24 Under 24 (2012): #4 Sean Johnson (IMAGE)
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

24 Under 24: #4 Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire

4. Sean Johnson

Pos: G | Chicago Fire | Age: 23

Sometimes it just takes time. Although his Olympic qualifying flub against El Salvador in March is still fresh in the minds of many, Sean Johnson has moved on, and the 2012 MLS season is proof. The Chicago Fire are in position to make a push for the Supporters’ Shield, partly because their goalkeeper has been the anchor of a rock-solid defense. Johnson currently has the second best goals-against average in MLS (1.21) and the third-most saves by an MLS ‘keeper (94). He was also recently called into US national team camp by Jurgen Klinsmann. A spotlight-grabbing playoff run and a potential Goalkeeper of the Year award could help bury the Nightmare in Nashville.

What the TDs and coaches like: “He’s been very good … He could be one of the guys who pushes Timmy Howard and Brad Guzan … He definitely has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Howard, Brad Friedel … He’s decent with his feet and he’s a good shot-stopper ... Everybody remembers him from Olympic qualifying, but that was one play in two-and-a-half years he’s been around … He’s got the size and the experience now with the amount of games he’s played. He’s played in pressure-cooker situations … His shot-blocking is pretty good. If you watch the games, he communicates and controls his backline … I think he’s got a good presence … He’s a good athlete … I think he commands his box pretty well … The fact he’s as young as he is and starting and playing first team in MLS is a very good sign … I’ve seen a maturity in him. He’s more vocal than I remember him being before and more adamant with defenders, and that’s the sign of a great professional, someone who’s maturing that you know has the confidence to instruct his players and hold them accountable. A lot of young guys don’t do that.”

Where the TDs and coaches want improvement: “His decision making needs improvement, but he’ll get that with the more games he plays … He has some good games, saves and takes his fair share of crosses, but he has some games that he allows some easy goals. I think that will change with more experience … I think he needs to improve technically … He’s made a few mistakes in games … It seems to me that Johnson guesses a lot … Handling seems to be an issue. It seems sometimes balls come back from him where hopefully he would either hold those or get those out of play … What he needs is just a couple more years, more experience and getting national team experience.”

Opta Says: Sean Johnson has more saves than any other player younger than 24 in MLS this year (94).

Tale of the Tape
Last Year in 24U24: #16
Fan Ranking: #16
Castrol Index (Aug): #77

2012 Stats
Matches played: 25
Matches started: 25
Saves: 94
Goals Allowed: 30

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