Johnson returns to national team for Gold Cup

The American forward was brought into the USMNT squad to face El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals.

The U.S. National Team rolled through the Group Stage in the CONCACAF Gold Cup with victories over Belize, Cuba and Costa Rica. Now entering the knockout rounds on Sunday with their quarterfinal match against El Salvador at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is seeking reinforcements to help them reach their goal of their first Gold Cup title since 2007.

Among the four additional call-ups is Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson, meaning he will miss the match on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids and, if the U.S. reaches the final, the match against Chivas USA on July 28.

Johnson has four goals in 12 matches with Seattle in 2013, but missed two matches in June for national team duty in World Cup qualifying rounds and since his return has been working to find the right chemistry and cohesion with the rest of Seattle’s attack.

“It’s difficult when you’re in an out a lot,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “But it’s also a situation where you can’t really say no when the national team calls.”

The call-up comes at a difficult time for Sounders FC, as the club is dealing with injuries all over their roster. All three goalkeepers under contract will miss Saturday’s match with injuries. As will midfielders Steve Zakuani and Shalrie Joseph, while defender Djimi Traore and midfielder Brad Evans are both recovering from injuries suffered in last week’s loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

With injuries, suspensions and international duty all affecting Seattle at different times in the season, Schmid has not been able to start the group that the club put together to start the season.

“I feel sad for the fans because we haven’t really been able to put the group together for a sustained period of time to see how they can respond,” Schmid said. “The thing I will promise the fans is that we are going to come out and roll up our sleeves and we’re going to fight and battle like mad on Saturday afternoon. Because they deserve it and our team deserves it.”

Johnson is joined by LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, Sporting Kansas City defender and San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon. Those four replace forwards Jack McInerney and Herculez Gomez and defenders Oguchi Onyewu and Corey Ashe, though Gonzalez isn’t scheduled to join the team until the semifinal round.

Johnson has 15 goals for the U.S. in 53 caps and scored in the last Gold Cup that he appeared in, scoring against Trinidad and Tobago in the 2007 tournament.

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