Jurgen Klinsmann, Fabian Johnson find rhythm, "good communication" following US national team camp dismissal
Less than a month after Jurgen Klinsmann sent Fabian Johnson home early from a US national team camp following the 3-2 CONCACAF Cup loss to Mexico, Johnson has returned to a starting role for the US national team, playing 64 minutes and scoring the game-deciding goal in the USMNT's 2018 World Cup qualifying debut, a 6-1 demolition of St Vincent & the Grenadines on Friday.With another likely start to follow against Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday, Johnson earning the nod in these first two qualifiers seemed unlikely heading in, given that Klinsmann had dismissed the 27-year-old from the US's last camp because of a perceived lack of commitment. Johnson had asked to be subbed out in extra time of the October 10 match and Klinsmann subsequently asked Johnson to "rethink his approach about his team."But any iciness has thawed with an open dialogue in the weeks since."It's been good communication with Fabian," said Klinsmann, in a video provided by US Soccer. "I try to bring my point across, what kind of happened in that very specific game, and he understands that. It's always tricky for coaches to look inside of a player, how he feels certain things, and you can never say if it's the fear of the injury or if it's an injury because only the player feels that, the level of tiredness, the level of exhaustion in a game."He goes through that process as well. He's playing now every four [days], games in the Champions League and the Bundesliga on the highest level. He gets challenged, his body gets challenged, and he hops on a flight here coming down to a World Cup qualifier. This is all, it's very demanding."Used as a right back in most of his recent international appearances, Johnson shone as a left midfielder in the US triumph against St. Vincent & the Grenadines. He is expected to line up there again on Tuesday, as the Americans try to close out the year with three more points in this fourth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying."I try to under his position all the time or the player's position and then you explain the coach's position as well," Klinsmann said. "When we do certain things or say certain things, we do that for a reason. We're not doing certain things for putting somebody down. That's not our goal."