Johannsson scores twice as AZ rout Heracles

Aron Johannsson AZ Alkmaar (Getty Images)

By DAN KARELL

Even with Jozy Altidore struggling at Sunderland, one of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s forwards is firing on all cylinders.

AZ Alkmaar forward Aron Johannsson scored his 15th and 16th goals of the Eredivisie season on Saturday as his side defeated Heracles, 4-0. Johannsson scored his first goal in the 16th minute in tremendous fashion, taking a pass, flicking it up, and finishing on the volley all in one motion.

Johannsson’s second may have been even better as the Mobile, Ala.-born forward took a pass from the right, spun on a dime to evade two Heracles defenders, then side-stepped the goalkeeper before tapping home. Both assists came from Swedish youngster Matias Johansson.

The 23-year-old Johannsson now has 24 goals in all competitions this season for AZ and is looking more and more likely to be a lock for Brazil.

Here’s video of Johannsson’s goals today:

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What do you think of these goals? Do you think Johannsson is a lock for the World Cup squad? Think he could start the opening match against Ghana?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to Johannsson scores twice as AZ rout Heracles

  1. kmac014 says:

    love the composure on both goals

  2. choto says:

    maybe Jozy ought to go back to Holland and play…. definitely suites his style!

    • slowleftarm says:

      Yes, playing against a lower level of competition would help anyone.

    • Landy Cakes says:

      I think he would have been better off staying in retrospect. He really improved his confidence there and we saw the result with his goal scoring and leadership, particularly in the Bosnia game last year.

  3. JayAre says:

    Jozy take notes!

    • slowleftarm says:

      I don’t know if this sarcastic but Jozy did this exact thing with this same exact team last season (31 goals last season) – looks like Aaron took notes last year.

      • Louis Z says:

        1. it wasn’t the same team, since Jozy’s days they have been trying to integrate the new players.
        2. Jozy doesn’t or ever had those moves. Jozy is more of either a brute shot or a tap in.

        • arsenal says:

          That is what people don’t understand. It is a different team, and they got rid of some important players. And I agree, Jozy does not have those moves at all. He has never shown the type of ball skill Aron has, in my opinion.

          • Fair Observer says:

            link to youtube.com

            circa 1:07 to be honest is showing his foot skill, im not saying he’s a foot skill sort of player but he does possess the talent. his style is more brute shooting strength and volleys but he isnt unskilled at dribbling. 0:20 also shows is soft touch, chesting a mid distance pass in the air and chipping the GK off a volley, similiar to Aron’s first goal above.

            Jozy and Aron are different players but yes Jozy WAS doing this type of stuff last year for the same club. level of competition, team playing style, whatever it may be, Jozy and Aron are on the same level talent wise. Jozy is in bad form currently but let’s not discredit the talen Jozy has. I think both should start at the WC with Zusi, LD, Dempsey and Bradley but thats usuing a 4132 instead of 4231 that JK usually plays. if he’d be willing to sit JJ down and bring him on in the second when subbing dempsey off (assuming we’re winning) it could work to bunker down and protect an early lead.

            Aron Jozy
            Dempsy LD Zusi
            Bradley

            • The Garrincha says:

              Truth spoken Fair Observer.+ 10 for Pele

            • Nate Dollars says:

              +1

              but really, who wants to see video evidence when we can just make up criticisms because we don’t like a certain player?

            • Louis Z says:

              your video shows him finishing plays, one been a volley shot just like AJ. Jozy don’t have the stop and go, the two touch, the nutmeg etc. you haven’t prove your point.

              • Jesse says:

                Actually it did show given go and one touch passing, and dribbling through defenders. Omg it didn’t show a volley…. Jozy must suck then. Hthat is sarcasm and his point was proven

          • luis says:

            Which do you think is more effective. AJ can dribble around players and Jozy can just body them up and turn?

        • Lorenzo says:

          ? Look how how this post that has nothing to do with Jozy turns into all about Jozy.

          First off, Eredivise is not a quality defensive league.

          Second, you are just seeing what you want to see. You want to build up Johansann as if he is Ronaldinho and make Altidore out to be Marvell Wynne. Johannson probably has some better feet then Altidore, but not drastically.

          And yes, Johannson will never “learn” to be as strong, fast, or powerful as Altidore. They both have their strengths and both have weaknesses they work on. End of the day they are both American and will probably both be on the field together in many games. I root for both of them and think those who want to hate on one or the other as complete fools.

    • todd says:

      it’s hard to take notes on atrocious goalkeeping leading to easy goals for a decent striker. that’s what happened on both goals: the goalie misplayed the situations. On the first goal, the keeper should have been more aggressive and read the gaps between his defenders. In the second, the goalie was caught playing the man instead of playing the ball. With a striker (with possession) less than 5 yards from goal why wouldn’t the goalie make a play for the ball or try to get low? He stayed upright and lost his balance while over-shooting the ball. Result: easy tap in for Johansson.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Simple answer the defenders and Goalie had no idea when the shot was coming. Making that move gave the defense and goalies three points of movement to follow, thus freezing and confusing them.
        So yes, they looked foolish, much like how Brazilians do it in the box.

  4. Edwin in LA says:

    I don’t know if Aaron will start vs Ghana but I think regardless if it’s Aron or Dempsey or Agudelo or even Boyd….. Jozy plays better with another forward and we find ourselves changing to a 4-4-2 anyway when we go down due to our slow starts or giving up early goals. Why can’t Jozy & Aron start vs Ghana the weakest of the 3 opponents?

    • John says:

      Ghana strength is there midfield and if you don’t have numbers winning the ball there and keeping possession or your forwards will end up stranded. That midfield battle is really where that match will be won or lost.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Agree with both of you, Edwin L A, and John.

      • Landy Cakes says:

        Just by pass the midfield and play directly from the keeper to the forwards. THAT’s the american way.

        • The Garrincha says:

          True, Landy cakes, but not for long, that old kick and run ball from the dark ages of American Soccer.
          Although if you have long distance touch like Beckham,
          or the people I watched learning the game like Ronald Koeman, greatest long ball passer of his generation?.
          However this kinda pass should be done sparingly and under the right circumstances.

          • Fair Observer says:

            Bradley has that ability, check the Bosnia game i believe or perhaps the Germany friendly, cant’ quite remember, but bradley is a great long passer from center midfield.

            • The Garrincha says:

              Don’t disagree one bit, Bradly, Rapinoe on the Womens side, even a few others can pull it of in the right situation.
              Did you ever get to see Koeman. As a kid that’s what really always stuck out with me, how well Koeman could pass deftly with pinpoint precision, side to side and up and down the field. His Ajax and Barcelona days were his best.

        • John says:

          It’s not the worst idea to play a few over the top and challenge there backline because they are more prone to mistakes. However you still have to have a midfield thats going to break up possession off Ghana.

      • Louis Z says:

        midfield is Ghana’s strength. if we go 4-4-2, those 2 forwards would need to help the midfield, otherwise it will a quick 3 and out. I don’t like Jozy as a forward that is suppose to help the midfield. I think Agudelo always had a better work rate than Jozy when he is healthy.

      • AcidBurn says:

        In 2010 Ghana played with an extra midfielder and owned the US in the first half, wasn’t until US inserted Feilhaber as an extra midfielder at the half that the US started to play better.

        You need to have the numbers in the midfield to play against Ghana’s strength – love MB90 and Jones, but they are no Muntari and Essien.

  5. Matt says:

    Shambolic defending. The defense on the 2nd goal in particular is just horrible.

    • Ian says:

      So you’re saying this is the Eredivisie…

    • The Garrincha says:

      True, if that was Serie A, with all that time one of the defenders or goalie would have done the Due Gamba (two legs) on him. Like in basketball on a breakaway, often the player will get fouled rather than give away a dunk or easy lay up. Point is is nasty teams would have taken him out rather preferring to give a penalty than allow that kind of schooling.
      But you see that is the magnificence of such a move as the Garrincha, it momentarily confuses and discombobulates the defense.

    • Gary Page says:

      He definitely wouldn’t get away with that in the World Cup. Also, after getting beaten, especially on the second goal, the defenders seemed to give up and just watch.

  6. ESC says:

    reminds me of lindpere on the second celebration. TELL ME NO

  7. Expat4455 says:

    All of our predictions and suggestions concerning the starting 11 in Brazil, and boy-oh-boy do we have a lot of them, will make a big change if Jullian Green declares and plays in the 3 send-off matches and goes to Brazil.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Ok so since that isn’t happening, then what?

      • Expat4455 says:

        HI slowleftarm.

        I still believe it is a done deal. I believe Julian Green will be playing for the U.S, Nat. Team in time for Brazil.

        • Del Griffin says:

          Bayern clearly is talking to FIFA who is talking to other world governments, and they all agree green should play for the US so it’s a lock.

        • arsenal says:

          I have to agree and I wouldn’t be surprised if the paperwork has been submitted and in the initial stages.

        • Increase0 says:

          Over confidence about all this suddenly….

    • away goals says:

      Not that big a change. IF green is good enough to start, it would probably just mean fabian starts at left back and beasley drops to the bench. So the big change is a slight upgrade at left back.

      I don’t think anybody except you thinks the kid is a huge game changer. If he were truly talented enough to turn us from underdogs to favorites against the german national team, he’d probably be starting for the club team with all the german national team players.

      • Expat4455 says:

        First off, I never said, or even thought, that Green could turn us to favorites against Germany. As to your saying if he was good he would be starting for the 1st team I have some news for you.

        The kid is going to be 19 on 6.June. Ahead of him are: Mandzukic, Ribery, Müller, Robben, Götze, and Kroos. All of these 6 attackers are world-class and are starters on their national teams and are much better than any attacker on the U.S. team.

        At the beginning of the season Bayern were thinking about loaning Green out to Hamburg, where he would have been a starter, but Julian so impressed Pep with his first team training that the loan idea was nixed.

        Here is what Bayern’s sporting director said about Green. He can play anywhere in attack. Despite the many top international stars at Bayern, Green is capable of holding his own. Make no mistake, if this kid can hold his own with these 6 players then he sure as heck can be a game-changer for the U.S.

        • Expat4455 says:

          Oh yeah, what u talking about, Green’s starting would make a change in the back line. Do u know what position the kid plays?

          • John says:

            If Green was to play on the left then you just shift Fabian to left back is what he is saying. If you played him in Dempsey/Donovan’s role then you put them on the left and Fabian again at left back. I think Fabian is playing left back with Green or not anyway….. so yeah

            • The Garrincha says:

              Yeah John, but what Away Goals missed was that it would not just be an upgrade at LB. how about the entire left side. and yes as you already know, I most certainly agree with expat about Green. You can see it in his play if you have the insight and acumen.
              Money’s got that it factor,
              and yes it’s not just expat and me or even Pep or JK, I’ll take K-H Rummenigge, The Kaisers and Mr. Hoeness, word for it also.

              • away goals says:

                “You can see see it in his play…”

                If you’re watching a lot of german fourth division matches, then you have my respect for being the most dedicated fan on this site.

                If not, I suspect you’re basing your opinion on an absurdly limited sample. A youtube compilation tends to only show a player at his peak.

              • Dennis says:

                This is the kind of hype that Freddy Adu got for his highlight reels when playing for the US youth natiional teams. Highlight videos only hint at greatness. Pep (and Bayenrn) apparently liking the way he plays says that he is a more complete player than Adu. I would not be too surprised if Green does really become an international star, but could never base that soley on a few highlights.

        • away goals says:

          Those affirmations from the bayern front office are great, but they’re just words.

          If green were truly comparable with kroos, muller, ribery et al, he would be part of their normal roation already and he’d be seeing regular minutes.

          But he’s not. As you said, he’s a 19 year old who bayern believe has a bright future.

          Of course I’d be thrilled if the usmnt landed him. I’m just skeptical that green would be an immediate upgrade over fabian at left mid.

          • John says:

            I actually share your hesitations on Green but the longer Dempsey and Jozy continue to struggle the more I’m ready to say lets just take a chance.

            • away goals says:

              Wouldn’t the first roll of the dice be johann though? And maybe donovan in the hole?

              For the record I’m not AT ALL opposed to giving green a shot if he files a switch.

              If he’s better (and more dynamic) than brek shea, he’d deserve a roster spot.

          • The Garrincha says:

            Just curious, Away Goals, have you seen Green play?.
            And no I do not mean the last 3 or 4 minutes of a champions league match.
            Anyway Man U Januzaj is also 19 and beginning to get some real run. However one could rate Bayern a little higher in the overall team depth dept.
            And yes at the moment Bayern is a much better side than ManU.

            • The Garrincha says:

              AG, I do not watch 3rd or 4th div anything at least not unless I had a personal reason to do so.
              I can tell you I have seen Green in the run of play with the first team. He fits in and actually makes an impact.
              I have witnessed him start or play in about 4 first team games.
              where he did not look out of place one bit, in fact I was astonished at how fluid, poised, skilled, controlled he seemed to be. very good movement and confidence on and of the ball.

              • John says:

                Are you talking about the friendly club matches or Bayern II?

              • away goals says:

                Level of opposition? As far as I know green’s only first team appearance in a competitive match was his champions league cameo.

              • The Garrincha says:

                John, I am mostly talking about 1st team friendlies,
                yes they are friendlies but everyone on the pitch wants to show well and improve their position in the pecking order.
                The quality was good, and JG simply put was not over matched or overwhelmed. He looked as good or better than some regulars.
                You see he possesses some qualities you can’t teach.

              • Expat4455 says:

                LOL, before the start of the Bundesliga season, when Bayern were considering loaning Julian Green out to Hamburg they had some friendlies. Of course they were against poor competition, one of them was and amateur side ever, but Julian came in on one of them in the second half, played with Müller and Kroos. He had a hat trick. the next friendly he had another hat trick. That was when Bayern nixed the loan to Hamburg.

                Also, during the winter break they went to somewhere in the middle east, Doha I think and Julian was with them. They had several friendlies, against the best club from Sudan was one of them, anyway, playing with the big boys Julian had a goal in each match.

          • Expat4455 says:

            ag, you are speaking as an American when you say ………they’re just words, but as an American who lived in Munich until just recently I can tell you, to Germans, Bavarians in particular, what Bayern management says to the press is not “just words”.

            Every year during winter break the Sporting Director of Bayern Munich sits down with writers from Süddeutsche Zeitung, maybe the most respected newspaper in all of Germany, and discusses Bayern football. The first half of the season and what can be expected in the second half. During that interview the Director said: “Julian Green is tipped to break into Pep’s first team plans in the second half of the season”. Trust me ag, these are not “just words”.

            • The Garrincha says:

              Ditto Expat, I didn’t really want to go there, but some Americans do not realize how serious Fussball is to Germany. if they are interested in the slightest, they really mean it.

              P.S. if you respect what Sir Alex Ferguson knows, you can think of people like Herr Hoeness as a good comparison for Bayern and the DFB

          • Umlaut says:

            My reoccurring day dream is that Green has a ’02 Donovan-like impact and brings a certain spark we’re missing.

  8. Andy Los Angeles says:

    Johannsson is good. That’s my insightful comment of the day.

    • The Garrincha says:

      A L A, Iceman pulled a Garrincha today, That’s not good that’s Great!.
      lol, stay hungry my friend.

  9. Luis Esco says:

    Like 70% of the time I see a goal from the Dutch league, theres terrible defending like MLS-when-it-started-type defending.

  10. John says:

    Someone had an interesting stat that Boyd actually has a better goal to minute ratio then Johannsson and had 5 goals in Europa to Johannsson’s 1. How do you rate scoring in the Eredivisie to scoring in the Austrian Bundesliga I don’t know. However it could be interesting to see Boyd up top and Johannsson in that second striker role underneath at least based on current form.

    • Louis Z says:

      I like that combo too but is going to be hard to try when you have Dempsey and Jozy “needing” first team playing time to get in form, that is, according to JK.

    • GW says:

      John,

      The Eredivisie is ranked 8th in Europe. Austria BL is ranked 14th . It’s clear the competition is tougher in Holland but how that affects the Boyd vs AJ comparison is unclear to me. The only real way to do that is put Boyd at AZ and have him replace AJ for a while and see how he does.
      AJ seems to be a better natural scorer than Jozy but is his edition of AZ better than Jozy’s edition?
      Adam Maher, Jozy’s midfield maestro, left for PSV., Regardless put AJ on Sunderland and I’ll bet he doesn’t do much better than Jozy.

      It is not easy to watch a lot of Austrian BL or even the Eredivisie beyond the highlights, which means making comparisons is even harder.

      Then again Boyd’s pecking order competition for the US is with Jozy and EJ.
      Aron’s competition is more with Dempsey.

      All this talk about bad defending in Holland makes me wonder about all the bad defending I see on a lot of goals in the EPL.
      Is that because the defenders are bad or because the attackers are good? The Dutch produce plenty of top flight defenders and top flight attackers and they all start off in the Eredivisie.

      • John says:

        There really are just too many variables. At some point you just have to trust what Klinsmann see’s in those short camps to make the right call.

  11. Dan in New York says:

    Yeah, the defense stinks but that 2nd goal was Globetrotter-type stuff. Great move!

  12. The Garrincha says:

    Wow! How bout that,
    AJ Iceman pulled about half a GARRINCHA to score on his second goal.
    Beautiful move for the beautiful game.

    • The Garrincha says:

      In case you don’t know and were wondering, a full Garrincha would be the attacking player running at goal and two defenders converge, at speed you step on top of the ball and do a 180 degree turn while the other foot finishes the turn while pushing the ball beyond the two to complete a 360. this move creates space, confusion on the part of the defense, and room to shoot/pass etc.
      This move off course was invented/introduced and made popular by one of Pele’s Idols.
      Manuel Francisco Dos Santos, AKA Garrincha!…

  13. MikeG says:

    Numbers and the ball in the penalty area..good things tend to happen. Thanks coach.

    • The Garrincha says:

      Are you really that simple Mike G?, But your welcome if that was sarcasm directed at Garrincha.
      It was absolutely the move he pulled and poise that gave Ice the goal.

  14. Expat4455 says:

    Okay, I will make this last post about Julian Green’s joining the U.S.Nat.Team. Then I will not mention it again until, and if, it happens. If it doesn’t then I will be wrong but I would make an even-odds it will happen soon. If it does happen then I reserve the right to say: “I told you so”.

    Yes, money has a lot to do with it, along with brand promotion, advertising, prestige, etc.
    Items:
    Julian’s father lives in Florida and from what I understand they have a good relationship.
    The Bundesliga and Bayern Munich, although in this case you can’t really separate them, are very interested and active in expanding their brand in North America. You could say they want to outdo the Preemie.
    The Bundesliga signed a 5 year contract with FOX last October in which FOX will broadcast Bundesliga I and II games in North & Latin America (including Brazil) and parts of Asia, including Japan, Indonesia and China (China in english).
    Bayern Munich is opening an office in New York City on 1.April
    The German National Team is loaded with talent at attacking positions, young players too who and now playing for the unders.

    Now, from a USA , and the whole world outside Europe for that matter, marketing viewpoint, what could be better for Germany than having a young super-star attacker playing for Bayern (Bundesliga) and the U.S. National team?

    And this kid is the real deal, he could be the Tiger Woods of Soccer. The bidding between Adidas and Nike alone will probably exceed $50 million.

    But for it to work it has to happen now, before the 2014 world cup, it can’t wait until 2018.

    Okay, I will now restrict myself to other points of soccer interest and disagreeing with biff of course

    • Brett says:

      There’s a zero percent chance you drop this topic.

      I think he will play for USA, but not in Brazil.

      • Expat4455 says:

        Hi Brett, what did you think of Özil’s play today? Do you know he had the assist, dribbled through defenders and made a great pass, on Gotze’s goal in the Germany-Chili friendly? It was the only goal of the game.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Absolutely with you there expat, good stuff.

        You know Brett, the team could really use him in Brazil and beyond.

        I don’t know but it really seems some people have other agendas.
        Rather than seeing the National teams improve, men and womens included.

        • Expat4455 says:

          It’s almost like some lose the point, or what I think is the point, that it is mainly for soccer to become big, REALLY BIG, in the USA, up to and including the Men’s National Team becoming relevant on the world stage. But that gets lost in chat-room behavior, my €&%§) is bigger than yours.

          • The Garrincha says:

            Exactly expat, Good to have you on board.
            It’s astounding some of the softness ignorance of some supporters of both the men and women teams.
            We want to see soccer reach the top, and it’s not by coddling and being ignorant to what is really out there etc.
            The players and powers that be, need to know that we are behind them 100 percent but we expect the best, and by now we should all begin to know the difference.

        • Brett says:

          I never said the team couldn’t use him, I just don’t think he files for the switch and gets approved in enough time to integrate before June. I don’t doubt there are many logical reasons to see it happen from a US supporter standpoint, but it’s Green’s decision not the USSF’s. Right now, talented as he is, he is still a fringe player at his club. I suspect he won’t want to jeopardize that by adding international duty to his plate. It’d make more sense if he were at a small club looking to jump up a rank. He doesn’t exactly need the exposure vein that he seems to be a key part of FCB’s future.

    • John says:

      I think what makes the Green situation so tricky is having to file the one time switch. If he could have played in a friendly, lets be honest it wouldn’t take much to sell everyone on taking him to Brazil. If he was getting first team minutes it would be alot easier to sell as well. However if that happens perhaps the German press starts putting more pressure on the situation. Personally I feel like he is still far from a guarantee but no one else on the US at the moment is playing like a guarantee either.

      • The Garrincha says:

        Now it should be far more clear and apparent why missing the Olympics was a total bust at the time. Absolutely cannot loose these opportunities
        The implications are far greater than winning a medal. This is about a nation rising and coming of age in the international world of soccer.
        Thank goodness the women have held the torch, but they are also slipping a bit, in part because much of the fan base is complacent or placated and do not realize how serious the rest of the world takes this.

        P.S. this is why for the Women not getting to play Germany in the Algarve cup final is NOT good.

      • The Garrincha says:

        John, between you and me, I’ll let you in on a little secret.
        Money is the best young American player I have ever seen bar none.
        Adu, and all the hype respectfully was a joke in comparison.
        and Adu ain’t half bad.

        • John says:

          Where did this Money nickname come from?

          • The Garrincha says:

            John, to answer your question.
            Money has been a general nickname
            given by New Yorkers since the 70’s/80’s,
            Like the same way we say boss and homey and so on.
            Like, Yo Money,
            Hey Money,
            what’s up Money? etc.
            I also thought one could ask the question,
            what’s the color of money?
            And that’s your answer, Cha Ching!…

        • Stew says:

          Garrincha, it bother’s me to call him an American player. The American system had 1% in his development. Sorry to be a downer but I am afraid that in 2018 we have a team full of guys who did not develop their game here in the US.
          Poster’s please don’t start with the “well if he has an American parent” stuff. I understand. But as someone who has spent 40 years trying to develop player here in the US it just feels a little artificial

          JK was supposed to create a system for developing players. Granted he has been busier doing other things but he hasn’t done shite to working on player development

    • Gary Page says:

      Why are you and others wasting so much time on a subject like this that is based on pure speculation? You might as well through darts or read tea leaves to make a prediction on something like this.

  15. Expat4455 says:

    An important note, at least to those here like Brett. I said I will no longer talk about a certain prospect’s joining the USMNT before Brazil until, or if, it happens. That was limited to a particular action. It did not mean that I would no longer talk about that certain player in other areas.

  16. Alex says:

    Would like to see updates from players from our group dtage world cup oppenents on how they sre doing.

  17. Michael says:

    Before we get too excited, we should remember that Heracles had Twelve Labors in the mid-week. Clearly fatigue played a role in AZ’s success.

    (The Dutch have some of the best club names: Ajax, Heracles, and my favorite, 2nd-division Achilles ’29.)

  18. Darwin says:

    Comments are a little schizophrenic…today…