Eddie Johnson showed on Friday what the Sounders have known for months – he is back in the scoring form that earned him a regular spot with the US National Team and a contract with Fulham in England back in 2008.
His two goals in a 2-1 win for the US over Antigua and Barbuda on Friday propelled him back into the spotlight of the US National Team and on Monday, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid had praise for his high-scoring forward.
“It’s great for Eddie, great for our club and great for the US. It speaks well for the kind of year he’s had,” Schmid said.
Also excited for the moment was Johnson’s strike partner in Seattle, Fredy Montero, who noted that his performance in Antigua was nothing different than what he’s shown all season for the Sounders.
“It’s good for the team. He’s not changing anything. He’s scoring goals here and he went to the National Team and he’s scoring goals too,” Montero said. “We know those kind of players always help the team. Hopefully when he comes back he will help us keep going to the playoffs and make it farther than the past few years.”
That help probably won’t come until Sunday, though, as Johnson is a likely candidate to start for the US on Tuesday when they host Guatemala with a chance to clinch a spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, which begins in February of 2013 as they vie for a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“I don’t see him being available to us in a starting situation, but maybe he’s somebody who can come off the bench,” Schmid said. “We have to look at the playoffs.”
Even so, Johnson will fly back to Seattle on a chartered flight with Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman on a flight organized by Seattle’s opponent on Wednesday.
“It’s great for the clubs to cooperate like that. I think that’s just good sportsmanship and fair play,” Schmid said.
Tuesday’s match against Guatemala is scheduled for a 4 pm Pacific Time start, with television coverage on ESPN2. The Sounders match against Real Salt Lake is slated for a 7 pm start on Wednesday. It will be televised nationally on NBC Sports, as well as locally on KONG 6/16 and Root Sports.