Eddie Johnson loves to compete, and he is at his best when he is playing on a consistent basis. So missing three of Seattle’s first nine matches across all competitions has been a difficult proposition for the 29-year-old forward as international duty and injury kept him off the field for the Sounders.
Now back and rested after missing last weekend's match against the New England Revolution, Johnson is ready to help the Sounders to their first league win of the 2013 season.
“It’s about rhythm. I have success when I have rhythm,” he said. “For me, right now, it’s all about getting my rhythm back and the team getting our rhythm.”
Perhaps making it more difficult for Johnson to watch from the sideline has been Seattle’s record in the three matches he’s missed. While the team has struggled a bit to score early in the season, those woes are amplified in matches he hasn’t played. In MLS matches, they have been shut out by both the San Jose Earthquakes and New England Revolution while in their first match against Santos Laguna, Johnson rested an injury and the Sounders fell 1-0.
“It’s been frustrating not being out there with the team and being out there and not being 100-percent. But I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to the game,” he said.
Like Johnson, forward Obafemi Martins and midfielder Brad Evans both looked closer to a return to the field as well.
Martins has played in two matches for the Sounders so far this year, as a substitute against the Portland Timbers on March 16 and as a starter against Real Salt Lake on March 30. However, he has since been limited by a knee injury. Evans has twice suffered a calf strain this year and has played in two of Seattle’s five regular season matches.
On Thursday, they all appeared ready to play in Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“It was great today because we had everyone out here,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “This was the first time we’ve had all the players out and participating in training. It was a good feeling. Some of the things we worked on today I thought were good. The timing was off a little bit, obviously, because the people are a little bit different, but it was enjoyable.”
Throughout the early part of the season, the Sounders have stressed patience in assuring that a turnaround was just around the corner. Now, with so many of their players easing back to the field, that turnaround seems imminent.
“The most important thing is that we know what we’re trying to create and with due time, everything is going to play out in our favor,” Johnson said. “We’ve got another opportunity with a healthier team this weekend to put things right.”
Saturday’s match kicks off at 3 p.m. PT, with television coverage on KONG 6/16 and the radio broadcast on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.