Sean Johnson was striding swiftly through the corridor at Yankee Stadium to join his teammates for a postgame meal following another impressive performance in goal for New York City FC.
Johnson had two saves along with several strong interventions to help the Pigeons to a 2-2 draw with visiting LAFC. Evident was a bounce to his step despite the failure to secure three points and a third consecutive draw to open the season.
Johnson had a flight to catch to join his U.S. mates at national team camp while anticipating an enhanced role with the senior team.
“Getting back into the environment and continue to build on what we started in January,” Johnson said when asked about his expectation for national camp.
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter included the 29-year old Johnson on the January camp roster and then rostered the 10-year MLS veteran with Zach Steffen for friendly matches against Panama and Costa Rica. Johnson’s only appearance was in the final 21 minutes against Costa Rica to complete a 3-0 clean sheet – his sixth cap with the senior team.
Three goalkeepers were summoned by Berhalter for camp in Orlando ahead of friendlies against Ecuador (March 21) and Chile (March 26) – and Johnson may be in line for a promotion to the number one position in camp.
Zach Steffen, who played for Berhalter at Columbus and appears to be at the top of the keeper depth chart for the USMNT, suffered a minor knee injury with Crew SC and will remain in Columbus for rest and rehab.
FC Dallas keeper, Jesse Gonzalez replaces Steffen while Ethan Horvath is the third keeper in camp.
Berhalter lauded Johnson’s contributions at the January camp and has followed the opening stages of the MLS season which included a spectacular routine by Johnson in Week 2 in a 0-0 draw against D.C. United.
“What really impressed me in January camp was his mentality,” Berhalter said after announcing his most recent roster. “And you see he translated that into performances early in the year.”
In addition to Johnson’s three inspiring saves against D.C. United, he parried a certain Carlos Vela finish over the bar in the first half of the LAFC match.
Other New York City players receiving call-ups during the international break include Jonathan Lewis (USA), Alexander Callens (Peru), Maxime Chanot (Luxembourg), Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica), Alexandru Mitriță (Romania), Anton Tinnerholm (Sweden) and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Libya).
Tinnerholm got the late call after Manchester United defender Victor Lindelöf rejected his invitation to join the Swedes for personal reasons.