Young 'keeper Johnson blossoming once again for Fire
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson had his second strong game in a row on Saturday afternoon, following up last week’s good performance at San Jose with a six-save gem in the Fire’s 3-2 win over Chivas USA.
Johnson didn’t have much to do in the game’s early stages, but he was frequently called into action after Chicago defender Cory Gibbs was shown a straight red card in the 37th minute, making save after save to keep the 10-man Fire in the game.
The second-year man made several stops on Chivas USA forward Juan Pablo Ángel, including one-on-one chances in the 53rd and 72nd minutes, pulling off tremendous diving saves both times.
“I was able to put myself in good positions to make some saves today,” Johnson said after the match. “I feel like I was reading the game pretty well and I was able to help my team come out with a result.”
The recent string of good performances might be Johnson’s best run of the season.
His hot stretch has the Fire again talking about his limitless potential – something that hasn’t been heard all that much around Toyota Park during this trying season, in which Johnson was benched for four games this spring by former head coach Carlos de los Cobos.
“He’s maturing and playing with a lot of confidence,” Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said Saturday. “He’s got a lot of upside and he’s getting better. That position is about living and playing. He played very well today and he’s played very well for me all season.”
Chicago captain Logan Pause echoed Klopas’s sentiments, praising Johnson’s recent performances and saying that the Generation adidas player has all the tools to become an “unbelievable goalkeeper.”
“He’s a great player,” Pause said after the game. “He’s making game-saving saves to keep us in games. When you are down a man sometimes things get a little ruffled. We gave up two goals right at the start of the second half and we needed him to make the difference, and he absolutely did that today.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org