Johnson nets All-Star winner
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
Eddie Johnson comes off the bench and scores the game-winner against Chelsea FC in the 2012 MLS All-Star game in Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA - Eddie Johnson has been no stranger to the back of the net this season with eight goals in 17 league appearances.
On Wednesday night at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, he continued that torrid pace with a stoppage-time winner in the MLS All-Star Game as the All-Stars topped Chelsea 3-2 in the league's first win over international competition since a 3-2 win over West Ham United in 2008.
While the goal happened one minute into stoppage time, it was created through communication in the first half of the match.
"Kyle Beckerman and I were watching the first half and talking about getting the ball higher up the pitch and getting between the two center backs and looking for that one-time ball through," Johnson said.
Playing the final 30 minutes of the match after subbing on for another goal-scorer in San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, Johnson combined with Beckerman up the left side for the late goal. Chris Pontius laid it back to Beckerman who played the Sounders forward in behind the Chelsea defense. He cut the ball to the middle, then took a right-footed shot from 23 yards out. It took a deflection off of Chelsea defender David Luiz and bounced into the open net and the MLS side celebrated a 3-2 victory.
"When I got the through ball, David Luiz was trying to force me one way but I was trying to get it to my strong foot," Johnson said. "When I got it to my right foot, I had enough time to see the far post. I was aiming for the far post, but he stuck his foot out … sometimes they say you have to create your own luck."
The All-Stars got out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Wondolowski in the 21st minute. Chelsea defender John Terry evened it up in the 32nd minute, then the defending UEFA Champions League and FA Cup champions earned the lead on a goal from Frank Lampard in the 58th minute.
Pontius scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute, then Johnson put away the game winner one minute into stoppage time.
Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso started the match in a midfield that included 2009 MVP Landon Donovan and 2011 MVP Dwayne De Rosario on either side of him and David Beckham in front of him. He played the first 56 minutes of the match before being relieved by Beckerman.
Alonso and Johnson will return to Seattle on Thursday and rejoin the team for their match on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
"It was fun. It was good to get out there with some of the guys that you play against that are rivals and some of the guys you've had hard battles with during the season. We put all that aside and we all had one common goal," Johnson said. "It was a fun three days with the boys. All the amenities in Philadelphia and the team camaraderie, it was amazing. But it's back to business now and I'm looking forward to the game against Colorado."