Sounders' Johansson finally fit, expected to provide spark
TUKWILA, Wash. — Adam Johansson is getting close.
After coming to the Seattle Sounders in the offseason, expectations were that the Swedish right back would help bolster an attack that was already the best in MLS. The 29-year-old was known for his pinpoint crosses and penchant for getting forward as much as for his defense.
Injuries have forced those expectations to be somewhat checked, as Johansson has been limited to four appearances and he has yet to register a point. Now that he’s fully fit, those numbers should soon change.
“The last game felt really good,” said Johansson, who came close to picking up his first assist on a first-half cross that Eddie Johnson headed wide. “The first half was really good, we had a lot of offense. I thought we played really well.”
It also helps that Johansson is getting more and more repetitions with right-sided partner Mauro Rosales, who has experienced his share of injuries.
“He’s a great player,” Johansson said of Rosales. “It’s easy to play with him. I just make my runs and then I get the ball. He’s one of the better guys I’ve played with. I’m really pleased.”
The main reason the Sounders went after Johansson was that the front office and coaching staff felt they needed more defensive players who could control possession. As tireless of a worker James Riley had been for the Sounders before his move to Chivas USA, he only had one goal and nine assists in 84 appearances over three seasons. Johansson, who was left off Sweden's national team squad for Euro 2012 earlier this week, was expected to add that attacking element without sacrificing much on the defensive side.
“All of the sudden you have him sneaking up,” Sounders assistant coach Brian Schmetzer said in describing what Johansson brings to the team. “He and Rosales are good pros and they connect a lot. That just adds a little more pressure from a different area of the field. We had the most goals scored last year. Him getting involved and getting opportunities will help us get back on track.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.