Saturday, January 22, 2011
Fire GK Johnson nets 1st cap in U.S. draw
By Charlie Corr
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson played in the second half of the U.S. National Team's 1-1 draw on Saturday against Chile at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The end result hardly was the top priority in this international friendly as former Fire and current U.S. head coach Bob Bradley has spent the past three weeks evaluating other talent across the country in the national team's recent camp.
Bradley made six substitutions during the night, including the addition of the 21-year-old Fire goalkeeper, who replaced Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando for the second half.
"We had seven guys get their first cap tonight, so that's always positive," Bradley said. "When you have a young group of guys in camp, at the end of everything you want to put it to the test, and it gives you a good picture of where these guys are."
After a scoreless first half, the energy picked up in the second. In less than 10 minutes, Johnson faced his first pivotal moment on the U.S. squad.
In the 53rd minute, Chile's Esteban Paredes had a scissor kick goal to give his side a 1-0 lead. Paredes' opportunity opened up when U.S. defender Marvell Wynne aggressively attempted to disrupt Felipe Seymour's cross from the right side. But Wynne could not get in the way of the pass, and Paredes netted home a stylish goal.
There was little Johnson could do by the time the ball got to Paredes, who was the only player on both rosters to play during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Johnson made a diving attempt, but Chile garnered the 1-0 lead.
However, the U.S. made a push on the offensive end. And in the 75th minute, Teal Bunbury of Sporting Kansas City netted the equalizer with a penalty kick. The New York Red Bulls' Juan Agudelo drew a foul in the penalty box following a give-and-go with Alejandro Bedoya in the 73rd minute.
Bunbury directed his shot at the lower right corner of the net -- the opposite direction of Chile goalkeeper Paulo Garces' diving guess.
Defensively, the U.S. had some shaky sequences throughout the match. But overall, Johnson was not tested a great deal during the second half. Paredes did head in another shot past Johnson, but he was clearly offside on the play.
Next up for the U.S. is a Feb. 9 match against Egypt in Cairo.