Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson has made some major boo-boos this year. There’s no point trying to hide it.
Going forward, the U.S. under-23 simply cannot spill a ball, concede the soft goal or give one away (like Saturday’s) in the playoffs. Everyone knows it.
Still, no one around Chicago sounds too beat up over the ridiculous goal Johnson gifted last night, the early concession in a 2-1 win over Columbus.
It certainly helped that Chicago won. And Johnson assisted his case by managing the match well from there, making a couple of quality saves and controlling his penalty area with a calm, professional presence, seemingly unshaken by the wobbly moment.
Besides all that, Chicago doesn’t really have any choice. Backup Paolo Tornaghi, 24, has never been a starter, not here nor previously in Italy. He has three games of MLS experience, so he’s not the guy who is seriously pushing Johnson for the starting spot. Nor is Jay Nolly, third on the list.
So, keeping Johnson’s spirits high seems critical for the Fire, a team performing well across all areas – and a threat to any team in the coming playoffs.
Here’s what Fire manager Frank Klopas said about Johnson and last night’s bad moment:
You know what? The thing is you can see the reaction from the guys. In games you’re going to make mistakes and now it’s like the next play, how do you react from them? And I thought he was positive. He made some big saves in the end. He made a couple big saves and I thought he responded well. In the game you’re going to make mistakes. I think the important thing is how you react to them and you learn from them. I think as a group we felt like there was a lot of game left to be played. Look, everyone is going to make mistakes and I think that the team was very positive. I was too. We just have to move on, knowing there’s a lot of game left to be played. So I thought that Sean responded very well and made some key saves in the end.”