Will Johnson - Canada - celebration - World Cup qualifying
USA Today Sports

After lengthy layoff, Will Johnson excited to be back contributing regularly for Canada

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Canada and Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson hasn’t seen much game action since getting screws removed from his surgically repaired right leg. But Johnson was one of the standouts in Canada’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Honduras last Friday and says he is ready for more at El Salvador on Tuesday (8:30 pm ET, beIN SPORTS).

Prior to Friday’s game, Johnson's last 90-minute performance was in Canada’s 1-1 draw in Belize on Sept. 8, just before he went under the knife to have the screws removed. He has only made one appearance for the Timbers since – starting and going 66 minutes against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 20 – but it seems like his long road to recovery after his horrific broken leg in 2014 is finally finished.

“It was nice to get through it. I even felt I had a little extra at the end of the game, so I think that’s positive,” Johnson said after the team arrived in El Salvador late on Sunday night. “I put myself on a lot of extra fitness with a real strict program in terms of getting to this point, so we simulated 90-minute games over the past 4-5 weeks since I got the screws out so there’s nothing wrong. I feel great and I can’t wait to hopefully get another 90 in.”

Johnson was initially credited with Canada's goal on Friday, but it was later awarded to Orlando City’s Cyle Larin, as Johnson’s header was redirected off the 2015 AT&T Rookie of the Year’s backside. Johnson also had a second free kick just barely saved by Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares, who redirected the effort off the post.

After opting out of the Gold Cup this past summer due to fixture congestion, Johnson is ready for his second game in four days for his country on Tuesday night. His busy stretch won’t stop in El Salvador, as the 28-year-old will return to Portland for the first leg of the Western Conference Championship series against FC Dallas on Sunday (7:30 pm ET, FS1, FOX Deportes in the US, TSN2 in Canada).

“I was confused at the time as to what the problem was,” Johnson said of his dilemma during the summer. “With an injury like this, you have to err on the side of caution. I would play a game and I would be so sore that I couldn’t walk for a couple days just from putting it through the stress, and now I put it through the stress. It’s night and day from the recovery.”