ARLINGTON, Va. – There were very few surprises in Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man roster for World Cup training camp on Monday, but one omission seems to have caught many observers of the national team off-guard: the absence of D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson.
Johnson – who had said earlier in the week that he was confident in his prospects for a roster spot – certainly did his fair share to be considered. He was instrumental during qualifying, helping book the team’s spot in Brazil with a memorable game winner in the USMNT’s 2-0 victory over Mexico in Columbus. Strong showings in the Gold Cup and a handful of friendlies also seemed likely to help his case, but a slow start with United – zero goals in eight appearances – likely kept him off the roster.
Comments the forward made last week about United’s playing style – perceived by some observers to be disparaging – may also have played a part in Klinsmann’s decision, though Klinsmann on Monday suggested they played no role in Johnson’s omission.
On Tuesday afternoon, after United’s public training session at Long Bridge Park, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen took a moment to share his thoughts on the decision.
"I’m extremely disappointed for Eddie,” Olsen said. "But Eddie is a big boy. He’ll move on from this, get back here and continue with the good job that he’s doing with our club.”
Johnson spent the day traveling home from Seattle, where he spent the weekend with family, and was not in attendance at the training session. The club expects him back in training on Wednesday.
Asked whether Johnson might channel his disappointment in being left off the roster into something more positive, perhaps playing the rest of 2014 with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, Olsen cracked a wry smile.
“I certainly hope so," he said.