After years of international exile, the Seattle Sounders striker has worked his way back into the fold and is contributing goals.SEATTLE – Seattle is used to watching Eddie Johnson score. The forward has four goals in eight games for the Seattle Sounders this year. On Tuesday, over 40,000 in CenturyLink Field watched Johnson score again – this time in red, white and blue instead of rave green.
In a World Cup qualifier, Johnson capped a 2-0 U.S. win over Panama with the second goal early in the second half. Jozy Altidore gave the Americans the lead. Then, in the 53rd minute, Geoff Cameron hit a scorching 40-yard ball that found Johnson separating from his marker, Carlos Rodriguez. Johnson tucked it around the goalkeeper with his left foot.
“He'll always find a way to score a goal,” Brad Evans said.
Evans is a teammate on the Sounders and the U.S. national team. The pair formed the right side for the United States, with Evans in defense and Johnson in midfield. Once Jürgen Klinsmann disclosed the lineup, Evans says, he and Johnson sat down in the team hotel and chatted through movements in hypothetical scenarios.
“I think tonight we were on the same page,” Evans said. “He put in the work tonight, which is awesome. It makes my job that much easier when I know he's going to be there. He's got my back. He's talking to me all the time.”
Johnson plays as a striker for the Sounders. Klinsmann, however, uses him for an added goal threat from midfield. The 29-year-old has scored three goals in this World Cup qualifying cycle, starting with a brace against Antigua and Barbuda when he played on the left. Prior to that, Johnson had fallen off the national team roster when he couldn't find regular club minutes in Europe with Fulham and on loan.
“Eddie's had a renaissance of sorts since Antigua,” Tim Howard said. “It's just great to see him back. To score at home and to take the ball down the way he did and finish it was really classy."
Johnson now has 15 goals for the United States, tied for 10th all time.
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