With the collective explosion of Jozy Altidore on Wednesday night – and rightly so – the buried story happens to be another of great promise.
It’s completely understandable, given the nature of the comeback and the absolute gem of a performance Altidore put forth.
However, a story with just as much potential for future impact is that of Aron Johansson’s debut.
He only featured for 27 minutes, coming on for Eddie Johnson when the game was tied. And while he didn’t have a direct impact on either of the United States’ final two goals, he proved to everyone why he and Jozy could be a heck of a partnership in the coming years.
Johannsson showed outstanding energy, great vision, wonderful pace, and a knack for finding scoring opportunities.
Altidore recognized that after the match. He said, “Aron, over the past six months I was with him at AZ, you saw in training his ability to see passes and score goals and beat people so effortlessly. He’s such a smart player and I’m so happy he chose the U.S. I think he’ll be an asset going forward and I think he’ll help us a lot.”
It’s a bit ironic that the two could form a formidable strike partnership in the future, given that Johannsson is playing his club ball at AZ Alkmaar, charged with replacing Altidore following Jozy’s move to Sunderland.
But given Johannsson’s ability to distribute and his outstanding first touch, it’s more than possible that we could see Johannsson playing as a secondary striker behind Altidore in the years to come.
Jurgen Klinsmann also gave the Alabama product his endorsement after the match. “That’s why I think everybody now understands why I tried to convince him to play for the United States and not for Iceland, and therefore we’re really thrilled to have him on our side and go forward with Aron.”
While 27 minutes certainly isn’t enough to judge a player, given the hype it’s something that has to be causing USMNT fans to salivate at the thought of the two forming an attacking bond.
Now comes the natural next question: will we see Johannsson in the Hex in three weeks?