Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
August 25, 2013, 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: ESPN2; KIRO 97.3 FM
Eddie Johnson has a simple philosophy when it comes to opposing fans. It’s the same when it comes to anyone doubting his ability to perform.
“The only way you can silence them is to score a goal,” Johnson said this week.
When it comes time for the Cascadia Cup derby, the Sounders FC striker hasn’t been shy about silencing the crowds supporting Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Portland Timbers. In eight matches against Vancouver and Portland he has five goals and one assist, with three goals coming in four matches against the Timbers.
That extra level of derby excitement was evident in a 1-1 draw with the Timbers on March 16 when Johnson scored in the 13th minute to give Seattle the 1-0 lead.
“I think in my career I’ve always fed off adversity,” Johnson said. “Growing up and not having a lot – for me, I’ve always been a fighter. I think different people have different motivations in life and I think that’s one of my things.”
That attitude is how he has retained success after being written off by many when his venture into Europe with Fulham didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. Counted out by many, he worked his way back onto the field in Seattle and within eight months was back with the U.S. National Team where he now has become a staple as the U.S. prepares for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Another element that sparks Johnson to his top level has been big crowds. In five matches that he has played where the crowds have exceeded 40,000, he has four goals.
Like a kid in a candy store, he is all smiles when he walks out onto the field and basks in the booming sound of the expanded capacity crowds. On Sunday, with over 66,500 fans expected in attendance and a national television audience on ESPN2, he is looking forward to another opportunity to shine.
“This is what makes the game fun and exciting to watch. It’s the atmosphere that every professional soccer player dreams of playing in front of,” said Johnson. “It shows how big soccer has grown in America and how big soccer really is in the Pacific Northwest. This is as big as it gets.”