Upbeat Johnson ready to move forward with Toronto FC

Ryan Johnson - July 21, 2011

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TORONTO — New-look Toronto FC do not have much time to dwell on their 1-0 loss to FC Dallas on Wednesday. The quick turnaround sees them playing at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) and that suits new acquisition Ryan Johnson just fine.

“You don't want to be thinking about a loss all week,” the Jamaican international said. “So we have an opportunity to redeem ourselves on Saturday.”

Not that it will be easy. Toronto FC and Sporting KC tied 0-0 in Toronto on June 4 with Sporting reaching the end of a long spell on the road while they awaited the opening of Livestrong Sporting Park.

“I feel like going into KC is going to be a tough game,” Johnson said. “They have a brand-new stadium, their fans are going to be behind them. But if we stick together and we get some more time to gel, I think we'll be OK.”

Toronto acquired Johnson last week in a trade with San Jose and he joins six new players added to TFC in less than a month. And five of them, including Johnson, were in the starting lineup on Wednesday. Johnson sees the potential in the new group.

“We lost on a wonder strike by [Brek] Shea,” he said. “He's a great player, it's a great shot, nothing our ‘keeper can do about that. No chance. I'd rather lose on a goal like that than some kind of mistake. So you've got to look at the positives. We created chances that we didn't put away, but we fought hard and we didn't give up.”

Johnson is against expected to start up top on the left wing in TFC’s 4-3-3 alignment. It’s a similar position to the one he played in San Jose before the July 14 trade which caught the 26-year-old by surprise.

“No rumors, no nothing,” he said. “In this league you’re never really shocked when it comes to trades because it happens all the time, so you just pray that it’s not you. It just depends on the place you’re going to. When I found out it was Toronto, I was happy.”

Johnson registered 17 goals and 13 assists in 99 games with the Earthquakes before they traded him along with allocation money and an international roster spot to the Reds for defender Nana Attakora, forward Alan Gordon and midfielder Jacob Peterson.

“It’s bittersweet because those guys, I felt, gave me the best opportunity to show myself in this league,” Johnson said of his former team. “I’ve done well for them over the years. They’re like second family for me in a professional atmosphere and I thank them for everything they’ve done. But it’s a good business deal on both parts, it’s part of business and you’ve got to move forward.” 

While Toronto are near the bottom of the standings, Johnson senses that in time the moves made by the club will pay off. 

“It’s quality players that they’re bringing in,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be quality on the pitch.”