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Fantastic Keeping By Sean Johnson Keeps Red Bulls Off The Scoreboard

CARSON, CA - AUGUST 01: Goalkeeper Sean Johnson  of the Chicago Fire reacts after their 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in their MLS match at The Home Depot Center on August 1, 2010 in Carson, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

This match was supposed to be about the four to five Designated Players that was going to perform on the field at Toyota Park on Sunday Night. The big names of world football coming together and strutting their stuff all match long as the spotlights were shinning bright. But while this was a fantastic scoreless draw to watch, I have to say the brightest star was the Chicago Fire’s newest keeper Sean Johnson who made brilliant save after brilliant save all night long.

All match long Johnson was in fantastic position making all the saves he had to do and keep the Red Bulls off the scoreboard. If it was point blank shots he was there. Long distance rips, he was there. Problems during corners, no such luck was Sean Johnson bothered at all. If he only coughed up two penalties from Landon Donovan, then Johnson has been perfect throughout two successful league matches.

The question for Chicago Fire supporters right now is this. Is Sean Johnson the diamond in the rough that should’ve started the season rather than Andrew Dykstra. So far in two league matches along with Superliga it looks like this new keeper for the club could be the one that Carlos de los Cobos has found to stop the bleeding badly.

But once again this match was suppose to be the historic five designated players that faced each other on the field. Freddy Ljungberg started for Fire as did his former teammate at Arsenal of the English Premiership Thierry Henry for the New York Red Bulls along with Juan Pablo Angel and starting in his first match in MLS was Mexican National Team Captain Rafael Marquez. Subbing into the match around the 56th minute was Nery Castillo.

But if you are a Red Bulls supporter you got very nervous after the 37th minute when New York was defending a corner by the Fire. Somewhere in the area Thierry Henry took a shot in the head and later on you saw him holding it and right away you thought about a possible concussion. Even though he was taken out of the match in 45th minute and the nerves are getting worse and worse, thankfully it was reported that Henry had a groin strain and it wasn’t serious.

If this is what we are all expecting in the future of Major League Soccer and the Designated Player slots, then I have to say that tonight’s match is exactly what all of us have been hoping for. There have been many matches in the past which were scoreless that the action has been boring and not so satisfying. There have been some of those matches this season as well. But at Toyota Park this by far has been a fantastic, exciting & awesome display of football we have seen.

The quality of play on the pitch was second to none and as the years go by, let’s all hope that every single side in MLS will get their own Designated Player or two and possibly purchase a third and finally we can get some good quality mixing in with our upcoming American players for the good of our domestic league.

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  1. Brian

    August 10, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Great atmosphere, excellent game. It was a disgrace that Johnson wasn’t player of the week.

    • Daniel Feuerstein

      August 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      I completely agree Brian. While scoring two goals by one player is POTW honorable, Sean Johnson’s performance blew Steven Lenhart’s Two goals out of the water. This was a match where you thought more than a goal would be scored by any of the DP’s that play on Sunday, yet it was a rookie who changed the script.

      MLS is wrong on this selection.

  2. mike

    August 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

    The atmosphere was great (disreguarding section 8’s habit of repeating the same chants over and over) and the keeper had a great night. But it wasn’t anything other worldy.

    p.s. chicagos “record breaking” night was because of another teams players, not their own (nery castillo isn’t that big a draw, don’t kid yourselves).

    in a city of 5m+ people and a club with 12+ years of history thats not something to be excited about, it’s embarrassing.


    • Abram

      August 10, 2010 at 12:31 am

      I agree with your assessment of the fans in Chicago, they had the place rocking, but not only were the chants repeated they weren’t very creative. MLS Supporters group need better chants than, “team name *clapclapclap*, team name *clapclapclap*”. However, before we knock the team’s attendance numbers lets wait and see what the next home game looks like. Also, it doesn’t matter the city size, a sell-out is a sell-out. And in professional sports 12 years is still very young.

    • eplnfl

      August 11, 2010 at 7:50 am


      The Fire continue to grow in popularity in the Chicago area. If you want to compare numbers for attendance go back just a few years to the Chicago Blackhawks and see all the empty seats. The Chicago White Sox still play to empty seats and for a team with a recent crown and having a good season attendance is lacking. Last Sunday was the 3rd sellout this season at Toyota Park for the Fire including one friendly. The fan base seems to be solid in the range of 14,000 a game. With the new talent on the team look for capacity crowds on the weekends but mid-weeks will still be hard to get a full house without a big draw.

      Please see my earlier comment on my crowd review, the # of Arsenal jerseys where fewer than expected the crowd was vastly a Fire crowd.

      As to the complaints about Section 8, ok the chants will repeat themselves during the course of a game, it’s a long game. Section 8 is a hard working supporters group and it extends beyond the 90 minutes of the game. Tifo displays, fund raisers, tailgate parties, organizational meetings, road trips to away games and a connection to management for the fans. They are a model for MLS supporters groups. Take a look at their website sometime.

      • Abram

        August 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm

        I was saying it in jest about there cheers, they are probably the best fan group I’ve seen.

        If we look at all sports in America (with the exception of really good teams) games that are not played on the weekend are not usually sold out. How many times do we see highlights of baseball games with capacity at like 10%. I’m okay with those low numbers, so long as weekend games are 90%+ in capacity.

  3. Abram

    August 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Johnson looked like the real deal. One more game like last nights and people will start wondering when he’ll get his USMNT trial. The guy was amazing last night, especially in the last 5 minutes. A scoreless draw was perfect because Chicago’s offense didn’t deserve a win, but Sean Johnson did not deserve a loss. Richards looked pretty impressive for NY as well.

  4. CoconutMonkey

    August 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    What a game. I can’t think of a much better way to misuse my office computer!

  5. squeezevx

    August 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    anyone know the tv ratings for last night?

  6. online betting

    August 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Some great saves there, im pleasantly surprised 🙂

  7. eplnfl

    August 9, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Just back from the game and with the experience still fresh in my mind your headline is the correct storyline. Sean Johnson not the likes of Theirry Henry or Nagy Castillo was the player to see before the largest crowd for the Fire ever at Toyota Park. Funny how those things turn out you have a packed house coming to see an offensive display but instead see a standout defensive performance.

    The other great thing about tonight was the rather small number of Arsenal or Henry jerseys in the crowd. Sure you had more than your share but the record crowd turned out to see Chicago play New York in soccer. That may be the biggest result of the nights action in Chicago.

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