TUKWILA, Wash. — There’s nothing official yet, but all signs point to Eddie Johnson joining the United States national team for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Late Friday night, Johnson sent out a series of tweets that seemed to indicate he had received the call from Jurgen Klinsmann. An official announcement is expected on Monday when Klisnmann releases his roster for the Oct. 12 and 16 games against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.
Thank you to the Seattle Sounders and my teammates family and friends for believing in me when everyone else didn't. #igotthecallupguys— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) October 6, 2012
Never let anyone tell you your done when you have more in your tank. Coach Zigi Chris Henderson and Adrain thanks for believing in me.— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) October 6, 2012
I've been waiting for this opportunity for a longtime.— Eddie Johnson (@eddie_johnson7) October 6, 2012
Assuming this is true, the call-up would be just the latest step in Johnson’s somewhat remarkable comeback this season. As recently as six months ago, many still believed the Seattle Sounders had made a significant mistake in acquiring the mercurial forward.
Since the middle of June, though, Johnson has been one of the top scorers in MLS, scoring 11 of his 13 goals in his past 14 games. That form earned him a spot in the MLS All-Star Game, where he scored the winning goal against Chelsea.
It also has apparently grabbed the attention of Klinsmann, who has been in contact with Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid over the past several months. If Johnson were to play in the Oct. 12 game against Antigua and Barbuda, it would be exactly two years since his last USMNT appearance, a substitute appearance in a friendly against Colombia.
Johnson has shown a penchant for finding the back of the net in matches that matter. Eight of his 12 international goals have come in World Cup qualifiers, including a hat trick against Panama in 2004.
Schmid declined to confirm the rumor Saturday, but did say that even if Johnson is called up it wouldn’t necessarily rule him out for the Sounders’ game on Oct. 17 against Real Salt Lake, even though the US play Guatemala in Kansas City, Kan., the day before.
“He should be able to get back either that night or early the next day,” Schmid said when asked about a hypothetical call-up. “It depends on how many minutes they’ve played the night before. There are all kinds of different options they can explore.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.