Sean Johnson the reliable NYCFC keeper will not fault the defense for the 2-2 tie against New England at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. His team is in a tough stretch of the schedule with five games in the span of two weeks. The defense could be tired but Johnson learned to adapt playing on the college level at Central Florida with a similar schedule.
His high school teacher and her husband ventured to the Bronx from Atlanta and were in a suite watching Johnson tend goal and chose this night to be with him on his 28th birthday. Chocolate chip cookies were awaiting Johnson after the game as it was during those high days in Atlanta.
The athlete from Atlanta is now a key keeper in New York. Johnson, acquired from Atlanta United FC for general allocation money this past December, is keeping his end of the bargain and has prevented his team from losing two consecutive matches this season.
“You can’t really look deep into it,” he said about the struggle on defense that has seen NYCFC lose the lead and late in the game. “But for me I think in games where we control important parts of the match we have to try and get a good result.”
During this stretch since May 7th, NYCFC is 2-2-2, the last number a result ending in a draw and not getting important points that go with a win.
“It’s not going to be pretty at times, “ he said. “It’s gonna take us to do what is necessary in the moment. We may not be able to pass out every time and we have discussed that as a unit and just finding a way is what we need to do now.”
And Johnson remains optimistic. He is the first one to answer questions in the postgame session with members of the media, and that is expected from the keeper who for the most part protects the lead and depends on the defense to protect his position in the net.
Coach Patrick Vieira was not a happy camper after this latest tie. His emphasis was, the defense needs to improve and said it will get better before the next NYCFC match at home Saturday afternoon against Philadelphia. After that the schedule is not as demanding with a gap until June 17th at home with Seattle.
“You can’t really look forward to the time off,” said Johnson. “You gotta take every game as it comes. Every game is an opportunity to climb to the table. You talk to any guy in the locker room the amount of games we have in a short period of time. I don’t think anyone is complaining.”
Johnson added, “I think it’s a good thing to get on the field multiple times a week and do what we have to do. For me it’s good we have so many games in this stretch but we have to take advantage of games where we have the upper hand.”
In other words, NYCFC has to close out games and that is the purpose with any sport and in tight games as was this one Wednesday night.