The Swedish National Team announced their roster for the 2012 European Championships this week and Sounders FC defender Adam Johansson was quietly left off the squad.
Johansson was always something of a longshot to make the squad as Mikael Lustig and Andreas Granqvist have solidified the right back position and knew that his chances were slim when he was left off the team that played a February 29 friendly against Croatia.
“The guys he took out for the last game, that was almost the team he was going to play. Since I wasn’t in that team, I thought it would take a lot to get into the team,” Johansson said. “We’ll see what happens though. Anything can happen.”
Johansson came to the Sounders in hopes of impressing National Team coach Erik Hamren and looked to be on the right path after a 3-1 win over Toronto FC in the season opener on March 17.
But the 29-year-old defender suffered a hamstring strain that has limited him to three of Seattle’s nine matches since. While the injury may not have been what kept Johansson out of the team for the Euros, it certainly didn’t help his cause.
The silver lining to that cloud is that Johansson will now have more opportunity to groom his relationship with Mauro Rosales, a pairing that has already shown flare in the attack up the right side.
“He’s a great player and he’s easy to play with. I just make my runs and I get the ball,” Johansson said of Rosales. “The last game felt really good. The first half felt good and we had a lot of offense.”
In his absence, Zach Scott played masterfully, with the Sounders going 4-1-1 while allowing just one goal in six matches. With Johansson now becoming a more regular fixture, the attack is opening up much more and he is getting more comfortable game-by-game.
“Since the beginning, I felt really good with this team. The more games you play, the more you learn,” Johansson said. “Now I feel like I’m a part of the team.”
Johansson and the Sounders will meet the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in the first meeting of the Cascadia Cup. The match will be Seattle’s first at BC Place in Vancouver. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 pm with TV coverage on KONG 6/16 and the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.