Sean Johnson

Zlatan suspended two games for violent conduct

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Superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s misdeeds couldn’t avoid retroactive discipline, and the LA Galaxy man is set for a pair of matches on the sidelines.

Ibrahimovic got in a tangle with New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson last weekend, and appeared to put his hands around the backstop’s throat.

[ MORE: Man City to lure Rodri? ]

Johnson hit the deck, holding his head, bringing about a lengthy back-and-forth.

Major League Soccer’s Disciplinary Committee announced a two-match ban for Ibrahimovic late Friday, meaning the big Swede will miss matches against last-place Colorado and 18th place Orlando City.

Ibrahimovic was suspended a game last season for skipping the MLS All-Star Game.

USMNT-Iceland preview: Goalkeepers, stability, youth, Gudjohnsen, sheep eyes

Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images
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The United States men’s national team looks to continue to stabilize its footing as a program when its youth-heavy squad takes on Iceland on Sunday in California.

After losing five of six in depressing fashion, the Yanks picked up four of six points in their first two matches of World Cup qualifying.

Now Jurgen Klinsmann will look to keep the ship steady despite a roster featuring a majority of unproven players (at the international level).

[ VIDEO: Zardes, Parker talk USMNT camp ahead of friendlies ]

The USMNT hasn’t played Iceland since 1994, and has a 2-2-2 record in competitions dating back to 1955.

It’s Iceland’s only match-up of the international window, and comes on the heels of a 1-0 defeat of Finland and a 2-1 loss to UAE.

This is far from a full-strength squad for coaches Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson, who travel with 18 players. We won’t see Gylfi Sigurðsson (Spurs), Kolbeinn Sigþórsson (Nantes) or Alfreð Finnbogason (Olympiakos).

Former Bolton, Chelsea and Barcelona man Eidur Gudjohnsen will be in the mix for Iceland. Now with Shijiazhuang Ever Bright of the Chinese Super League, he’ll bring 83 caps and 25 goals to the match. Well-rated 20-year-old PSV Eindhoven center back Hjörtur Hermannsson will also be in the fold.

[ MORE: Klinsmann explains roster: “Make a point” ]

Matt Miazga left camp to get a medical with Chelsea, and he’s signed for the Premier League giants. In his place is Michael Orozco.

PST’s Andy Edwards has a nice post on five players with plenty to gain from this match — and Friday’s match-up with Canada — but we’ll proffer another thing to watch.

With Brad Guzan a backup at Aston Villa and Tim Howard growing older, three MLS keepers can make a statement. RBNY’s Luis Robles hasn’t been capped in ages, while Chicago’s Sean Johnson has yet to make a dent on the USMNT pitch. Could San Jose’s David Bingham get a look?

USMNT’s Icelandic-Alabaman, Aron Johannsson, won’t be playing in this match, but offered a rundown of views on Iceland to USSoccer.comAlso, sheep eyes:

I didn’t travel much around Iceland growing up, but people really like going to the mountains and enjoying the hot springs. You can’t find them many other places. I don’t like traditional Icelandic food, which includes sheep eyes, ears and tongues. Mostly just old people eat it. Instead, I grew up eating the same stuff as everyone like chicken and fish.

Oh, the “old people” of Iceland! So zany with their sheep eyes!

U.S. Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

DEFENDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (unattached), Perry Kitchen (unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 4-3 Chicago Fire (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Drogba. Drogba. Drogba. I considered writing the name of Didier Drogba 100 times in this space, but he didn’t score 100 goals in the Montreal Impact’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago Fire, the team that tried to sign Drogba this summer before he eventually landed with the Impact. Sadly, the Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend only scored three on the night to become the first player in Major League Soccer history to bag a hat trick within his first two games. Fitting that a player of his quality and resumé would be the one to do it, isn’t it? To be clear, it wasn’t all rosy for L’Impact, who were an unmitigated defensive disaster without Defender of the Year candidate Laurent Ciman (international duty). The Fire scored thee incredibly soft goals, which is a worrying sign for an Impact side currently playing for their playoff lives. Ciman won’t be back for two more games, either, as he serves a two-game suspension. (The Fire defense was even more dysfunctional, but an amazing performance by Sean Johnson limited the damage to four.)

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 27 ]

Three moments that mattered

27′ — Drogba bags his first MLS goal — Didier Drogba: certified beast. So what if he’s legend is 37 years old? This man could (and maybe will) score goals well into his 40s. For now, let’s just admire the way he shrugs off Eric Gehrig’s full-body challenge, and the silky-smooth touch, turn and finish (WATCH HERE).

61′ — Drogba gets no. 2, equalizes at 3-3 — Again, say it with me, “So what if he’s 37 years old? Drogba is going to score buckets and buckets of goals in MLS.” The league is simply more fun with arguably the best striker of his generation playing in it.

65′ — Drogba gets his hat trick, Stade Saputo nearly explodes — This is the Impact’s fourth season in MLS, and I struggle to recall a time when Stade Saputo lost its collective mind as we saw following the completion of Drogba’s hat trick. This is what the right signing in the right place can do.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Didier Drogba. Didier Drogba. Didier Drogba.

Goalscorers: Drogba (27′, 61′, 65′), Larentowicz (PK – 36′), Lefevre (42′), Gilberto (44′), Igboananike (59′)

MLS Snapshot: Chicago Fire 0-1 Columbus Crew

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The game in 100 words (or less): Columbus scored its road win of the season against a Chicago team that’s struggling mightily… and they get to face off again in a few days. Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara continue to assert themselves as forces in the East (and league wide for that matter).

[ LIVE: 2015 Gold Cup updates ]

Three moments that mattered

41′ — Kamara buries another — Ethan Finlay raced down the right wing to collect a pass, and Chicago gave him somewhere between three seconds and two years to pop a cross to an onrushing Kei Kamra, who rose to hammer home a header. Goal No. 13.

61′ — Finlay denied — Different half of the pitch but Finlay again had a chance to stare down the keeper, only to see his insurance attempt pushed over the bar.

64 — Johnson saves — Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson flew to stop Federico Higuain’s free kick. It was super solid.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Finlay — So dynamic… he must be an All-Star.

MLS official squashes rumor of emergency intra-MLS goalkeeper loan for CONCACAF Champions League final

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One of the weirder rumors in recent history has been put to bed by the Chicago Tribune.

Over the weekend, the gossip mill churned out a potential week-long loan of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the Montreal Impact for this Wednesday’s second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final against Club America.

[ MLS: Altidore scores twice for TFC ]

The unorthodox move, first reported by Goal.com, would’ve given Montreal relief from Evan Bush’s yellow-card suspension obtained in last week’s 1-1 draw at Estadio Azteca. It was also widely-panned by pundits on Twitter as an unfair exploitation of MLS contract rules.

Would Wolfsburg send Andre Schurrle to Bayern Munich for the UEFA Champions League just to be a pal? Of course not. And MLS apparently isn’t entertaining the move, either.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“There is zero chance that Sean Johnson will be loaned to the Montreal Impact for the CONCACAF Champions League final,” an MLS official said in an email sent late Sunday to the Tribune.

Unsubstantiated reports earlier Sunday suggested that Johnson might join the Impact for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League title match against Club America at Olympic Stadium and would briefly reunite the Fire keeper with his former coach, Frank Klopas.

Whether by the book or not — and it does appear the loan would’ve defied the spirit of the rules, if not the substance — a Johnson move would’ve not only set a horrible precedent for Major League Soccer, but been a poor reflection on the competitive nature of the league. “Hey, teams in our league don’t have the depth to deal with the injury woes of a larger club” isn’t a rousing endorsement of the league.

Montreal’s hopes now rightly stand with an appeal of the suspension, which could stand up given the questionable nature of the deciding foul against Bush.

If Bush can’t go, the Impact’s options are extremely limited. New backup Erik Kronberg is ineligible due to his old club, Sporting KC, being in the tournament last season. John Smits is on short-term loan from NASL side Edmonton. Maxime Crepeau is recovering from an injury, and the club could theoretically add a goalkeeper from its USL side, FC Montreal.