. Just glad as hell he is not playing for my team. And, just saying, I hope there is a prenupt.

  12. Jeremy says:

    For every hater like you, there is someone like me that is ecstatic that he is on my team. He has brought another dimension to the Sounders’ offense and has been one of the most influential players on the team.

  13. JRP says:

    Well…beating the Crapids this year is akin to beating a rec team from the backwoods of Wisconsin.

  14. JRP says:

    I want to hear from you in two years.

  15. Jeremy says:

    Haha I’m willing to concede that EJ could do something stupid at any given time. I’ve seen the taunting after games and some pretty ridiculous yellow cards. He has definitely transformed the Sounders’ attack though. He was incredibly rusty at the beginning, but it really seems like he has been getting better every game.

  16. JRP says:

    I don’t wish him ill. I just am not quick to look past the history of his game. He is a talented player for sure. Maybe Seattle can get some consistency out of him but no one else has been able to.

  17. Mike G says:

    I was so mad when that ball went in. I was sooo looking forward to seeing some PKs.

  18. Mark says:

    You are so right. He should have laid out and dove for the header. At least swung a foot at it!

  19. Dennis says:

    EJ still has speed and the ability to score goals. I always thought that he was so successful early-on because he was athletic, but lots of players are athletic, he also did manage to find himself in good spots. It is hard to tell if that was intentional or simply good luck. The early success and then later hard times might argue that it was luck, on the other hand, he was injured for over a year and didn’t get that scoring knack back until he joined Seattle. It is possible, even likely that if he stays healthy he will begin to fulfill the promise he showed over 6 years ago. Credit to him for persevering despite some withering criticism.

  20. TheeMurf says:

    Todd! Todd! Todd! Todd! Todd! Trollolololololol Good to see you’re back for more!

  21. Mark says:

    I’m glad that MLS won the game, but EJ actually played pretty lazy and poorly.

    He gave up the ball that led to the obvious hand ball in the box that the ref graciously let go.

    He didn’t dive for the header after that wonderful run and cross by Pontius.

    He is like Altidore: Lazy and a prima donna, without much skill.

  22. JRP says:

    And I thought I was a Debbie Downer.

  23. GW says:

    Maybe you’ve heard or not but there is thing called a recession, economic slowdown, armageddon, whatever and it just so happens Greece is in the middle of that.

    I remember reading somewhere that EJ would have gone back and they wanted him back but the financials were a little tight.

  24. GW says:

    Easy for you to say.

  25. GW says:

    Two years? That is an eternity in soccer.

    How long did Charlie Davies great run last?

    Hows long was Holden’s great run for Bolton last?

    Almost two years ago Michael Bradley’s career was in ruins at Aston Villa.

  26. GW says:

    Clint did the same thing against England in the World Cup. You take a chance and you get a little lucky. Wondo had a little luck with his goal in that the ball “sat up just right” for him.

    Every goal scorer needs a little luck.

    If you invalidated every deflected goal that took a lucky bounce the goal scoring lists would look very different

  27. Mike says:

    ‘even the losers….’

  28. Brett says:

    Success here was never the issue. Eddie is fine against lower competition. I still consider him a disappointment, but only because he started so promising.

  29. Gnarls says:

    *sad trumpet* WAW WAAAAAW

  30. I live under a rock says:

    What? Greece is in a depression? I had no idea.

  31. JRP says:

    You have a point but two years ago EJ sucked. He will suck again in less than two years. I don’t believe players like EJ turn into Wondos. They turn into Ochocincos. They turn into Howards (Magic not Everton). They turn into Clint Mathis or Maestroni. People you pray your children will not turn into, marry, friend or have to work with.

  32. JRP says:

    Thanks for that.

  33. ISAF says:

    what’s up with Conor Casey?

  34. fish says:

    My lord, you have some serious beefs with people

  35. kellybird says:

    You have too many critics who have never played the game. I have watched EJ AT fulham and cardiff where he was given limited minutes and chances or playing time. No soccer player will flourish under those conditions. Sanchez gave Dempsey minutes where he could get used to EPL and Roy did not. If the defender did not stick out his foot the ball would still go in the back of the net. These are world class defenders.

  36. Wendell Gee says:

    He’s costing 100K. For an all-star forward. You can be as skeptical as you want, but the Sounders will have gotten far far more than their money’s worth.

  37. GW says:

    I get the feeling a lot of you dislike EJ because he seems like a jerk. Well, he may be, but so is Charlie Davies and everyone loves him. Still,EJ is closer to a shot at the USMNT than he is.

    EJ’s basic image as a player is based on his physical gifts, size, speed power, etc.

    Yet he often plays like a weenie. So he is hard to like. But on balance,if he can be productive and it looks like he can be, then it is irrelevant if he slashes and powers his way into box or moonwalks whilst prancing into it as long as he scores.

  38. get over it says:

    scores goals and still can’t get the vred.. worth every penny that SSFC is paying him

  39. Todd says:

    Actually he was better then Alidore when he hit the National team…then be believed the press…broke his toe and never progressed after that!!!!

    Still holding out for Altidore but Boyd’s playing in Austria might make the discussion moot!!!!

    Think altidore with more heart and skill = Boyd

  40. Todd says:

    Well said…you are the Johnson of posts…not really showing me anything!

  41. Todd says:

    Adu and Donovan where the biggest flops…but Donovan only at at Leverkusen…never really had a shot at Bayern. The difference is one of the two grew up.

  42. Marc says:

    He has progressed a lot. He is better than Lazy Out The Door right now.

  43. Javier says:

    Great pace, hold-up play, finishing…If Seattle had that true #10 to feed him an Montero, they would be much stronger.

    A team with that kind of money and support should go after a big-name player like Kaka.

  44. Libbe says:

    He would have been even better if he stayed here.

  45. Pete says:

    Eurodouchey

  46. Sergio says:

    +1

    World class defenders a couple months off a European championship.

  47. ad;jklds;lj says:

    Why is there so much hate for Altidore? Boyd is the same age and has scored all of 2 goals in a league worse than Altidore’s. Honestly can anybody think of a more accomplished 22 year old American. Altidore is at least top 3. I might be wrong but i cannot think of a single big result from the US since the 2006 world cup that Altidore has been involved in. Algeria, Spain, Italy, he played extremely well in all of them. Honestly, what do you people want to see?

  48. lasdfljsglkj says:

    *That Altidore has not been involved in*

  49. lkasdf;lsa says:

    That’s all lies. The “recession” is just something the liberals made up to keep us from buying guns.

  50. Sims says:

    MIA the last match

  51. Pop says:

    EJ got the minutes at Preston North End and struggled. That’s a League 1 side.

  52. Stan says:

    He was one of the better players on the field in both Chelsea games

  53. Max says:

    Finally a decent All-Star jersey

  54. Andy in Atlanta says:

    First… off sopt going by what Taylor Twellman was telling you on TV… Johnson could have gotten nowhere near Pontius’ cross with running offsides… Watch it again.. He was trying to stay even with the ball when Pontius delivered it and it was 5-6 yards ahead of him with very little curl back to the penalty spot…

    People honestly just want to hate on Eddie because it is easy to when everyone has for so long…

    If you actually watch Seattle this year, you will see a player that holds the ball up well, works hard off the ball and scores important goals…

  55. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Go back and look at the play… he could not have gone ahead of Pontius, he would have been offside… he held up to stay even with the ball and the ball Pontius played was not even close to being near a diving header… it was 5-6 yards ahead of EJ…

    Stop listening to what Twellman was telling you.. he would not have gotten it either.. or he would have run offside like he always did..

  56. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Struggled? Why because he was playing right wing and PNE accumulated the most points they had all season during his run of 10 starts…

    He was up and down there but was nowhere near awful… They were also in the Championship too at the time… not league 1

    MORONS..

  57. Sam says:

    euro-moron

  58. cairo says:

    Never loved Eddie Johnson’s work rate in the past, but he’s really performed for Seattle, and he’s definitely in the upper echelon of MLS strikers, at a bargain pay rate. He’s definitely still dangerous, and even if he doesn’t score defenders have to be aware of him at all times, opening up opportunities for other plays (see All Star Game, Pontius goal).
    I don’t care what he did in Europe–we’ve seen a number of good Americans struggle in Europe, for a whole host of reasons not necessarily related to on field performance. He’s a good MLS striker, and if he continues to play hard and score with the Sounders, he’ll probably re-enter the US Striker debate. It’s not as if anybody’s really won that job outright, and a matured Eddie Johnson is worth a look

  59. Todd says:

    “re-enter the US Striker debate” really???

    Gomez, Altidore, Boyd-then Johnson…really? Let’s just leave Donvan or Dempsey out of the discussion? I would take Wondo or Pontius because of there work rate and desire…hell I would even take Cooper over Johnson. Having said this Wondo, Pontius, Cooper or Johnson would ever make an impact…outside the lower level CONCACAF qualifiers.

    The not ready for prime time players…shouldn’t be in a serious discussion about the future of the men’s national team.

  60. Todd says:

    would never