It’s been a looooong few weeks since New York City FC’s beloved #1, Sean Johnson, was selected for the USMNT’s 23-man Gold Cup squad. But alas, the Georgia native’s international detour has come to an end ahead of the Gold Cup’s knockout stage. And while it was nice to see a Bronx Blue represent the good ol’ Stars & Stripes, his return to the Five Boroughs couldn’t have come at a better time.
Since being selected in June, NYCFC have had to play two games without Johnson’s services and have instead been forced to make do with longtime understudy Eirik Johansen. The results, unfortunately, have been mixed.
Johansen’s first start came against expansion side Minnesota United on June 29th. The Boys in Blue looked far superior to the meandering Loons, winning in a tidy 3-1 contest despite a Johansen howler that led to the opening goal. The Norwegian's aptitude would once again come under fire following City’s 3-2 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 5th ahead of the international break. It’s unfair to completely pin City’s defeat to Vancouver on Johansen (I’m looking at you, Fred), but I think it’s a fair assessment to say that in comparison to Sean Johnson, he looks all too skittish and flat-footed to be considered a viable option in between the sticks.
It should also be noted that Toronto will be without stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore when they visit the Bronx on Wednesday— the duo have been called to join their United State brethren at the Gold Cup. Hey, thanks again, Bruce Arena. That news ought to have NYCFC licking their chops.
We at Hudson River Blue are happy to say it: welcome back, SeanJohn!