Johnson Likely to Play Against Timbers On Saturday
D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson, who left Saturday's 4-1 victory afters sustaining a hamstring injury, is likely to play on Saturday. Johnson did miss practice earlier in the week but trained with the squad on Wednesday.
Now the question for Johnson and D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen will be how much he will play on Saturday night. Olsen, as evidenced by the injury sustained to goalkeeper Bill Hamid, has a history of being very cautious with players and their injuries. In a league where players are often rushed back on to the field far too soon after receiving an injury, it is good to see coaches giving players time to heal and recover.
Should Johnson minutes be limited, expect forward Conor Doyle to receive significant minutes. Doyle, who came in for Johnson in last Saturday's match against F.C. Dallas, has played in all seven matches for United this season. He has yet to score a goal in the 2014 campaign, but scored two goals last season after coming to the club on loan from Derby County in the English League Championship. At 6'2" 172 pounds, he possesses size and strength that could be an asset against Timbers defender Pa Mamadou Kah, the imposing center-back for Portland.
Olsen could also go with Espindola as the lone striker up front and play a 4-5-1. Expect Lewis Neal to be added to the starting midfield if Olsen goes this route.
Despite starting the season in rough shape, Johnson's play has improved over the past seven games. His passing in the attacking third has been instrumental in setting up several of D.C. United's goal, including the cross that he laid into United forward Fabian Espindola to even up the match against Dallas.
Of course with Johnson any injury also could play a factor on his chances of making the United States Men's National Team squad for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. With fellow American forwards Terrence Boyd (18 goals with Rapid Vienna in Austria,) Aron Johansson (25 goals with AZ Alkmaar,) and Chris Wondolowski (3 goals in 6 matches with the San Jose Earthquakes) all performing very well for their prospective clubs, Johnson might find himself on the outside of the Jurgen Klinsmann's squad should he miss any time with D.C. United.