In just his second appearance on the U.S. national team, Dallas Burn forward Eddie Johnson recorded three goals in a 6-0 victory for the U.S. over Panama in Washington D.C. last night. The three goals came in just a span of 17 minutes as Johnson subbed in for Josh Wolff at the 65th minute and then scored the first of his three goals just five minutes later. He also found the back of the net at the 84th and 87th minutes.
"What Eddie accomplished last night was an amazing feat and is proof of how he has matured as a person and as a player," said Burn Assistant Coach Brian Haynes, who Johnson is living with in Dallas. "He's starting to realize that the more he surrounds himself with the things he needs to have in his life, the better he's going to perform.
"I was honored to see him perform the way he did."
With all the accolades Johnson received last night, Haynes is sure that Eddie's concentration will be in the San Jose and Dallas Burn match on Saturday. After talking to Johnson on the phone last night, Haynes was sure his roommate will be ready to compete at the highest level for the Burn.
"Without a doubt he knows the importance of Saturday," said Haynes. "Other guys he has played with on the national team have been telling him to continue to show it on Saturday. He relishes the challenge of playing in a do-or-die match this weekend.
"All he kept saying to me when I talked to him on the phone was how excited he was to get back to Dallas. He realizes that a let-down in this league is a let-down on the national team because what he did in the MLS is what earned him a spot on the U.S. team."
Heading back to Dallas from Washington D.C. today, Johnson will rejoin his teammates tomorrow for training at Blue Sky in The Colony. He knows the importance of this match with San Jose on Saturday and looks forward to another challenge heading his way.
"I told my teammates from New England (his last match with team) that when Cory (Gibbs) and I get back and if we're still in the playoff hunt, we'll give it everything we have to get to the MLS post-season," said Johnson. "My whole focus during the national team camps is to get better as a player and then bring it back to the Dallas Burn."
"My confidence is high right now and I am chomping at the bit for Saturday."
The two men of the match last night for the U.S. team, Johnson and Landon Donovan, flew back from Washington D.C. together on the same plane today. Neither had too much to say about the big match on Saturday except trying to psyche one another out in a playful way.
"Landon told me I used up all my goals last night and I would have no more for Saturday," said Johnson. "I responded by saying, 'Me? You scored twice last night so you better watch what you're saying.'"
Johnson U.S. national team notes
Cory Gibbs watches U.S. game from Dallas
Cory Gibbs was at his home in Dallas watching the U.S. defeat Panama 6-0 last night. Gibbs appeared in the U.S. 2-0 victory at El Salvador last Saturday night but was forced to miss last night's match due to yellow cards. Although he wouldn't say he was nervous, he was definitely excited rooting his teammates on.
"Not really nervous watching the game, I was excited more than anything else," said Gibbs. "I wanted the boys to pick up the three points and they did.
"It was a great performance."
Gibbs also admitted that both Eddie Johnson and he need to put their U.S. successes behind them and concentrate on a huge game against San Jose on Saturday.
"The national yeam is very important to me, but Saturday is just as important to me and I know that I'll be shifting my focus to San Jose this weekend," said Gibbs. "We have to make the playoffs for myself, the team and the fans heading into the new stadium in Frisco next season."
Colin Clarke decides on goalkeeper but will keep it quiet until tomorrow
Dallas Burn Head Coach decided on Thursday from the team's training session at the University of Texas at Dallas which goalkeeper he was going to go with on Saturday versus San Jose. The only problem for the media is that he wouldn't say which one. When asked about who was starting at goalkeeper, Clarke's response was, "I'm not telling." He also said that he would tell the players, including the goalkeepers, his lineup changes tomorrow at their training at Blue Sky Sports Center in the Colony.
Clarke's two choices are Jeff Cassar, who will be considered for the team's defensive player of the year award and Scott Garlick, who began the season on a four-game unbeaten streak and recorded a Burn record consecutive shutout sequence (381 minutes). Either way the team will be in good hands.