Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eddie Johnson gets the call for two critical upcoming World Cup qualifying matches

By Money Mike

After almost two years since his last international cap, Eddie Johnson finds himself back in the ranks as he gets called up to the U.S. men's national team for two huge World Cup qualifying matches against Antigua and Barbuda this Friday and against Guatemala next Tuesday. EJ's last cap for the U.S. came on October 13, 2010 against Colombia. Since then, his form began dipping during his spell in Europe and he eventually fell out of the picture. On Friday, Johnson sent out a tweet saying that he was called into the squad, but we didn't officially find out until yesterday. Johnson has appeared in 26 matches and scored 14 goals this season for the Seattle Sounders.

Again, it has felt like a long time since we've last seen EJ in a USA jersey and I'm pretty sure everybody was aware of the season why that was the case and why most of them hated the trade this past offseason that sent Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact. Back then, I did say that I was gonna keep my thought on the trade to myself and see what happens, but now I'll tell you that I thought it was a good move all along. I knew they made the right move, because as hard working as Fucito was, I didn't think he was that good and Fredy Montero needed a true stike partner and it did take a while for the Johnson-Montero partnership to click, but these two have combined for 27 goals this season. I'm really glad Johnson got called up after a terrific season with the Sounders. He deserved it.

Rest of the team:

As happy as I am to see EJ back on the roster, with these two upcoming WCQ matches, you need to stick with your big guys. Guys that have come into the ranks and put together some solid performances day in and day out. I think the U.S. should stick with the same backline that started against Jamaica in the last qualifying match with the Cameron-Bocanegra partnership in the center of defense. Fabian Johnson has been solid at left back. It's gonna be interesting to see who's gonna get the start in the midfield because Jose Torres has been left out of the squad and Sacha Kljestan was recalled along with Michael Bradley, so I think Klinsmann will probably switch things around in the center of midfield. Last game I think the U.S. went with a 4-2-3-1 formation, but by the look of things, they might go 4-4-2 with diamond look to it which means somebody will be left out of the starting 11, but who? Of course Torres is not in the squad, which was no surprise because he sucked last match against Jamaica. Jermaine Jones put in a good performance. Graham Zusi was very impressive last match. And Danny Williams also put in a solid performance in a holding midfield role. So we'll see what Klinsmann will do.

There were complaints about Jozy Altidore being left out of the squad because he is having a terrific season for Alkmaar Zaanstreek. He's currently tied to the league lead with eight goals scored. But to hear Jurgen Klinsmann say that it had to do with his attitude, you know, his frame of mind going into camp just goes to show you nobody's safe. Alan Gordon was sort of an odd call up. We still have yet to see Joe Corona in a WCQ match. He's made two friendly appearances and that's it.

The match on Friday away to Antigua and Barbuda I think will determine USA's fate going into their home match on Tuesday against Guatemala. I mean, a lot of things could happen here. A win will surely boost their chances of advancing to the final round of qualifying. Right now they're in a three way tie with Jamaica and Guatemala in the group table with 7 points. I think USA will advance to the final round of qualifying after it's all said and done.

U.S. squad by position (caps/goals):


Brad Guzan (Aston Villa; England) - 20/0

Tim Howard (Everton; England) - 81/0

Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) - 6/0


Carlos Bocanegra (Racing de Santander; Spain) - 107/13

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City; England) - 8/0

Edgar Castillo (Tijuana; Mexico) - 7/0

Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96; Germany) - 85/2

Maurice Edu (Stoke City; England) - 40/1

Clarence Goodson (Brondby IF; Denmark) - 32/3

Fabian Johnson (1899 Hoffenheim; Germany) - 9/0

Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland; Denmark) - 14/0


Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) - 23/1

Michael Bradley (AS Roma; Italy) - 69/10

Joe Corona (Tijuana; Mexico) - 2/0

Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04; Germany) - 24/2

Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht; Belgium) - 35/4

Danny Williams (1899 Hoffenheim; Germany) - 8/0

Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) - 4/1


Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur; England) - 89/28

Herculez Gomez (Santos Laguna; Mexico) - 16/5

Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes) - 0/0

Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC) - 42/12

Projected Lineup:


          Cameron          Bocanegra            
                           Cherundolo                                                 F. Johnson

                                Zusi                                                          Kljestan

Dempsey           Gomez

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