Aptly chosen as the US #9, the “Iceman” Aron Johannsson has the chance to be something special for the United States national team.
Like Julian Green, Johannsson is of dual nationality and was forced to make a choice between his country of birth and – in Aron’s case – Iceland. And like Julian Green, Johannsson returned to his roots.
His decision was taken as an insult to many back in Iceland, claiming he has “no link to soccer in the United States at all” and “there is no logic behind Aron relinquishing his Icelandic soccer identity.”
Another member of the “new guard” Klinsmann is phasing into the USMNT fold, Johannsson is an winger bursting with speed and precision, and he can – on his best day – make any defender look silly.
He made plenty of defenders appear foolish this past club season, bombing the Dutch Eredivisie and helping his club AZ Alkmaar (Jozy Altidore’s old club) to an eighth-place finish with a monster tally of 17 goals and six assists, plus eight more goals between the Europa League and KNVB Beker.
Johannsson is in the fold to not only play in Brazil, but to start on the wing, and could be a vital source of creativity and goals should he find the form that made his Dutch league season such a success.
Full name: Aron Jóhannsson
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Position: Forward, Winger
Club: AZ Alkmaar
Best moment in a US shirt: With few true moments to choose from, one stands out above all the others. Johannsson grabbed his debut goal in stunning fashion, securing a wild comeback over Panama to give the United States a 3-2 win and sending the country out of qualifying on a high note. The goal not only sunk Panama in the match, but sunk their World Cup hopes as well, and gave new life to Mexico who – needing Panama to drop points – saw the US come back from 2-1 down in stoppage time.
Starter or squad player at World Cup? This is a mystery at this point. It would appear Johannsson is in a direct battle with Ale Bedoya, who got the start on the wing against Azerbaijan just a few days ago. However, with two friendlies still to go there’s plenty of time for Johannsson to grab the spot that we admittedly have no real indication of exactly who is leading. Either way, he figures to be a vital part of the attack in Brazil, and will no doubt see the pitch.