Sounders' Eddie Johnson happy he helped, happy to be home

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comAugust 1, 2013 

Back at Seattle Sounders FC training Wednesday, forward Eddie Johnson said his call to the U.S. national team was well timed.

“I think for me it was good to get away because it was a bit frustrating for me in previous games,” Johnson said. “So, to get in the locker room and get that fight and that hunger … and that winning mentality, I want to bring that back from the (national team to) Seattle.”

Asked whether those qualities are missing from the Sounders locker room, Johnson said: “We know how it is here. There are a lot of expectations … You lose one game and sometimes it’s like the end of the world here. … And you know how it is: When you aren’t winning, no one’s happy; but when you’re winning, everyone is happy. So it’s good to see the guys get two good results when I was gone, because … guys’ heads were pretty down.”

Johnson left when the Sounders were coming off back-to-back losses at Vancouver and San Jose.

In the two weeks since, they have played Colorado to a draw and defeated Chivas USA to improve to 8-7-4.

Johnson, meanwhile, reported to a Team USA that was halfway through its 6-0 run to the CONCACAF Gold Cup title.

He scored in each of the knockout wins over El Salvador and Honduras before earning a medal in Sunday’s title-game triumph over Panama.

“It was well worth the time spent away,” Johnson said.

Johnson is back at least until World Cup qualifying resumes in September. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t say he would call, but Johnson is confident.

Johnson has four goals for the Sounders, third on the club behind Obafemi Martins (6) and Lamar Neagle (5).

He said one reason goals might be easier on the U.S. team is the quality of the passes he receives there.

“You’re playing with better players — that’s the reality of it,” he said.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid agreed that national team quality is better, and patience is a virtue.

“Quality service is certainly part of it,” Schmid said. “But at the end of the day, you’ve just got to keep working. Nobody’s out there trying to cross the ball and saying, ‘Well, I’m going to hit a bad cross right now.’ Everybody’s trying to hit a good cross, and we’ve got to keep making our runs and doing our things, and Eddie’s been doing that.”

ADDED TIME

Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso called it “pretty great” to be included among 10 “inactive All-Stars” named Wednesday by MLS. … Schmid doesn’t know which goalkeepers will be available Saturday when FC Dallas visits, but he said if No. 1 keeper Michael Gspurning (forearm) is healthy enough to be a reserve, he’s probably also healthy enough to start.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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