PORTLAND – Eddie Johnson didn’t directly figure in either of the goals scored Saturday as Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers played to a 1-1 draw at Jeld-Wen Field.
However, he was involved in two influential plays: one that helped shape Saturday’s result, and one that could affect the Sounders’ crucial match next weekend when league-leading San Jose visits CenturyLink Field.
That latter play came in the 26th minute when the high-scoring forward knocked down Diego Chara around midfield – and referee Ricardo Salazar pulled a yellow card.
“At the end of the day the referee makes the decision,” Johnson said. “But it was my first foul. (Coach Sigi Schmid) talked about putting pressure on them once we lose a ball and not letting them get a rhythm. My momentum was kind of going forward, and I fell into the guy, but I didn’t think he was going to give me a yellow. That’s soccer.”
It was Johnson’s fifth caution of the season, which results in a one-game suspension that he must serve against the Earthquakes.
“It’s probably a yellow card,” Schmid said. “… But it’s just something that we have to deal with. When you’re sitting on four (cautions), there’s a chance you’re going to get a fifth. And so now he has a fifth, and he won’t be available for that game.”
Johnson’s next play of major impact – literal impact, in this case – came about 10 minutes into the second half, when he charged after an Andy Rose cross and collided with Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Both players were shaken up, but Ricketts couldn’t continue.
“I just tried to make a hard run in the box,” Johnson said. “Me, I was already celebrating as Andy crossed a perfect ball. But (Ricketts) kind of came late, and I tried to avoid the contact and by that time it was too late because my momentum was going toward the goal, and I think his ribs hit my (upper arm). I was just trying to be dangerous in the box. That’s been my bread and butter this year.”
Ricketts was replaced by Joe Bendik. Just seconds after putting on the gloves, Bendik watched as Fredy Montero lofted a shot over him for the game’s first goal.
“The first touch on the ball for him was picking it up out of the back of the net,” Portland interim coach Gavin Wilkinson said. “I thought his mentality, his character showed, in his response. I think he made a fantastic save (after that).”
Sounders FC confirmed that the club made only one move before the MLS roster-freeze deadline: the signing of veteran goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. Schmid said Hahnemann will back up starting keeper Michael Gspurning this season, and that no plans for next season have been settled. … Most Sounders who played Saturday returned immediately to Seattle. Others stayed behind for an MLS Reserve League game against the Timbers at 2 p.m. today. … The Sounders return to CONCACAF Champions League action Wednesday at Marathon of Honduras.email@example.com 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt