ANDREW VORCE - Thursday, July 16, 2009
Eddie Johnson was on the verge of dropping off the map, but a strong preseason tour of Australia may have been just what the doctor ordered.
Johnson had a less than impressive 08/09 campaign with Cardiff City, which led him to fall off the international radar. No one was quite sure what was going to happen with the former Kansas City Wizards star until he showed up for preseason training.
The Australia trip started like most of his Cardiff City games did, on the bench. He was accompanied by Andy Johnson, and the pair were both substituted into the Gold Coast United game at halftime, though neither of them attributed much to the match.
It was in Melbourne that Johnson truly showed what he was capable of, scoring a quality goal just minutes after coming on. He made a smart run to penetrate the Victory back four and drew the keeper out and still pinpointed his shot.
If the United game was poor, and the Victory game was better, then Johnson found truly his game against Perth Glory. The front man, again a second half substitute, teamed up with Erik Nevland for a hat-trick of goals in which Johnson was the provider every time.
His first assist was probably the best, in which his attacking run down the left flank penetrated deep in the area. Johnson was sent through into the area, and cleverly fooled the Glory backline that he was getting ready to shoot, as every player committed to him. Johnson feigned the shot, but instead squared the ball to the completely unmarked Nevland.
Johnson was the only American to take place in Fulham's preseason tour, as Clint Dempsey recovers from international duty. Johnson will have two more chances in friendlies away to Bournemouth and Peterborough United to convince Hodgeson that he is ready to see minutes in the Premiership this season..