WASHINGTON – With only days remaining before Jurgen Kilnsmann names his initial 30-man roster for the US national team’s pre-World Cup training camp, pundits and fans alike are hard at work predicting which of the players in the US pool will make the cut.
While some roster spots were likely sewn up long ago, the USMNT’s options at forward remain a bit more open. Other than Sunderland forward Jozy Altidore, the USA’s remaining vacancies at forward have set up a tug-of-war between Chris Wondolowski, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd and D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson.
Johnson – who at one point was widely considered a lock to make the final roster – has had difficulty finding the back of the net in 2014, still goalless after eight MLS matches. With Wondolowski scoring five so far, Johannsson coming off a strong season with Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar and Boyd putting together another respectable campaign in Austria, Johnson’s spot has become a point of discussion in recent weeks.
If you ask EJ, who took time after United’s training session on Wednesday morning to chat with MLSsoccer.com, there’s not much to be made of that chatter.
"For me, I think in the two-year span that I’ve been with the [national] team and Jurgen’s called me back, I’ve made a good showing for myself,” Johnson reflected. "He’s gained confidence in me. I think I’ve fit in well with [the current squad].
"We’ll see when the 30-man roster is named – but I feel like in some real important games through qualifiers, I really made a strong case for myself, and in the Gold Cup as well … All you can do with these call-ups is make a case for yourself, and I feel like I’ve done that.”
Though goals have proven hard to come by for Johnson since his arrival from Seattle in the offseason, he has still proved to be an asset to United in other ways, holding the ball well and providing service for United’s other attacking pieces.
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On Wednesday, Johnson suggested that Klinsmann has taken note of that.
"I think the coaches already know what group of guys they want to bring into the camp and get a real good last look at.”