Sean Johnson was one Cyle Larin short of a clean sheet on Sunday. The consensus holds that New York City FC were the better side for much of that grand opening at Orlando City Stadium; unfortunately, it was Johnson’s opposite number, Joe Bendik, who stole the headlines with a series of timely saves.
But to hear Johnson tell it at NYCFC Media Day on Thursday, the 27 year old Georgia native is exactly where he wants and needs to be. Here’s what we learned from New York City’s new netminder, in his own words.
On leaving Chicago for the Five Boroughs:
I’m extremely happy where I ended up. Its an environment for me that’s challenging in a good way. It’s pushing me to become a better player. Its pushing me in my career to do things that I haven’t yet— one of those things is winning.
We’ve had some success over the years, but Chicago hadn’t really established a winning culture, and I think that’s apparent here, and its great to come and be a part of that.
For me, I think there’s no issue with how I ended up where I ended up. I’m just happy to be here.
On New York City goalkeeping coach Rob Vartughian:
He’s a fantastic guy. We’ve developed a pretty good relationship so far, but [I’m] definitely lucky to have a goalkeeper coach like Rob.
You have to be on the same page and you have to trust each other. I think we’re definitely looking forward to improving my goalkeeping. You always look to better yourself and take your game to that next level, and I believe he has a lot of things that he’s brought to the table already that will help my game to get where it needs to be.
On integrating so many new signings into the squad:
Even if we had a shorter time together that most teams in preseason, with some players coming in at different points in time, I think the mentality is the same, right? The mentality never changes, or what our objective is. Our system is set in place and we train every single day. So whether it’s a week you have together, or two weeks, or a month, as professional athletes you have to be able to pick up things quickly, and I think those guys did a fantastic job.
On what it means to have a “winning culture”:
It’s gotta be your mentality. Everything you to has got to be with the end result in mind, and that’s winning games and winning championships. If you’re not in the business of winning, you shouldn’t be a professional athlete.
For me, everybody here has a passion to win, and being surrounded by a team full of guys like that is infectious. Everybody feeds off of everybody, and that energy is really important.
Obviously, after the Orlando game, not getting the result on the road, I think there was a feeling of not necessarily extreme disappointment, because that’s not the right word, but the energy, you could tell everybody wanted something out of the game. Its important for guys to feel that way.