Aron Johannsson’s first U.S. start not perfect, but promising

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KANSAS CITY – Aron Johannsson wasn’t much of a dead-eye shot in his first U.S. start, but the young Icelandic-American did enough right that he made manager Jurgen Klinsmann look good for starting him Friday at Sporting Park.

It really was something to build on for the 22-year old striker who is still so new to the international game.

Yes, at some point a striker has to score goals. The Alabama-born man had three good chances to score and failed to hit the target with any of them. So it was something of a mixed bag for young Johannsson, but all in all it was quite promising as he looks to wedge his way into a collection of strikers that is already full of quality.

Johannsson protected possession like his life depended on it, no easy job when so many of his touches were in the transition, where he held balls against two or more defenders while midfielders caught up with the play. His positioning was smart and touches were sharp on that target-man play.

Other elements of Johannsson’s game have a bit of maturity about them, too. For instance, he seems to understands where and when to pressure defenders, and when the absence of accompanying support will render it a lost cause.

His passing was well-aimed and occasionally creative.

About that faulty shooting? That will come around. Clearly he knows how to locate goal; he has 10 goals already across all competitions for Alkmaar. Just getting into those spots was good enough for a guy who has been in the player pool only about six weeks. Klinsmann seems to feel the same way:

“He created chances for himself and that’s what you want to see with a striker, that he knows where the ball will end up,” Klinsmann said. “He missed those chances, but he was there. That’s good to see. In the second half he ran out of gas a little bit, and that’s why we subbed him out.”

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