jon arnold talks to Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson who gives Jurgen Klinsmann credit for his conditioning
Sean Johnson Cruising Through Preseason After USMNT Camp
TUCSON, Ariz. — The Chicago Fire are in preseason, but goalkeeper Sean Johnson is in regular-season form, making a handful of strong saves in a 2-0 win against FC Tucson in the Desert Diamond Cup on Saturday.
The keeper credits Jürgen Klinsmann and the U.S. coaches for getting him ready for his club season. Johnson was part of Klinsmann’s January camp, which lasted nearly a month and saw preparations move from California to Brazil, then back to California where the national team defeated Korea 2-0. Johnson didn’t play in that game but still said camp regimen had him ready.
“The national team speeds me up. It gets me up to the pace of where I need to be for the regular season,” Johnson said. “Now it’s just cruise control and making sure I’m taking care of myself and doing the things necessary to carry that into the season.
“It all starts here in preseason, getting in with these guys, getting familiar now. It’s important getting into games and getting game experience with the team I’ll be playing with this year. It’s fantastic.”
The Fire defense has seen a few changes this offseason under new coach Frank Yallop. Lovel Palmer and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni have joined a unit that also features Austin Berry, Bakary Soumare and Gonzalo Segares.
The preseason provides the necessary time to get down commands and for the unit to familiarize, Johnson said, saying communication is key.
“I think we have a little bit more conversations. We’re talking a bit more, trying to figure things out. Obviously with Pat at center back and we have different center backs at different points in time, so I’m just making sure the communications there, always on the same page,” he said. “I have certain communication I use as opposed to other goalkeepers, so just making sure we get that ingrained in preseason and get on the same page is the most important thing.”
Though just 24 years old, Johnson has been the regular starter for the team since midway through his rookie season in 2010. That means he has a level of understanding with many of his defensive players well beyond his years, something that hasn’t been lost on Yallop.
“Sean showed today he knows when to make the saves, comes out when he needs to. He’s a good goalkeeper in our league and we’re pleased to have him, and he’s still young which is fantastic too. He’s done really well,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, while Johnson might be ready for the season to come, he’s aware there’s still some meshing to be done and is hoping to help his teammates get up to speed.
“I think the important thing in preseason is to just keep building, keep building toward the first game of the season,” he said. “I think we’ve done a good job of that. Obviously we’ve still got a ways to go, but I’m pleased with how things have gone so far and excited about the season.”