NYCFC's Sean Johnson reiterates his USMNT case in star turn vs. LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. – In the city of stars, Sean Johnson shone brightest with five highlight reel saves to preserve the shutout in New York City FC’s 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy. 

The 28-year-old is hitting a rich vein of form, perhaps the best of his eight-year career judging by his coach's rave reviews.

“When he plays the way he played today, we could play for another hour,” NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira said of Johnson’s heroics. “We looked like we weren’t going to concede a goal.”  

Johnson’s dazzling play is a big reason NYCFC has taken 10 of the last 15 points on offer to climb into second in the Eastern Conference, just four points behind Supporters' Shield leaders Toronto FC. 

For Vieira, however, Johnson’s stellar play is an illustration of what he’s meant to NYCFC all season.

“He’s been fantastic for us since he arrived to our football club,” Vieira said.  “Not just because of what he’s doing on the field. It’s about who he is as a person. He’s a really strong character, a really strong personality, and that is what we want in our football club.”

Johnson has started all but two of NYCFC’s 24 games this season with five clean sheets to show for it. The two absences came during the Gold Cup group stage, with Johnson a non-playing member of the squad as the US advanced to the knockout rounds and eventually the title itself. 

“I spoke to [USMNT goalkeeper coach] Matt Reis after the game [tonight],” Johnson said. “He was here watching. I know Bruce [Arena, US head coach] and those guys are always watching games, so it’s not just this one, but it feels good to play a good game here in LA in front of those guys.

“I understand the importance of each match, the league games, so I’m not really looking too far ahead to the national team, but obviously I want to be a part of that group and I got to keep doing what I can to make my case.” 

Back on the USMNT radar with a World Cup on the horizon and with NYCFC in the race for MLS honors, there is plenty to keep Johnson interested, but the former Chicago Fire 'keeper says that first and foremost, the inspiration must come from within. 

“I’m always motivated,” Johnson said when asked what’s driving him at the moment. “Honestly, you’ve got to find that self-motivation no matter what. Being so close to the top of the table for the first time and being with a group that has a special feeling, I think motivates me every single day to come out and play the game I love and give it my all. 

“Like I said, if we want to achieve something this season, we got to keep putting performances like this together and we have a special group that can achieve big things.” 

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